Commercial drones ‘are not just for deliveries’
For some years now, drone technology has been billed as the next big thing. For many, the main associations which spring to mind when thinking about the technology are their uses in military defence, surveillance, awe-inspiring landscape photography and wedding videos.
In the UK, we have also experienced the negative side effects of the technology, including the disruption caused at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
Despite these incidents, drones have huge potential for businesses across many industries, including retail, logistics and healthcare. McKinsey recently investigated how the technology could be used for multiple commercial applications and estimate that by 2026, commercial drones will have an annual impact of $31 billion to $46 billion on GDP in the US alone. Alongside these commercial benefits, this technology also presents many societal benefits such as reducing crime and saving lives through their wide and fast surveillance abilities.
The ability of drones to offer these benefits is due to the technology’s ability to capture data from its surroundings and to process this to inform actions. Whether autonomous or supervised, drones have evolved now to have both great range and precision, able to collect a constant stream of various data depending on what sensors are integrated. The application of artificial intelligence (AI) to these data streams will only improve the value of drones.