The term "drone" usually refers to any unpiloted aircraft. Sometimes drones are known as "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" (UAVs). Drones can be as large as an aircraft and as small as the palm of your hand. Drones are highly versatile and can carry out all sorts of tasks, from military operations to package delivery. Robotic vehicles like these are often used to help rescue avalanche victims in the Swiss Alps and to drop off groceries at your front door and almost anywhere in between.
In spite of their origins in the military industry and aerospace industry, drones have become popular due to their enhanced levels of safety and efficiency.
Depending on its autonomy level, a drone can be remotely piloted (humans control it) or advanced autonomy (based on a system of sensors and LIDAR detectors to calculate its movement).
Incorporating drones with IoT or artificial intelligence has created new applications such as using drones with IoT sensors to monitor land and crops or using drones with AI to detect and monitor road damage. “Drone tech is considered an emerging technology sector just a couple of years prior. Yet the momentum in drone technology is exciting, as the global drone market is anticipated to reach $41.3 billion in 2026.” Dzuleira Abu Bakar, CEO of Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI), told TechNode Global that drone revenue is predicted to double to $17.9 billion by 2025 in Asia alone.
Drones have come a long way since their inception more than two decades ago when both the U.S. and France worked on developing automatic, unmanned aeroplanes during World War I. Yet the last few years have seen significant advancements in drone adoption, application expansion across industries, and global awareness.
Over the last few years, drone technology has developed and prospered in a wide variety of applications, ranging from technically manning sensitive military areas to enticing hobbyists around the world. Drones have gained increasing traction as a means of carrying out numerous tasks, including:
● Reportage and filmmaking with aerial photography
● Surveillance for law enforcement and border control
● Monitoring of crops with precision
● Prediction of hurricanes and tornadoes with UAVs
● Acquiring information or providing disaster relief supplies
● Thermal sensing drones for search and rescue
● UAVs for cargo transport
● Mapping of terrain and areas inaccessible to humans
● Inspection of buildings
● Express shipping and delivery
● Gen 1: Aerial vehicles of all types that operate remotely
● Gen 2: A static design with a fixed camera mount and gimbals, able to record video and still pictures with a manual piloting system
● Gen 3: Improved model, 3-axis gimbals, high-definition video or better instrumentation, improved safety, and autopilot.
● Gen 4: Innovative designs, 360° gimbals, 4K video, high-quality instruments, intelligent piloting capabilities.
● Gen 5: Complete commercial suitability, fully compliant safety and regulatory standards, interchangeable platforms and payloads, enhanced intelligence in piloting and full autonomy, full awareness of the airspace, automatic flight control (takeoff, landing, deployment)
Aside from this generation, the evolution of robotics has led to the ability of drone technology to function independently just by programming the details before deployment. Perhaps by the beginning of the next decade, we will be able to see the progress of next-generation drones.
In conclusion, drone pilots and drone mechanics are in demand across a wide range of sectors, which creates a potential job creation opportunity for young minds. Over 200 UAV manufacturers and UAV supply chain companies have been identified by TechPats. A number of public companies active in this industry have patent portfolios that contain technologies we have knowledge of, including FLIR Systems (FLIR), Ballard Power Systems (BLDP), EMCORE Corporation (EMKR), and Teledyne Lumenera (TDY). It is therefore inevitable that drone technology has a tremendous spectrum. So why wait when DIYA is here to help you shape your child and ensure their future? Make them great drone technologists by joining DIYA's drone technology course.