One thing’s for darn sure: drones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to a recent report by Fairfax, VA-based aerospace and defense market research firm Teal Group Inc., some $6.4 billion is being spent each year on drone technology development. That amount is likely to double in the next 10 years or so.
A Plethora of Uses
The drone market continues to grow in part because new applications for quadcopters seem to crop up every day. In addition to their military uses, drones offer a wide variety of personal and professional applications. These include aerial footage and images for photographers and videographers, as well as farm, utility, real estate, professional sports, retail, and e-commerce use among others. Amazon, for example, is hoping to incorporate drones into their delivery process, while farmers use drones to observe their fields in regards to water, fertilizer, etc.
This Year Versus Last Year
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, consumers are expected to spend about $103 billion on drones this year, compared to $69 million in 2014. Only four drone companies participated in last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, while 15 showcased at this year’s event. These include Parrot, ZANO, and Qualcomm.
The FAA and Commercial Drones
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently working on regulations regarding personal drone use within U.S. borders, as drones interfering with commercial flights is an increasing concern. While drones aren’t currently allowed to exceed 400 feet in the air, many do–up to 1,000 feet or more. Parimal Kopardekar, head of NASA’s drone-management project, remarked he hopes the U.S. can create a drone traffic management system before something terrible occurs. “It’s crucial,” he said, because without a system, “everyone flies anywhere they want to and they end up going into no-fly zones and into firefighting efforts and near airports.”
The FAA is expected to implement regulations by next summer. What the regulations entail will have a huge effect on the burgeoning drone market.