The commercial drone industry has gone from strength to strength, and 2019 looks set to be another exciting year for new developments and trends.
2018 saw a more widespread roll-out of the FAA’s LAANC program, or Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability which gives access to controlled airspaces such as airports, the Integration Pilot Program from the FAA was introduced, and there were developments for new regulatory frameworks for drones in Europe and India; 2019 might see even more developing trends. Here are the top 7 predicted trends for the year:
- Growth in selected industries
Agriculture, construction, mining, public safety, and survey engineering are just a few of the industries in which the use of aerial drones and drone technology are expected to see an increase.
- Steady growth
In 2018, FAA certified drone pilots were up by 50% on the previous year, with numbers reaching an estimated 115,000. The increase was mainly made up of pilots from companies, enterprises or public agencies who use drones in their internal programs, as opposed to those who fly them for drone-based service providers.
Commercial industries are certainly powering growth these days, fast taking over from recreational growth.
- Transformation of industries
The early hype surrounding how drones were going to transform industries has fuelled a lot of growth, and with positive forecasts also helping to fuel investments, more vendors will seek leadership roles in important industries and secure new forms of revenue in 2019 and years to come.
- New aerial trespass zones:
Safety, security, and privacy among others, are just some of the concerns that the general public still harbor over the use of drones, and here in the U.S. a small but powerful group calling themselves the Uniform Law Commission or ULC, are continuing their proposals of a ‘line’ being drawn 200 feet in the air, to give credence to an aerial trespassing zone. If established, it could give property and landowners the right to set up such no-fly zones themselves.
- More rules and regulations?
Proposals by the FAA for remote identification for all drones, coupled with a new rule for flights over people for small drones, could mean that 2019 sees even more regulations coming into force for the use of drones. However, there could be some delay in such rules becoming laws, so stay tuned for updates throughout the year.
- Total world domination by DJI:
A Chinese company called DJI are currently dominating the drone market, and look set to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. With their aggressive product development, advances in technology and development with partners in the enterprise channel, DJI have an estimated 74% share of the global market.
- Advances in AI:
Thermal imaging, mapping, and AI capabilities are all being advanced by companies seeking to improve their drones in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine. Drones taking over the world, or at least a lot of our jobs, may no longer be simply a fantasy or nightmare scenario that keeps folks awake at night.
Drones are here to stay, that much is true, as for how far they will continue to develop over the coming years, it seems the possibilities really are endless. With trends such as those mentioned above, these are exciting times for the industry as a whole.