The Future of Flight is Drones
Reporters from Bloomberg News had their eyes opened at the Singapore Airshow this month.
“The future of aviation is on display in a cavernous exhibition hall at Asia’s largest airshow,” they wrote, “and it’s drones.”
For the last few months, we‘ve been asking people to imagine a world, where, when you open your door, drones will be flying everywhere.
That future is now.
Drones have made inroads at lightning speed against manned aircraft like helicopters and planes, replacing them for an incredible variety of uses.
At the Singapore show there was a drone “almost everywhere you turn,” the Bloomberg reporters said. In 2015, there were about 320,000 airplanes in active use around the world, while customers bought 4.5 million drones. They noted that the media announcements coming out every day about drones are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
Market researchers have documented an impressive array of drone applications now and to come. Goldman Sachs forecast a $38 billion drone market by 2020, of which $21 billion are commercial drones and 3.3 b. for consumer drones.**
Already drones are used to:
Showcase real estate property.
Inspect structures and track work at construction jobsites.
Pinpoint the most affected areas after a natural disaster.
Monitor processes at oil and gas refineries and check pipelines safety.
Measure tailings at mine sites.
Safety check bridges, tunnels, and other civic infrastructure.
Find and rescue people in harm’s way.
Count endangered species on land and at sea.
Help firefighters, police and other first responders optimize resources.
Help news reporters cover breaking stories.
Almost anything that needs seeing or counting can be made more efficient and less risky with a drone.
Our customers tell us about the value they’ve found in our drones. Their stories run something like this:
“On my very first flight, I was able to inspect my paddock, count the horses and verify fences, without having to mount up and ride through it. The drone made quick and easy work of a time-consuming daily task.”
“I use drones to monitor plant health over the life of the crop, get early warning of trouble spots like predators, soil erosion or ponding, and keep detailed records over time to track yields. Drones opened up a new world of data that helps make my operation more efficient.”
We see a future that is even bigger.
Blockchain technology is powering a revolution in how people exchange information. Blockchain is like a highly secure distributed ledger of transactions. Today it’s used to help secure online voting, digital rights protection, and other applications that demand absolute data integrity.
Drones are at heart a data collection platform. We believe blockchain will give drones a way not only to protect their data but also to verify the integrity of the information they collect.
That’s potentially huge. Artificial intelligence and blockchain together will enable drones to adapt autonomously to new situations—not just avoiding obstacles or maintaining course like driverless cars—but to see and to think.
What we see is a future with decentralized drone operation scaling up unimaginably, with potentially hundreds of thousands of virtual eyes in the sky in one area acting together or independently, blockchain and AI enabling them to verify what they see so they can understand, and change what they do.
The sky is not the limit when it comes to drones.
*Bloomberg News, “The Future of Flying Is All About Drones,” Feb. 8, 2018
*Goldman Sachs, “Drones: Flying Into the Mainstream,” March, 2016