Drones have gone mainstream. Once thought of as a military-only technology, drones can now be found across business as well as public and private sector industries.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is progressing enormously thanks to its massive use in diverse fields. With that comes an ever-growing number of positions available for drone pilots who have proper training and skill development from a certified drone school.
The future is bright for drones in business. With retail giant Amazon using drone tech to deliver goods, and Facebook's ambitious plans to deliver wireless internet connectivity to remote areas, the opportunities for businesses to develop around this technology is enormous. In case you're interested in starting an innovative business utilizing UAV tech, these are some of the industries that need those skills now – and ones that may rely on it in the not-so-distant future.
Top industries using drones now
Farming and agricultural research
Drone technology in farming and agriculture represents a huge opportunity for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Drones can assist farmers in assessing crops and livestock, as well as marking boundaries and planning wide-scale fencing. They are also used effectively to establish irrigation systems, and in agricultural consultancy to assess and improve flora and fauna management.
Research students working on vast agricultural fields, as well as farmers concerned about the productivity of their crops, can make great use of their drone skills – or the skills of hired consultants – by conducting aerial surveys. As drones are less expensive than helicopters and Cessnas or light aircraft, their experimental use in crop fertilization, sewing, and pest and disease reduction is also proving highly effective. In Australia, chopper mustering (the use of helicopters to drove cattle over large areas of land) may soon be the work of drones at a fraction of the cost.
In each case, UAVs are proving invaluable as a means of expediting mundane agricultural work that would typically take up a good deal more time and money.
Photography and filmmaking
Drones are changing the way we make movies and take pictures. Whether you are a wedding photographer or a budding documentary filmmaker, drones are allowing us to see and imagine visual media like we never have before.
Up until recently, major motion pictures that used drone technology were mostly being made outside the U.S. due to regulatory restrictions. "Skyfall" and "Harry Potter" are two examples. However, as demand grows and regulations change, we can expect to see more and more filmmakers using drones to produce high-quality and engaging entertainment.
As the perfect complement to any professional photographer, drones are increasingly being adopted for capturing special events. While movie and cinema production will always require a wide range of video technology, photographers – especially those who serve at special events like weddings – cannot afford to be left behind and will need to adapt to this new technology.
As the acquisition and use of drones in the public sphere increases, so does the regulation surrounding drone and UAV use. This has led to regulatory bodies establishing industry standards that also involve training and education.
Training organizations are seeing the opportunity to increase their own market share in the education sphere by providing high-level training that meets industry standards in various sectors. Drones are being used for training in firefighting, physics and geography.
Beyond that, we are seeing drone use in the education system itself. In engineering training, environmental studies and more, drones can provide new perspectives for students and enable them to demonstrate and perform their own research with the technology. They are even being used at the most basic and practical of levels by assisting children in the development of fine motor skills.
Marketing and media
Drones are also providing the marketing sector with the ability to innovate and further develop rich content marketing strategies. As the demand for video content increases, agencies are under pressure to provide more compelling rich media marketing. Drone technology enables marketing agencies to showcase even small businesses with high-definition video and a fresh approach.
Forward-thinking news media are also seeing the massive advantage of drones in covering stories. Drones can capture news and events as they unfold, without the distractions or risks reporters face on the ground.
Where can we expect to see drones in the future?
Drones are here to stay, and as more businesses adopt the technology, we may find ourselves in a world where drones are as common as smartphones.
Don't be surprised if you see your local councils and town planners relying on drone technology in the years ahead for the mapping of real estate, housing and industrial complexes.
Police and security
We should also expect to see the use of drone technology in investigative police and detective work. You may even find the police in the station while the drones are out doing the work of monitoring our streets and neighborhoods.
The same can be said of security services, which may adopt the technology as a means of protecting industrial estates, business centers and possibly entire communities. Such things are already common in the armed services, and it would be a fairly simple step to have these security systems become the work of drones.
Schools and playgrounds
In concert with the idea of security, people these days expect greater supervision, particularly of children and young adults. Those demands for supervision may be met in the future with technology beyond that CCTV.
Perhaps we will begin to see the use of drone technology in disaster and rescue operations and in loco parentis at schools and public playgrounds. All of these areas represent opportunities for businesses that are willing to adopt and develop the technology that UAVs bring to the table.
If you have entrepreneurial ambitions, now is a wonderful time to lay hold of technology that is almost certainly going to be a winner.
As more industries adopt drone technology in how they do business or serve clients, licenses are being developed to maintain industry standards.
The future is bright for drone technology in business. With retail giant Amazon utilizing drone capabilities to deliver goods, to the ambitious and innovative plans of Facebook to deliver wireless internet connectivity to remote areas, the opportunities for business to develop around this technology is enormous.
If you are in Australia, you will require CASA-approved training and licensing information, including a free online drone licensing calculator.
In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration governs UAV operations and provides guidance on the various licensing requirements.