Business Unusual

Drones are really taking off, here are 7 things you thought you knew about them.

Probably the most well know drone design, the DJI Phantom. Pic: Dronelistr

One estimate says a million commercial drones were sold in 2014. The prediction is that two million will be sold in 2015.

Here are 7 things you thought you knew about drones.

Drones are a new thing

Drones have actually been around for over 100 years. Marilyn Monroe started her working career assembling radio controlled aircraft to help anti craft gunners practice their skills (you might impress drone fans with that fact).

Drones are remote controlled aircraft

While all drones are remote controlled aircraft, not all remote controlled aircraft are drones. A drone needs to be able to operate autonomously. Whether that be take-off and landing or returning to the start point if it flies out of range or the battery is low.

They are only useful for specialised work

Actually the main driver for using drones has been their ability to do jobs few others would want to do. It has given rise to the statement that they are best for jobs that are dull, dirty or dangerous.

America is the principal manufacturer of drones

The US may be the largest market and it does have a significant stake in growing the drone industry, but Israel is big manufacturer of military drones and China's DJI output is driving a lot of the growth in the industry.

Frank Wang is the man that made the drone a household word when he created the company in 2006. By 2013 they were earning over $100 million the next year that had reportedly grown to $500 million. Forecasts are for a $1 billion in sales for 2015.

Other big manufactures are based in Switzerland, Canada, Sweden and Korea.

They will get bigger and better (but are best for short trips)

The real future of drones will see them get smaller. The smaller versions will be cheap and expendable with less of the high tech sensors. To make up for that the drones will collaborate as a swarm.

This would both allow them to cover much larger areas for search operations and make them more likely to survive when used in dangerous scenarios.

The military versions will also swarm (although the US Navy calls it Locust - see below)

The range varies from only hundreds of meters to an unlimited distance. Both Alphabet (Google for those that missed their name change) and Facebook are building solar powered drones that will spend months in the air flying autonomously used as mobile base stations for areas that don't have coverage. Alphabet is also working on a delivery version to work in remote areas.

They will be plentiful in the future but not now

Besides the 2 million expected to be sold in 2015 as commercial drones, the US military in 2012 had 1 in 3 planes being a drone. In 2005 it was only 5%, so it is likely that it is even higher now. Many other nations maintain fleets too.

They just do surveillance or destroy things

That is almost right, but the ever growing field of uses include search and rescue, agriculture, exploration, inspection and repair, conservation, meteorology and traffic monitoring. In fact anything that will benefit from an elevated vantage point or work that is dull, dirty or dangerous will likely see a drone created to deal with it.

The law has not caught up with developments

This is the one thing you would be correct in assuming. Regulators around the world are trying to deal with the tough questions that drones present. From privacy to licences to insurance and a host of other issues when drones operate across borders. Some are being resolved by the manufacturers themselves by creating no-fly zones that the drones will not enter, even if you try. The principal zones are airports with some displayed below, although none have been defined over Africa yet.

If all the passenger and cargo aircraft in operation amount to about 20 000 aircraft then the sheer volume of drones will make it almost a sure bet that when you see something in the sky in the future it will not have a pilot.


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Technology disrupted tax income, but nobody escapes taxes

Technology disrupted tax income, but nobody escapes taxes

Digital companies have had a good run, but new taxes are coming.

Solving puzzles and mysteries, and what all of us may be missing about it

Solving puzzles and mysteries, and what all of us may be missing about it

At last, a way to future proof yourself against the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Boredom, loneliness and addiction

Boredom, loneliness and addiction

The best way to describe our relationship with the internet is “it's complicated".

The world is reliant on fertilizer and this is who controls most of it

The world is reliant on fertilizer and this is who controls most of it

One country holds as much as 70% of the world’s phosphate and we can’t feed the world without it.

How Instagram captured the moment

How Instagram captured the moment

An app so simple even Steve Jobs would have been proud.

Serving coffee beans to human beings

Serving coffee beans to human beings

How Starbucks grew a coffee shop into a global brand.

Popular articles
Are you ready to 'Walk the Talk' with 702 & MTN?

Are you ready to 'Walk the Talk' with 702 & MTN?

The annual MTN Walk the Talk with 702 takes place on 22 July this year, under the theme 'Walking for South Africa'.

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Madiba’s private secretary Zelda la Grange opens up about money (hers and his)

Bruce Whitfield interviews La Grange about her and Madiba's attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.)

You’re either a ‘money slave’ or a ‘money master’ (says author of 'My Money')

You’re either a ‘money slave’ or a ‘money master’ (says author of 'My Money')

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Sugar Creek financial expert and author of “My Money” Gerald Mwandiambira.

How to make money through ‘buy-to-let’ (using very little of your own money)

How to make money through ‘buy-to-let’ (using very little of your own money)

Bruce Whitfield interviews Francois Janse van Rensburg, author of “Making Money through Buy-To-Let in South Africa".

'More black farm workers are killed than white farm workers'  - Johan Burger

'More black farm workers are killed than white farm workers'  - Johan Burger

Following a spate of farm murders in the Cape, the policing expert says there aren't enough stats available on farm killings.

Soulful Sundays Playlist: Sunday 11 June 2017

Soulful Sundays Playlist: Sunday 11 June 2017

Favourites to feed your soul on Sunday.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Blesserfinder: Matching you with a sugar daddy near you

Is social trend Blesserfinder, where girls are allegedly matching up with rich 'benefactors' in exchange for sex, a real thing?