5 industries drones will disrupt by 2020

While the number of commercial aircraft worldwide is estimated to be only around 30,000, the Federation Aviation Administration forecasts that 7 million hobbyist and commercial drones will be sold in 2020, which is more than double the number of drones purchased in 2016. [1] [2]

Industries disrupted by drones by 2020

Drones are becoming increasingly popular, not only for recreational and commercial use, but also for their impact in applications across a wide range of industries, from agriculture and land-mapping to security and packaging services.

Some of the industries that will be disrupted by drones in 2020 will be the following:

1. Healthcare supplies delivered by flying drones

Several large companies have proposed and are in the process of evaluating the viability of drone delivery, such as Amazon and Google’s Wing. For the healthcare sector, this means quicker delivery of medicines across the country, as well as enabling the delivery of critical health supplies to disadvantaged and urban communities.

This drone health service is already impacting healthcare in Ghana. As of April 2019, vaccines, blood supplies, and medicines are being delivered through 600 drones daily to 2,000 health centers in far-reaching areas around the country – thanks to Zipline, a San Francisco-based UAV manufacturer now valued at $1.2 billion. Zipline has already been operating in Rwanda for the past 3 years. [4]

2. Construction made safer by drones

Drones can survey construction sites and provide real-time information during construction, potentially saving lives. The applications of drones in construction have already been proven beneficial, as they can protect workers from injuries on-site, reduce waste, and save costs. Nesta forecasts that their routine use will enhance and optimize operations in airspace management and communications. In fact, using drones in the construction of the M55 road link in the UK could save up to £15.7m. [5]

3. Search and rescue enhanced with drone mapping and more

As the fire department makes its way to a fire incident, drones can provide real-time data to help firefighters plan ahead, mapping out the structure of the location or building, and potentially identifying people who require rescue. This can be crucial in aiding firefighters with rescuing individuals, and ensuring their safety in tackling the scene.

In the case of wildfires, drones can reduce the burden on firefighters through mapping and real-time tracking of the wildfire, so efforts are directed where lives need rescue.

4. Delivery accelerated with drones

Many e-commerce stores boast same-day delivery, usually use car or motorcycle as their general method of transportation. Some shipping companies and e-commerce stores, such as Amazon, have proposed a drone delivery service, which can mean receiving goods in a matter of 30 minutes, through a drone. [6]

In Australia, Wing (owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet) is delivering food, medicine, and takeaway coffee. After years of testing since 2014, this service has finally launched in April 2019. [8]

In May 2019, DHL launched its first smart drone delivery service in China. [7] As more companies follow suit, drone delivery can become a normalized and regular part of package delivery, across the world.

5. Agriculture secured with AI drones

drones are used by farmers to ensure moisture levels and nutrients in the soil while maximizing all resources – an economical and environmentally friendly approach to farming. In addition, drones fitted with cameras can detect pathogens or unusual changes in the soil early-on. Any issues in a specific area are addressed with precise applications of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, allowing them to respond automatically by sprinkling suitable chemicals to the affected areas. They can also detect illegal poachers to protect endangered animals.

Harboring drone innovation

Global drone competitions can encourage inventors across the planet to create resourceful drones, as well as identify challenges in the drone industry and tackle them accordingly.

One of the largest global competitions of this kind is the $1.5+ million Drone X Challenge 2020 by Krypto Labs, a global innovation hub. DXC 2020 aims at accelerating the practical deployment of drones in key applications focusing on transportation and delivery. DXC 2020 will support innovative commercial applications/solutions that tackle two major challenges: payload capacity and flight endurance.

As drone technology becomes more widespread and its applications are enhanced with artificial intelligence and machine learning, it’s expected to greatly impact agriculture, as it can help maximize resources, achieve food security, protect endangered animals, and gather insurmountable data – all while saving cost, and time.

Sources:

[1] IATA, Economic Performance of the Airline Industry
[2] FAA, 2016 to 2036 Aerospace Forecast
[3] World Economic Forum, Drones and Tomorrow's Airspace
[4] The Guardian, Vaccines by Air as Drone Medicine Service Takes Off in Ghana
[5] Nesta, Shaping the Future of Drones in UK cities
[6] Amazon, Amazon Prime Air
[7] DHL, DHL Launches its First Regular Fully-Automated and Intelligent Urban Drone Delivery Service
[8] BBC, Google Wing launches first home delivery drone service

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