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An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, is commonly known as a drone. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two.
Drones are said to have been in existence since World-War 1 when both the U.S. and France worked on developing automatic, unmanned aeroplanes. Drones were originally built for military purposes, but in the last few years, they have been put to use for commercial purposes, such as monitoring climate changes (forecasting hurricanes, tornadoes), delivery of goods, aerial photography and videography etc. We have seen significant changes in terms of drone adoption, its usage expansion across industries, and global awareness.
Hospitals are now supplying medical equipment and test kits to one another via drones; likewise, car dealers in China are accepting online orders and delivering car keys to the buyers at their balconies.
One of the first drone degree programs in the U.S. is offered by the University of Pennsylvania, where they teach useful skills needed for one’s career in the future. In emerging countries like India, drones provide excessive assistance for expanding the coverage and reach. A small drone can enhance the efficiency of patrolling officers by 10x. Ergo, drones act as an ideal force multiplier for such emergency cases. It will help create situational awareness, communication can be carried out via speakers, and also, UAV technology can help in preventing theft and unlawful activities.
These small unmanned aircraft are playing a crucial role in such unsettling and upsetting times like Covid-19, from delivering medical or essential supplies to spraying disinfectants.
EVA, a Brooklyn based start-up founded in 2017, was hunting for its first customer six months ago. Chief executive Olivier Le Lann who was a former Tesla executive says, Covid-19 has served as a catalyst for contactless delivery systems. He describes the demand as “positively violent for the company”. EVA’s unanticipated expansion is just one example of how the Coronavirus has skyrocketed the use of drones in new ways. EVA currently has five docking stations, which are being built in New York and Singapore. Within a couple of months from now, they have contracts to deliver another 100 by December.
Another company called Flytrex is also capitalizing on demand for contactless delivery by drone. Flytrex is a logistics service-based company and was named one of CNBC’s 100 promising start-ups to watch. They are targeting non-urban America with drones services because Yariv Bash (CEO), recognizes 70 million homes that are unable to access on-demand services that urban consumers take for granted. Bash foresees huge potential in the coming years and says “In a few years, you’ll get your next hamburger, or even your next iPhone in 15 minutes, and it’s going to be much faster, greener and cheaper than any alternative.”
The Drone Industry
The drone industry has witnessed its highest peak with regard to its market size in the last few years. The anticipated growth is presumed to escalate from $14.1 billion in 2018 to a whopping $43.1 billion by 2024. Drones are rapidly being approved for leisure pursuit as well. For instance, construction purposes, agricultural purposes, firefighting, journalism, delivery of groceries, and much more. Drones have lured the public since its use during the COVID 19 pandemic, and have been a trendy gimmick, compelling them to introduce more inexpensive models for commercial purposes, as the industry foresees this to be the new normal for deliveries, monitoring crowded areas, photography, etc.
Walmart and Amazon have also been in healthy competition and battling for a couple of years to capture or file more drone patents to achieve dominion. In the rapidly changing world of retail, the two multinational companies believe in the “affordable and rapid delivery of goods”. The competition is incredibly intense – Walmart has supposedly submitted three more drone patents than Amazon. Still, there is always a delay between filing for a patent and them being made public. The exact figures seem to be a bit blurry. However, this implies the significant demand for drones and its hike in the future.
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