Technology development and new applications to drive boom in commercial drones

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RAPID technological advances and the emergency of nano drones are some of the trends that will significantly impact the commercial drones market through 2020.

In its latest report covering the drones market from 2016 to 2020, Technavio identified key emerging trends that will impact the market growth of drones in the coming years.

The growth of the commercial-purpose drones market will be fuelled by the emergency of nano drones, which can be the size of a palm or a fingernail. These nano drones will have a low cost of production, operation, and maintenance. Their relative operational cost effectiveness will see an increased usage of drones for various purposes – according to Technavio, a nano drone would cost about US$25 for an hour of flight, compared to thousands of dollars required to fly a larger traditional drone.

This would open up the use of drones in applications like telecommunications, maritime monitoring, weather forecasting, transportation, search and rescue, and oil and gas exploration.

However, Technavio reports, the agriculture sector is likely to be a major beneficiary from the use of drones. With precision farming expected to account for about 80 percent of the sector’s growth over the next four years, the deployment of drones will form the basis of these techniques.

The next four years will be a period of major growth for drone developers, as capital funding floods into the sector, and vendors and startup drone makers alike promising new applications for drones. Already commercial players and venture capitalists are establishing funds specifically for supporting drone hardware and software entrepreneurs.

Another new application for drones is in advertising, where relaxed governmental policies and advances in technology will allow advertising agencies worldwide to continue experimenting with possibilities of drone advertising.

These icnlude the development of drones that can fly billboards and drop promotional articles such as t-shirts, etc. Already, major brands like Coca-Cola have run drones-based advertising campaigns.

Alongside new applications, OEMs continue to enhance the performance and application of commercial drones with new technology developments in both miniaturisation and materials, providing substantial cost, energy, and space-saving opportunities to end-users.

Drones will continue to advance in strength, reduced weight, power and energy efficiency.

Drones with an extended battery life that can work underwater are also being developed. In the coming years, drones will emerge that are powered via alternative power sources like hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid technology, allowing flight times measurable in hours rather than minutes.