2016: The year of the drone
The term UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. Also known as a drone, these pilot-operated flying machines are one of the most talked about technological innovations on the market today.
Recent laws and advances in technology are together making 2016 the year of the drone. Consumers can expect to see some of the following trends in UAVs over the next twelve months:
Better picture quality
Most people who fly drones whether for monetary or recreational purposes do so to take amazing photography and videography. People are becoming more and more reliant on drones for capturing stunning aerial images.
Real estate agents love drones because they can get top-down photos of the homes they’re responsible for selling at a much cheaper cost than hiring a helicopter pilot and photographer. Before now, mainstream drones did not offer cameras with outstanding picture quality.
At the end of 2015, some UAV companies began offering drones equipped with cameras that have sold in the past for thousand dollars, now at just over one thousand dollars.
Like most technology, tech gadgets sell for higher prices when they first come out. Over time, the market becomes saturated with the product and price begins to drop.
Generally, new innovations are made to existing products and as they become the norm, the price goes down and drones are predicted to follow suit. UAV consumers can also expect to see more Chinese drones available on the market in 2016.
Several Chinese companies are now investing in the development of their own UAV model. This could be a great thing for drone buyers since most Chinese products tend to sell for less than American-made.
State of the art sensors
Sensors will likely be a new trend in 2016 drones. The latest drones may be equipped with near-infrared (NIR), thermal, and ultrasonic sensors.
These latest sensors will make drone usage much more popular in professional fields. Thermal sensors on drones can be used to help firefighters know how large and how powerful a fire is before entering a home.
It can also track human bodies that may be trapped inside even if the house is completely overtaken by smoke. Ultrasonic sensors on drones can detect possible interference in the air to avoid crashes.
This is especially useful for anyone who uses drones to survey rocky landscapes. Anyone using a drone in a mountainous area can understand the danger of a drone crash as they may not be able to safely recover the drone after an unexpected fall. NIR sensors on drones are the latest hit in agriculture.
The sensors can determine how well crops are doing by identifying the amount of chlorophyll in the plants. This technology is expected to save billions for farmers who will no longer need to employ teams of surveyors to do a visual inspection and report.
The old method of having humans physically inspect each crop is time-consuming and prone to error. The more scientific approach of using drones to monitor the vegetation is much faster, accurate, and economical.
The military already uses drones to conduct operations and police officers are beginning to see the advantages of having a flying assistant.
Colorado’s Mesa County has two police drones that they use in search and rescue efforts whenever someone is reported missing. The sheriff’s office also uses the drones to take aerial photos of crime scenes, which can be converted into high-tech 3D images.
The North Dakota state police are working a lot with drones as well. Their drones can be legally allowed to administer non-lethal force to criminals in perilous situations.
The UAV pilot can control the drone and tell it to shoot pepper spray or rubber bullets when necessary. They also use their drones to scout and record aerial photos of vehicular collisions.
In this way, they have a leg up on determining who could be at fault for the crash. With such reported success, citizens can look forward to more policy departments adopting a pro-UAV policy.
More piloting schools
Because of changes in the law, the FAA now requires individuals who pilot drones professionally to attend a UAV piloting school and graduate to become certified.
There weren’t many of these schools prior to the change in regulations, but with the certain interest of clientele now needing to enroll to keep their jobs or start a new career, the demand for piloting schools is rapidly growing.
The trends predicted for drones in 2016 are almost guaranteed to come to pass unless there is a shocking change in the law.
Citizens are concerned about privacy and safety when it comes to UAVs, but it is likely that soon they will embrace how the latest technology can change their lives in a positive way in 2016 and in the years to come.