Consumer Reports put out a great summary of the way drones are already changing the world we live in. Their ten choices include:
- Package delivery
- Photos and videos
- Humanitarian aid
- First responders
- Safety inspections
- Internet access
- Hurricane and tornado forecasting
- Wildlife conservation
The team at Drone Dossier mulled over the list and decided to break it down into what it believes is the biggest business opportunity, what will have the most immediate positive impact, and which has the biggest opportunity to change the world.
Biggest Business Opportunity: Agriculture
In the future, the agricultural sector will be the bread-and-butter of the commercial drone industry. Right now the worldwide market for agricultural drones is roughly $500 million. According to one study the worldwide drone market will be $3.70 billion by 2022.
The Bank of America Merrill Lynch projects agriculture to make up 80% of the commercial drone market in coming years and has the potential to generate $82 billion worth of economic activity in the U.S. between 2015 and 2025. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found the total available market for the agricultural drone business to be over $32 billion.
Talk about a sector that is primed for major growth. If things continue on the current trend, agricultural drones will transform the way food is produced.
First Responders (Most immediate positive impact)
In emergency situations drones can be a lot of help. Drones have already been used after major disasters like earthquakes to visually comb areas that are not yet accessible to emergency personnel. This allows paths of entry to be found and people at risk to be identified.
Numerous law enforcement agencies and emergency response teams are looking into using drones to do everything to deliver defibrillators to identify bodies. Additionally, search and rescue authorities in places like Switzerland (where over 3,000 go missing annually—mostly due to hiking) are now deploying drones to help in rescue efforts.
Drone manufacturer DJI recently partnered with Irish startup DroneSAR to create an app that, “Seamlessly integrates a drone’s unique aerial perspective on life-and-death searches into incident management software, ensuring rescue crews can use drones effectively to save lives.”
Internet access (Biggest opportunity to change the world)
As the saying goes, “knowledge is power” and in the history of the world there has never been a tool that offers as much ‘knowledge’ as the internet. While most of us take the internet for granted, the fact remains that a large portion of the world’s population still has no reliable access to the internet.
Facebook has poured a lot of money into their Aquila drones that basically use solar power to hover over areas and beam down high speed internet. While still in development, internet ‘raining’ drones like the Aquila have the power to provide affordable internet access to large swaths of the earth that have no current access.
Facebook is already in discussions with countries like Indonesia and India to use Aquila drones to beam internet to rural populations. When (not if) internet drones do start taking to the sky it will truly make the internet global and will unlock its power to billions.