Invest in the Drone Industry…But How?

There is no question that the drone industry offers plenty of investment opportunities, but it is not always easy to pick a winner. The story of what happened to 3DR serves as a cautionary tale of just how quickly the fortunes of a drone company can turn. More recently with GoPro experienced the barriers of entry that exist for companies trying to get into the drone space.

However, there is no reason why this should inhibit you from investing in drones, you just got to do your homework. The Motley Fool named AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV), Ambarella (NASDAQ: AMBA), and Boeing (NYSE: BA) as the top three drone stocks of 2016.

AeroVironment is a industry leader in small military drones and it is actively using its expertise to move into commercial drones that can be used in agriculture and infrastructure surveying. Ambarella is a leader in drone cameras and compression of drone footage so it can be used in a real-time environment. Ambarella is already used in many drones on the market and is looking to expand partnerships further. Boeing is an aerospace leader that is very active in drones and can bring an insane about of experience, knowledge and connections government and military entities that want to buy drone technology.

Another way to invest is by putting money into Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) that focus on drones. This is a great way to invest in the industry without taking on all the risk of one company. Pure Funds’ Drone Economy Strategy ETF (ETF ticker IFLY) is one of the first to be set up and is open to investment. As of 12/09/16 it has has over $8 million in net assets and splits its value between 44 drone companies weighted by Pure Funds.

Drones: A Cost Effective Way to Monitor Plant Health

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As drones become more reliable and senor equipment and cameras become smaller and cheaper, drones are now a real life option to monitor the health of plants—which can be a benefit to everyone from farmers to scientists and government departments monitoring the affects of weather issues like drought.

Recently a professor from UC Berkeley teamed up with drone maker Parrot to study the health of giant sequoia trees with drones. For the study, drones are equipped with sensors and cameras that allow them to fly around the tree to map its foliage and monitor dry areas with multispectral imaging.

While before it would take a team of researchers a week or more to map a single tree, a drone can do it in a few hours.

Additionally, it is reported that California-based UAV manufacturer AeroVironment is working with California State University to use its drones to monitor water stress for almond trees.