Drone data is used in construction (3-D mapping, site surveying), agriculture (crop mapping), energy (solar and wind turbine monitoring), insurance (roof inspections), infrastructure (inspection), communications (damage assessments) and countless other industries. These industries, and more, have long sought data ‘from above,’ generally from satellites or airplanes, but drones are better sensors in the sky. Drone can gather higher-resolution images and more frequent data than satellites, and drones are cheaper, easier to use, and safer than airplanes. Drones can also provide ‘anytime, anywhere’ access to views with accuracy that rivals laser scanning –and the technology has not even reached its peak.
In the construction industry—which has the second largest industry in the world (second to agriculture) and is worth $8 trillion a year—drones can make a remarkable difference in the industry’s economics. A typical construction project runs 80 percent over budget and 20 months behind schedule. But drones can save big on costs and time. With drones, a whole site, for example, can be mapped, in high detail, for as little as $25 a day. Drones can help close the gap. Drones are tools for industries, not just toys you can buy off the shelf.
Overall, commercial drones are set to take off—in the next four years, somewhere from a quarter million to a million and a half drones will enter the skies. The cost of drones will decrease while the quality of the drone (and its software) increase.