A new study was released last week by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, which estimates that more than half of the global commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) flights will be conducted autonomously by 2022. The study says these autonomous flights will function “much like warehouse robots operate today.” Frost & Sullivan’s research director, Michael Blades, said that “the UAS market is becoming an ecosystem focused on information and value-added services, where the drone is a tool acting as a cog in the big data machine.” Accordingly, the study predicts that success in the UAS ecosystem will likely be achieved by companies that can safely, quickly and inexpensively offer high-level data for real-time decision-making. Another interesting prediction by this study is that by 2022, the UAS industry will mimic the cell phone industry, with few hardware providers and a myriad of open-source and sensor providers for specific applications. To read the full study and report, click here.