What is a Drone?

Thanks for checking in – I’ll be keeping an eye towards the sky and sharing my thoughts with you here.  Feel free to comment and share!

Lately it seems like drones are in action everywhere — if you look on YouTube you’ll find kids with GoPros putting up amazing aerial footage or showing off their piloting skills. If you’ve watched a movie lately, you’ve probably seen some astonishing shots that used to require helicopters or airplanes, and can now be done for a fraction of the cost. If you were at the massive International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, you know that they were the must­play­with “toy,” and seemed they were doing everything from racing and flying obstacle courses to taking selfies of their operators.

Yes, drones have come a long way from those rickety RC helicopters that you crashed ten minutes after unboxing them (and then had to throw out because they never really worked again). Today’s drones can fly even in tough conditions. They’re already out exploring the Arctic, traversing the rainforests, locating offshore gas and oil deposits, and saving lives. In fact, you may have been hearing about them more than you realize, since they’re also frequently referred to as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UASs (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) or RPAs (Remote Piloted Aircraft). Whatever you call them, they are already becoming part of our lives. The real boom, however, is still to come and it’s just around the corner.

Drones have become real workhorses and we’re just beginning to see the impact they’ll make. Not only do they reach places that are too remote or too dangerous for humans to go, they get there faster than ground vehicles and at a fraction of the cost of a piloted aircraft. Coupled with modern sensors, manipulators and delivery devices, they are rapidly finding applications in everything including mineralogical surveys, crop monitoring, search and rescue, cinematography and package delivery. They are about to absolutely redefine the way that we think about business, research, exploration and public safety.

Like any fresh tech field, drones represent an enormous investment opportunity for those who can envision the coming demand for their many applications and match them with technology capable of delivering the functions we need. Investment in drone technology more than doubled in 2014, and the trend shows no sign of slowing because there are so many different ways that drones are going to boost our productivity, expand our understanding of the world around us, and even help us live longer, healthier and safer lives.