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US military could start using commercial drones

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US military leaders are discussing using commercial drones for certain applications, according to Wired.

The conversations are centered on using some consumer drones for scouting operations, which could save the military time and money in product development. These discussions could be indicative of the advancement of consumer drone technology while showing the military’s expanded operational scope for unmanned aircraft.

While not revolutionary, this still could be a valuable new use case for drones in the military. Unmanned aircraft have been used by the military for decades, but primarily for high-altitude aerial surveillance and some bombing missions. Scouting missions could become a prominent new use case for drones in the military, especially because it could eliminate the need to place troops in harms way.

This might also show that consumer drones have advanced to the point where they can be relied on for military operations. The consumer drones would likely need to be modified somewhat for military use, but the fact that these discussions are taking place at all shows that the military may feel the technology used in consumer drones is advanced and reliable enough for the military’s purposes.

Drones turned the corner in 2015 to become a popular consumer device, while a framework for regulation that legitimizes drones in the US began to take shape. Technological and regulatory barriers still exist to further drone adoption.

Drone manufacturers and software providers are quickly developing technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance that will make flying drones safer. The accelerating pace of drone adoption is also pushing governments to create new regulations that balance safety and innovation.

Safer technology and better regulation will open up new applications for drones in the commercial sector, including drone delivery programs like Amazon’s Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing initiatives.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed drones report that forecasts sales revenues for consumer, enterprise, and military drones. It also projects the growth of drone shipments for consumers and enterprises.

The report details several of world’s major drone suppliers and examines trends in drone adoption among several leading industries. Finally, it examines the regulatory landscape in several markets and explains how technologies like obstacle avoidance and drone-to-drone communications will impact drone adoption.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • We project revenues from drones sales to top $12 billion in 2021, up from just over $8 billion last year.
  • Shipments of consumer drones will more than quadruple over the next five years, fueled by increasing price competition and new technologies that make flying drones easier for beginners.
  • Growth in the enterprise sector will outpace the consumer sector in both shipments and revenues as regulations open up new use cases in the US and EU, the two biggest potential markets for enterprise drones.
  • Technologies like geo-fencing and collision avoidance will make flying drones safer and make regulators feel more comfortable with larger numbers of drones taking to the skies.
  • Right now FAA regulations have limited commercial drones to a select few industries and applications like aerial surveying in the agriculture, mining, and oil and gas sectors.
  • The military sector will continue to lead all other sectors in drone spending during our forecast period thanks to the high cost of military drones and the growing number of countries seeking to acquire them.

In full, the report:

  • Compares drone adoption across the consumer, enterprise, and government sectors.
  • Breaks down drone regulations across several key markets and explains how they’ve impacted adoption.
  • Discusses popular use cases for drones in the enterprise sector, as well as nascent use case that are on the rise.
  • Analyzes how different drone manufacturers are trying to differentiate their offerings with better hardware and software components.
  • Explains how drone manufacturers are quickly enabling autonomous flight in their products that will be a major boon for drone adoption.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the world of drones.


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