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Drones: What's New, What's Trending, and What's Next

For some, that eerie, distant buzzing, like an approaching herd of bees or faraway landscaper, inspires only eyes squinting upwards or a passing wave at the camera in the sky. But for the rest of the world, the hum is growing louder, as professionals and recreationalists alike have adopted Unmanned Aircraft Systems for everything from capturing feral pigs to capturing Drake’s beats as backup dancers.

And it’s really no surprise. UASs are visually appealing from every angle; whether you’re watching them from the ground or using them as a way to get a bird’s eye view. The latter perspective is apparently alluring to many, as photography leads the way in US non model (non recreational) drone usage with 48% of the user landscape, trailed by industrial and utility inspection, according to a 2017 study by the Federal Aviation Administration.

But the drone industry has become just that - an industry. Drones now mean more than just cool camera work. That angle represents just one of this market’s segments. Other segments, like target drones used by the military or data collecting drones used by researchers, have also made their way into the conversation.

“There’s so much demand from the market, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” said Colin Guin, UAV entrepreneur and industry expert, in an interview with Commercial UAV News. “There are never-ending expectations to come up with drones that feature narrow AI-equipped, has computer vision, are able to operate autonomously, can fly forever and are totally silent…the list goes on and on, and everyone wants to be able to offer the latest, most cutting-edge solution.”

Some of those solutions recently introduced into the space include Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite. This solar powered drone wrapped up a record setting flight lasting 25 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes.

(Video by Huffington Post UK)

As is the case with any evolving industry, regulation proves a concern for many. The FAA will soon be deciding on its reauthorization package: a set of proposed amendments that would determine things like whether recreational operators should be required to take an aeronautical knowledge test.

A change in regulation for drone usage shouldn’t prove too much of a concern, though, since it appears the only constant in this high flying industry is change. Guin says that previously, drones gave off the ominous impression of being exclusively weaponizable. Now, however, the industry is adapting.

“Because we’re looking at full autonomy, computer vision, smart cities, smart farms, real-time insights around mining, better inspection of critical infrastructure…all of that hasn’t materialized yet, but they’re all things that will be solved in the next 1-3 years,” he says. “...The general public is not thinking about drones like that now, but watching how these perceptions and understandings of the technology shift is really illuminating. It won’t be long before they figure out there’s a lot more to drones than just flying a camera around for 30 minutes.”

It’s not too late to get in on this buzzing bandwagon, however. Bentley Media offers professional, reasonably priced, FAA Part 107 Certified drone piloting for businesses throughout the Southeast. Reach out today to discuss how UAS could help your project reach soaring new heights.

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