While unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technology is best known for military and intelligence applications, plenty of surprising commercial uses have emerged. Maps built from UAS images are transforming industries from government research to agriculture to wildlife preservation.
As drones become more and more mainstream, they’re being used for initiatives other than military operations and the global defense industry—and now drones are forging a new frontier in cinematography.
The news is full of stories of crises around the globe, and getting much-needed aid and materials to affected areas – whether in times of natural disasters or ongoing humanitarian issues – can often be a challenge. Natural and manmade disasters often take out critical infrastructures, from roads to railways to means of communication, leaving first responders scrambling in times when they’re needed most.
With GoPro developing a drone and universities offering degrees in unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), the technology is making the move from military to mainstream applications. Already a multi-billion dollar global defense industry, the civilian drone market is expected to grow 19 percent annually from 2015 to 2020, driven primarily by commercial industries.
As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) begins granting permits for unmanned aircraft system (UAS) flight across a number of commercial industries, the technology is poised to join GPS-guided tractors and wireless solar-powered sensors as everyday technologies enabling farmers to be more proactive about their crop management. In fact, Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that over the next 10 years, UAS technology has the potential to generate $82 billion in economic activity in the agricultural industry alone.
While the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) itself bears little resemblance to the drones making huge headlines, military and defense applications were the predecessors to modern day operational intelligence (OI) technology that has the potential to revolutionize commercial markets. In fact, the new OI applications on the market are enabling UAS technologies large and small to connect to greater situational awareness.
The headlines are full of articles about technology advancements that can help save lives in law enforcement – from improved body armor materials to thermal imagers that can zero in on hidden suspects and evidence.