Amazing Facts About Drones You Probably Didn’t Know! If you think you know everything there is to know about drones, here are some facts that might surprise you. For example, did you know that… Drones can be as big as jumbo jets?
There are some drones that are so large they’re able to carry humans or even cargo in addition to equipment like cameras or sensors. The largest drone on record so far was built by Intel, and it’s capable of carrying an entire 27-foot shipping container on its back and flying with it at 50 miles per hour!
What if I told you that drones have been around for hundreds of years and that Amazon may soon be using them to deliver packages? There’s no way, right? Well, it turns out drones aren’t just for delivering pizza.
They have a long history and there are a lot of incredible things about them that you might not know. Check out these 10 amazing facts about drones and see what makes them such an interesting technological tool.
#1 – There are over 300 Million Unmanned Aircraft in the World
Since 1982, over 300 million drones have been sold globally. The leading manufacturers of unmanned aircraft are DJI, Parrot and 3D Robotics. China’s commercial drone industry is quickly catching up to the US market. As a matter of fact, DJI has grown by more than 400% in 2016 alone! By 2020, market research firms predict that there will be over 700 million drones in operation worldwide.
In China, where there is currently no licensing requirement to fly a drone commercially, 300 million are projected to be in operation by 2020. In comparison, only 300,000 drones are predicted to be in use in America by 2018. Of these 300 million drones that will populate China’s skies over 240 million will belong to DJI!
In 2017 alone DJI has shipped 10.2 million units globally with a market valuation of $8 billion dollars! As a matter of fact DJI represents 50% of all non-military UAVs shipped for commercial purposes worldwide. To make matters worse for the competition, DJI enjoys 90% brand recognition amongst drone enthusiasts and amateurs alike! Not too shabby eh?
#2 – The FAA Has Licensed Over 400 Public Drone Flights in 2017
The market valuation of drones is at $4 billion. The FAA has licensed over 400 public drone flights in 2017. Drones are a much-hyped technology—but how many people have actually flown one? According to Forbes, early estimates are that 400 companies were granted permission by June 20th to operate drones for commercial purposes. This was an increase from 238 companies as of April 27th and just 107 in mid-March.
What’s going on here? While it’s tempting to see these numbers as evidence that the drone industry is taking off, some perspective may be useful: these initial approvals relate to very low altitude flights, often well under 200 feet (60 m). Which isn’t nothing…but doesn’t necessarily amount to a revolution either.
For a really long time, it wasn’t legal for companies to fly drones outside of very strict (and controlled) situations. A 2015 law changed that by allowing commercial drone use in US airspace under specific conditions, such as staying below 400 feet (120 m) and keeping within line of sight at all times.
Permission to operate commercially is granted on a case-by-case basis through an FAA registration process known as ‘COA’, or Certificate of Authorisation. That’s why so many approvals have been granted in 2017—the application window opened on February 23rd and runs until August 29th 2017.
#3 – Amazon Plans to Deliver Packages via Drone
Many drones can travel as far as 10 miles from their launch point and remain in flight for as long as 20 minutes. Amazon has considered using drones to deliver packages to its customers, but much work remains before that becomes a reality.
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently writing regulations for how unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called drones, should be integrated into civilian airspace. Amazon is actively working with federal agencies to help inform these rules and standards.
Amazon’s Prime Air division has been working on building a drone capable of carrying packages up to five pounds for up to 10 miles. These drones fly autonomously, using Amazon’s cloud services and a fleet of cameras, sensors and other technology to detect obstacles like trees or buildings in their flight path.
The first human-piloted flights took place in late 2016, with unmanned flights currently being tested by regulators prior to consumer use. Amazon hopes to have its drones flying in 2017.
#4 – 80 Percent of Small Businesses Are Now Considering Using UAVs
In a recent survey conducted by Business Insider, 80 percent of small businesses said they were considering using UAVs within three years. While only 4 percent said they currently used drones, 90 percent said they planned to use them.
The reasons for such high levels of interest among small businesses varied from saving time and money on shipping to lighter than air marketing campaigns (literally) to surveying job sites and areas affected by natural disasters. Of course, these are just some of many potential uses for drones in fields as diverse as architecture, real estate, insurance claims assessments and more.
As with any new technology, however, it’s important to understand what drones can do before deciding whether or not they’re a good fit for your business. While drones can save money in some cases and be used for marketing purposes, there are limitations that you should be aware of before making a decision.
For example, even though using drones is usually cheaper than using a helicopter or plane for aerial surveillance and photography, if you have to hire someone to operate them on your behalf costs can quickly add up.
Also, keep in mind that UAVs have limited battery life and flying range compared to manned aircraft so factors like geography will play a role in determining their practical use for your business.
#5 – There are Over 1 Billion Wi-Fi Enabled Devices, Up 35% Year Over Year
Consumers and businesses are deploying Wi-Fi on a massive scale. According to IHS Inc., there are over 1 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices today, up 35% year over year. With 802.11ac adoption forecasted to grow at a 27% CAGR through 2017, expect that number to continue growing exponentially as more consumer electronic devices include Wi-Fi as a standard feature.
Adoption is especially high in homes with broadband connections: according to Cisco Systems’ Visual Networking Index (VNI), 4K UHD streaming video accounts for 32% of all Internet traffic in homes with connections speeds faster than 100 Mbps — nearly double that of homes at 25 Mbps and below.
Wi-Fi is also becoming a key part of our connected world. Wi-Fi remains one of the most pervasive wireless technologies and will continue to connect everything from cars to coffee makers, wearables to home appliances.
As a result, Wi-Fi will become an even more central focus for smartphone manufacturers in 2015, allowing mobile users to seamlessly transition from their mobile data plans to Wi-Fi networks as needed – as long as they are both on major carriers’ LTE networks. While all four major U.S.
#6 – $13.7 Billion Was Invested in AI and Robotics in 2016
The market valuation of drones passed $13.7 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach more than $100 billion by 2025. In fact, a report released by Goldman Sachs predicted that drone revenues will make up about 15% of consumer spending on electronics by 2026. And if you’re thinking of investing in a drone company, now may be a good time.
3D Robotics raised almost $50 million earlier this year at its current valuation of nearly $300 million—more than double its pre-funding amount—and just recently added another $20 million to that amount!
The history of drones is an interesting one that goes back to 1849, when French army officer Edmond Ruhlmann invented a flying machine powered by steam. Many of today’s drones are still not much different from those early versions, but what makes them special is their practical use and advancing technology.
A drone equipped with an autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) program could even be used to aid in surgery as an unmanned surgical assistant! While military drones are currently making headlines, they won’t be used exclusively for defense.
In fact, it’s estimated that 95% of drone sales will be for commercial purposes—and many will likely be used by people just like you for purposes like aerial photography or surveying real estate properties and crops! Want more amazing facts about drones?
#7 – The Most Advanced Robot Soldiers Cost $15 Million per Unit
In a world where robots are being deployed by armies, police departments, and rescue teams, one might think that robot soldiers would be commonplace. They’re not. The most advanced combat robots cost between $15 million to $22 million per unit and were created by MegaBots Inc., an American company founded in 2012 to develop giant piloted robots with jet engines. How much is your life worth?
The 5.5-meter tall, 4-tonne, Giant piloted mechs are a form of the walking tank and can reach speeds of up to 5 mph (8 km/h). Powered by jet engines, they have a top range of 10 km (6 miles) and are currently being upgraded with flamethrowers and heavy machine guns.
The bots were originally conceived as crowd-pleasing entertainment machines for televised mecha battles — a throwback to a long-gone age where humans controlled remote-controlled drones in simulated gladiatorial combat. But now their creators hope that military leaders will see how effective their robots are in battle situations, paving way for them to become future weapons.
#8 – Today’s Military Drones Can Fly For Days Without Landing
First piloted in 2011, RQ-4 Global Hawk drones have a wingspan of 130 feet and weigh 16,000 pounds. They can fly for over 30 hours without stopping and refueling. A single drone can perform three missions per day at an altitude of 60,000 feet; they are used by military forces around the world to provide surveillance in high-risk areas as well as support relief efforts after natural disasters.
Though these large drones are often used for military purposes, smaller versions are increasingly used in civilian life. For example, farmers are using small, lightweight drones to monitor their crops and determine which areas require watering. Real estate agents can use aerial footage of properties to help prospective buyers get a better sense of what it’s like on-site.
Civilian drones also offer easier data collection than using humans: People holding video recorders cannot be everywhere at once, but airborne robots can stream live images from multiple vantage points at once. Several companies—including Amazon and Google—are even testing or plan to test air delivery services that rely on robotic aircraft controlled from afar by an operator on the ground. If you think about it: It makes total sense!
#9 – 83% of Drone Owners Use Their Drone at Least Once a Month
IHS Markit estimates that 83% of drone owners use their drones at least once a month. Drone enthusiasts don’t just have one. They collect them, or in some cases build them from scratch. This is perhaps why DJI is so popular; it offers an entry-level, high-quality drone at a low price point.
It also supports third-party apps and companies can integrate their own software with its drones to do everything from connecting medical devices to patients to collecting data in hard-to-reach places. In fact, farmers are using DJI drones to spot crops affected by bad weather and pests early enough to rescue them before they wither or succumb completely.
DJI is not alone in expanding into different industries. Facebook acquired drone company Ascenta to get their unmanned technology and a team of industry experts on board. Amazon has been experimenting with drones since 2012, and it unveiled its delivery service last year.
Google’s parent company Alphabet has also been experimenting with Project Wing, but in August 2016 it shelved that project as well as its Titan program — although it may yet pick them up again if an opportunity presents itself further down the line.
#10 – Flying Drones in Public Are Restricted In Some Areas
Some countries, like Canada and Germany, have implemented legislation that restricts flying drones in public areas. While some see it as a violation of rights, others see it as an invasion of privacy. What’s Your Opinion? How would you feel if someone was recording your every move while you were out with friends or at work?
In certain countries, there are laws that prevent people from flying drones in public areas. While some see it as a violation of privacy, others don’t see it as a big deal. Whatever your opinion is, how would you feel if someone was recording you with their drone?
Used Drone Parts Are Valuable – Second Paragraph: On average, drone parts are pretty cheap when you consider what they’re worth and what they can do for your machine. If something breaks on your machine and there’s no hope of repairing it or salvaging any parts to be used on another drone, then most retailers will just throw them away. However, drone parts aren’t just trash! They actually have quite a bit of value!
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