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Drones Now More than Just a Military Tool

Rise of the Drone

May 12, 2015 3:00 PM ET

by: Bryan Tropeano


It is rather unfortunate that the term Drone often brings to mind autonomous flying machines that are synonymous with surveillance, covert operations and ultimately combat.



In reality the term has moved on a long way from its original connotations.  The drone has now become a retail item with a vast array of possible functions and benefits to both consumers and businesses.


As mentioned, drones have become extremely popular in the retail market and are being produced at very competitive rates, enabling them to be purchased and used for all manner of functions including: aerial photography, surveying, mapping, security and many other forms. One of the biggest forms that many consumers are excited about is simply being able to fly a drone above their house and take pictures and video they were never able to imagine seeing (without chartering a private plane).  There is stiff competition among retail drones, with many vying to be the public’s favorite.


Parrot Drone


In addition to their retail use, drones are also being used in the commercial market for many different projects including: search and rescue, heard tracking, traffic monitoring, and other roles where aerial access and agility can play a major advantage to a business or commercial enterprise.


Beyond the current uses for drones there are also many areas in which drones have a great potential.  These areas are being closely watched by some of the largest tech companies as breakthrough areas to potentially jump on a new market and seize revenue streams.


One of the key areas where drones are expected to excel in the coming years is logistics, and in particular retail deliveries. Amazon, for example, is experimenting with the use of drones to make domestic deliveries. They currently have a project known as Amazon Prime Air which is dedicated to this effort.


The search and technology giant, Google, also has a similar project running that aims to facilitate the use of drones for home and commercial deliveries.


Currently there is a long way to go before we are likely to see drones delivering goods to our front (or even back) doors. One of the main barriers at the moment is the regulations required to control the use of Drones. Governments are being very cautious with the technology, and for understandable reason. However, companies such as Amazon are currently campaigning for laws and regulations to be put in place that would allow them to start using the drones in production.  This would most likely come with very strict guidelines and laws.


DHL Delivery Drone


As the manufacturing costs of drones come down and regulations and procedures are put in place for their safe transit, it is likely that their use will increase dramatically. In the next few years it is possible that a constant passing of drones overhead will be common place, being used for such things as home deliveries of goods ordered from all different mediums. With drones able to perform these deliveries autonomously and without any physical obstructions in their path we are likely to see delivery times for many items coming down from days to mere hours, making next day delivery the standard and same day delivery the premium priced option.


While their project is still in the experimental phase, Amazon is extremely well placed to launch the first wave of delivery drones. They already have the logistical infrastructure in place as well as the retail outlet in their online store. All they need now is the go ahead from government regulators and then they will have goods turning up at our doors courtesy of drones in no time.  So next time you place your order on Amazon, instead of the $3.99 one day shipping, imagine something along the tune of $5.99 one hour shipping.  We’d certainly love to see that.



Bryan Tropeano is a senior producer and a regular reporter for NewsWatch.  He lives in Washington D.C. and loves all things Tech.

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