Barely a day goes by without drones being in the news for one reason or another. Every so often those stories are negative in nature: Pilots flying where they shouldn't, that kind of thing. But the vast majority feature interesting applications that are changing the way we do business.
Here are a few industries benefiting from adopting drone technology.
Construction companies are using drones to carry out a range of tasks: mapping out sites to help with project planning, providing an aerial view of progress as builds move forward, and inspecting infrastructure along the way.
Drones are performing construction tasks faster, for less and with more efficiency. And in some cases they are preventing humans from being put at risk.
In a competitive real estate market, first impressions are important. Listings need to stand out from the crowd and premium properties have to come with premium marketing material.
Drones give agents a way to capture real estate in a memorable way from a unique perspective, highlighting key features in a manner that wouldn't be possible from the ground.
With a few simple shots, a skilled pilot can bring a real estate listing to life.
Alongside commercial use cases in traditional industries, drones have started to capture the imagination of the public in ways that could prove to be lucrative.
These include the setup of professional drone racing organizations, such as DRL, which have won multi-million dollar sponsorship deals and taken drone racing worldwide with international fixtures.
We've also seen the rise of drone light shows, largely from tech giant Intel. These aerial displays feature hundreds of LED-carrying drones, flying in sync and creating dazzling performances that many think will replace fireworks in the long run.
Police, firefighters, ambulance crews and search and rescue teams around the world are all beginning to adopt drone technology.
Police are using drones to gather intel, provide situational awareness, monitor traffic violations and more. Firefighters are combining optical imaging with thermal cameras to better understand blazes and spot signs of life during rescue efforts. Several companies are using drones to deliver medical supplies and even emergency equipment, such as defibrillators.
Search and rescue teams worldwide are looking to drones to cover more ground during missions and relying on high definition video streams and thermal cameras to locate people in danger.
Whether dropping an inflatable to struggling swimmers in Australia or aiding the rescue of stranded mountaineers in Iceland, many of these applications have a few things in common.
First, they rely on a drone's mobility to cover ground quickly. Second, they help to ensure that first responders aren't themselves put at risk in dangerous environments. And third, they provide an eye in the sky that saves lives through the use of aerial imagery.
Researchers around the world are finding uses for drone technology, too.
Mostly these involve gathering data in ways that would be dangerous, costly or impossible without the help of a drone.
Examples include mapping out rainforests to keep track of deforestation, mapping out wetlands to monitor mosquito movements and help prevent the spread of malaria, and using drones as a countermeasure against illegal poaching.
In some cases, drones are having a more direct role: Ocean Alliance uses them to fly above whales and collect biological samples from the animals' blow; UK conservation group The Plastic Tide is combining drones with AI to measure and document the amount of plastic waste on beaches.
These are just a handful of examples outlining who is using drones and why. If you want to start your own journey in the industry, check out our pilots' page today.