When we were starting out, we remember a couple of people asking us why are we getting into this business.
“Drones are simply for unique photographs from the air, nothing else. And besides, you can buy it everywhere.”
That’s when we thought that drones are put into this generalized concept of photography and videography and amusement. There has been a huge production of drones for the past few years for children and people that are a child at heart to satiate their curiosity of flying things. Well, it is cheaper than a chopper.
What is a Drone?
Would you believe that this is a photo of a drone? This was taken in 1918 during the World War I and it’s called the Kettering Bug. We can go as far back as 1849 with the Austrian Balloons but that’s too much of a throwback for now.
Kettering Bug, 1918
Austrian Ballons, circa 1849
The Kettering bug, in its simplest terms, is a flying bomb. Compared to the drones we know of today, this beast was made out of paper mâché. These models were launched either via catapult or radio control. However, the Kettering Bug did not have much flight time as the war fizzled out before it was developed even more.
A drone is an unmanned aircraft and they are formally known as UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. They can be controlled remotely or automatically using embedded flight plans in their systems.
Through the years, drones have been widely associated with military activity (Thanks to the Kettering Bug) and until now, you would hear news pieces saying that a drone was found underwater or near the borders of a remote place. Most of these would be military-owned but interestingly, just like in our last blog post, some are privately owned by people who flew their toys too far and too near prominent establishments.
From Military Technology to People’s Eyes in the Sky
Through the years, drones have continually been used and relied upon by military bases around the world. In fact, their use has evolved from flying bombs to surveillance equipment. Have you seen the movie Pearl Harbor? There was a particular scene there with the Japanese discussing how the ships were grouped together in Pearl Harbor, making them an easy target for the attack. Without that type of aerial surveillance, it would have been a huge military effort trying to guess where to pinpoint the attack.
Aerial view of the ships in Pearl Harbor, 1941
Drones like the Lightning Bug 147SC were developed in 1963 to be part of the surveillance efforts of the United States. It covers a top speed of 587mph! This model was further developed to what we have today which is the MQ-9 Reaper, a bit slower but has a wider range allowing it to be effortlessly controlled remotely.
The Rise of Commercial Drones
Look at your DJI Phantom or Mavic or whatever remote-controlled drone you have now. Place them in your hands. Would you have believed that it’s history was to destroy? Quite alarming for such a small thing. Not really just for unique photographs and amazing videography, eh?
But before you start developing hate for your toy, listen up. If you have been updated with drone news, you can pretty much see how drones are actually helping in many industries today. This all started with a man called Jeff Bezos. Jeff is the CEO of Amazon and in 2013, he announced that they were testing drones for delivery services. This shook the commercial industry. After all, we need to have a much better purpose for being eyes in the sky, right?
A year before that, a man named Chris Anderson, who was then the Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, had dedicated his retirement years to his company, 3D Robotics. The company in 2012 was focused on commercializing drone usage and now, they are offering advanced drone services that Skystance can offer you too especially here in Dubai.
When Jeff Bezos announced his initiative for delivery drones in 2013, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) was strictly monitoring the usage of drones. In fact, there were only 2 permits released in 2014 for drone use. After the rise of drone services from this initiative, drone permits rose to 1000 in 2015 and 3100 in 2016.
Huge companies have also started to invest in leading drones companies with market shares amounting to millions, the largest being Accel Partners’ investment on DJI amounting to $75 million.
The ROI for many companies investing in drone services has observed an exponential growth throughout the years and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Notable sectors in agriculture, construction, surveying, real estate, law enforcement, security and even wildlife preservation have turned to drone services for faster and more convenient methods as compared to traditional services.
Curious to know what drones can do for your industry? Stay tuned for the next blog post as we will highlight the notable advantages that drone services can provide. See you next week!