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News & Notes

Commercial Drone Sales to Increase More Than 80 Percent in 2016

Sales to rise, but safety is still a concern

January 18, 2016

A new study from Juniper Research revealed that commercial UAV sales are expected to increase by 84 percent this year. Commercial drone sales reached $261 million in 2015 but are expected to reach $481 million in 2016, according to the study.

Low price points allow UAVs to be used in more fields including mapping, inspection and monitoring. High performance models can now be found for less than $3,000.

The strongest growth will be in the agricultural sector (up 48 percent), followed by film and television, according to the study. Drones help save time and costs compared to other methods, such as surveying fields on foot and filming via planes.

The research said that UAVs, specifically delivery drones, bring up privacy, safety, and security concerns. Dr. Windsor Holden, a research director at Juniper Research and co-author of the study, said regulators should only allow planned services such as Amazon Prime Air and Google’s Project Wing to deliver in isolated rural communities.

“Regulators are understandably concerned that the deployment of delivery drones in inner cities would significantly increase the risk of potentially fatal collisions with cars or even pedestrians,” Holden warned.

Companies are aware of this risk and are working on a sense and avoid technology that allows drones to avoid obstacles and collisions.

Another possible problem, according to the study, is that terrorists may be able to hack delivery drones to deliver explosives. Like most things in life, drones have the potential to be used for good and bad.

Go to Juniper Research for more on this study.
Featured image: Drew Halverson