Analysts at IDTechEx recently reported that the starting point for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is rarely military or law enforcement. Rather, it lies at the other extreme – with DIY hobbyists and Makers.
“As the sophisticated sensor systems in mobile phones migrate to hobbyists’ microcontroller boards, such as [Atmel-based] Arduino boards used in their homemade quadcopters, their uses rapidly widen,” an IDTechEx explained.
“Professional quadcopters will also profit from the fact that over one million Arduino boards have been sold in a very short time to quadcopter hobbyists and the designers of wearable technology and Internet of Things (IoT) nodes.”
According to the analyst, equivalent boards sold directly out of China are also getting useful volume headed towards billions each year for IoT, driving down quadcopter costs.
“The last six months has seen many new applications for pure-electric quadcopters. [For example], Amazon proposed delivery of mail by quadcopter, others will use them for aircraft inspection, even indoors and yet others have new agricultural uses,” the analyst continued.
“[Meanwhile], easyJet, one of UK’s largest airlines, works with the Bristol Robotics Laboratory to make variants that inspect its 220 airliners. These quadcopters will be programmed to scan and assess easyJet’s planes, reporting back to engineers on any damage which may require further inspection or maintenance work.”
Last, but certainly not least, the analyst noted that professional quadcopters cost many times the price of toy versions – so they may one day become the bigger market and certainly the most profitable and many will form part of the Internet of Things.
“Advanced military capabilities such as intelligent swarming of small electric craft will also migrate to the civilian sector,” the rep added.