Updated: Feb 24
Although unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were originally developed for military, the civilian versions emerged over the past decade have created a thriving new industry. Commercial UAVs are widely used for jobs ranging from inspecting power lines, buildings, and crops, to aerial photography, transporting medical supplies and even delivering pizzas. According to a German research firm, the value of this market is expected to exceed $42bn by 2025 from $23bn in 2020. A gradual relaxation of regulations may accelerate this growth. For example, American Robotics became the first operator approved by America’s Federal Aviation Administration to fly automated UAVs at specific sites without any pilots or observers being present in January. Its drones help to survey farmland in rural areas. The company also develops products for buildings and other infrastructures. Similarly in Britain, the Civil Aviation Authority authorised a firm called ‘sees.ai’ to carry out routine flights in April. In China, Antwork Technology received the first licence granted by the Civil Aviation Administration for urban UAV trials in 2019, and their products are used to deliver groceries and blood samples during pandemic. There are more inspiring cases in Europe and America, which brings more exciting potential for the industry.