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The Nearing Future of Drones

The robotics and automation industry is rapidly emerging to be a key driver in the future growth strategies of global corporations. Drones are now at the forefront of our minds when it comes to technology. So where will drones be in five years?


The benefits of employing these technologies across the ‘core’ economic sectors of the global economy are growing daily and like the PC and iPhone will be profound. The final outcome will be a 3D digitised world in real-time. To get there will require the culmination of platform & supporting technologies marching in time with the regulations that will control their use.


In one sense, this industry is a close replay of the ICT experience of the 1970s, 80s & 90s. The lessons learnt over that 30 year period are now well studied and understood, but the business development cycle, as demonstrated by the current consumer drone uptake, is occurring far more rapidly. I suspect there will be many surprises when it comes to winners and losers.


For major players that consider global ‘core’ economic sectors such as agriculture, mining, security & logistic, and government services to be their bread & butter or future opportunity, getting the strategy wrong could prove an expensive and or a fatal game changer for them.


The rush to deploy capital into the global drone sector, particularly by Silicon Valley, is evidence of the drive towards securing the ‘high’ ground of this technology. In addition to the traditional aerospace companies such as Boeing and Airbus, the likes of Intel, Face Book and Amazon are investing heavily in what they believe will result in competitive advantage through a ‘disruptive’ technology.


On the flipside, I’m surprised that it took Alphabet this longer to realise that delivery of door to door products by drones “are a fantasy” (their words) for the foreseeable future. Alphabet’s decision to withdraw from the delivery idea should be taken seriously. I believe it will take allot more technology before a Uni student on a scooter can be cost-effectively replaced by a drone or robot pizza delivery system.


So where will drones be in five years? In short, you will see them over every mine & farm and used by every corporation and government agency that can use spatial information, but don’t expect your pizza to arrive by air just yet!


Mark is the CEO of V-TOL Aerospace (, an Australian corporation that designs, manufactures enterprise level commercial drones and is CASA approved for remote crew training and advanced day & night RPAS flight operations. V-TOL counts NGOs, Global corporations, ASX, Local, State & Federal Govt agencies amongst its list of customers.