The drone industry only keeps flying higher. Drone sales grew 224% year-over-year, according to a report from The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service.
Within that period, the 2015 holiday season was a big winner for drones, as unit sales increased 445% from the prior holiday season.
Federal requirements that drone operators must register did nothing to hurt sales of drones, as drone sales doubled month over month between October and December 2015, according to The NPD Group’s report. Many drone operators initially resisted registration because they feared giving away personal information to a federal database and were opposed to the $5 registration fee. Since registration opened in December 2015, there are now nearly half a million drone users in the U.S., according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s database.
But for such a futuristic piece of technology, young people aren’t the ones buying drones. 90% of drone buyers are older than 31, according to a separate report from Colin Snow‘s Skylogic Research.
I had the honor of chatting with Drone Life in their latest series that profiles women in the drone industry.
When asked what aspect of the drone industry she finds most interesting, the Drone Girl answers with enthusiasm, and it’s easy to see how her passion for the industry has spread to her fans. “I don’t find any one thing most interesting – it’s all interesting!” she says. “I’m in love with the really creative applications of the drones – like DJI’s new program to save elephants by flying drones emitting bee noises in order to move them off of crops where they might be shot by farmers. I love those kind of stories…I’m always surprised by the technology.”
How did you find your passion for drones?
It found me! Seriously. I needed one more elective credit to graduate, and the only thing that fit in my schedule was a Monday afternoon “Drone Journalism” class. It was the first year of the class, so I didn’t know what it was, but I signed up and fell in love with it. After the class, I got my own drone and started writing about it.
What do you see next in the future of drones?
Sense and avoid technology is so important in making drone use in populated areas feasible. We won’t have urban drone delivery until drones can sense the moving world around them. What’s awesome is that one of the largest drone creators, DJI, just debuted a drone that has two sensors in front so it can see what’s ahead of it. The next iteration of drones will have more (and smarter) sensors, meaning a future of deliveries, search and rescue missions, building inspections, window washing and more is that much closer.
Drones have gained popularity worldwide over the last 24 months, with the industry expected to be worth approximately $5.6 billion by 2020, according to a Markets and Markets report. There will be a 32% annual growth, according to the report. Many industries are now looking at leveraging the technology, particularly the gaming sector eyeing the use of drones with the help of mobile devices.
The gaming industry expects plenty of new changes, as innovative platforms and technologies are being launched year-on-year. Apart from drones, we’ve seen how virtual reality (VR) has greatly influenced the sector. Mobile devices have also seen greatly affecting the gaming domain, as even games that were once only available in physical form are now available on digital formats. Board and card games now have apps, while machine games have been now into online games, such as Slingo that can now be accessed via mobile devices and on PCs. Smartphones and tablets have played an important role in drone gaming, too.
And in the drone sector, the world’s first smartphone-controlled gaming drone successfully reached its funding goal last year. Created by German company TobyRich, the Kickstarter project reached €102,003 (about $115,000) in funding due to 587 backers. The drone will be powered by a smartphone with gaming joysticks on the screen. Through its supported free Android or iOS app, gamers will be able to engage in single and multiplayer dogfights, air races and stunts no matter what the setting. It will be able to augment reality through actual camera feeds from the drone, giving users a host of games to tackle. Continue reading Drone Gaming: what to expect→
California is home to Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, and now — it appears — Silicon Sky. The state comes in No. 1 for having the most registered drones, both in the commercial and hobby space.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday released two databases of all registered commercial and hobby drones in the U.S., five months after announcing a rule that all owners of drones greater than 0.55 pounds need to register their aerial vehicles online with the government.
In the commercial drone space, Menlo Park, Calif. takes the cake for having the most registered drone users. Menlo Park, which has 176 registered drone users, is one of the cities that makes up Silicon Valley and is home to Facebook Inc. FB, +0.26% (which is working on drones of its own). It’s also home to startups such as drone delivery company Matternet and Skydio, which was founded by a team of researchers from MIT and Google’s drone team, and creates drones that are smart enough to react to and avoid obstacles like trees.
Other areas topping the list include Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, as well as Los Angeles and its neighboring city Burbank, where crews are increasingly using drones to shoot Hollywood films.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll once again be heading up one of my favorite events of the year — InterDrone’s second Women in Drones panel discussion and luncheon.
The International Drone Conference & Exposition will be held September 7-9 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.
I’ll join moderator Gretchen West, a Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells US LLP and former executive at Drone Deploy and AUVSI alongside panelists Lisa Ellman and Jennifer Richter.
“BZ Media and InterDrone are proud to have created this unique networking event allowing women to have an open discussion about both the challenges and opportunities in this growing but predominantly male industry. We are flattered that smaller niche UAV shows have copied the event and allowed this powerful gathering to occur at more than just our show,” said Katie Flash, Director of Conference Programs at BZ Media LLC.
InterDrone had 2,800 attendees in its first year and expects to host more than 4,000 this year along with 120 sessions and 135 exhibitors.
“In the year since the first Women in Drones Luncheon, the commercial drone industry has gained tremendous momentum — it’s one of the fastest growing sectors in technology. Women have been an early and integral part of paving the way for the commercial drone industry to succeed,” said Lisa Ellman, co-chair, UAS Group, Hogan Lovells and Co-founder, Women of Commercial Drones Group. “I’m so excited to be back with some of the most talented women in the space for this next Women in Drones Luncheon, and I am looking forward to meeting others who are getting into the industry and exploring drones’ transformative economic potential.”
I met the crew for the first time last year at the first ever International Drone Day, and it’s great to reunite at another drone event. Check out our discoveries on everything from the show floor to FAA announcements in the video here.
This video has been out for almost a year, and I can’t believe I’m just NOW seeing it!
This is legit the best video I’ve seen with a drone. Not to mention, you need to watch until the end because there is some SERIOUS girl power happening there.
The film was shot by Devin Graham, a well-known videographer who goes by Devin Supertramp on YouTube.
The video features Parrot drones, including the Parrot Bebop and Parrot Minidrones (click the links to read my reviews). Parrot is a French drone maker and the first to make a ready-to-fly drone — the AR.Drone back in 2010. It still remains the best-selling drone among drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds on average at major retailers Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy, according to JeeQ data.
The movie was filmed over 6 different nights in 6K with the Red Dragon, edited and exported out in Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud, according to a post on Graham’s YouTube page.
It’s fun, makes great use of drones and of course, is all about girl power. Watch it!