Love drones? Your passion may be honest, but for most Americans, drones are pretty overhyped.
First Round Capital surveyed 869 tech entrepreneurs to get their opinions on how overhyped or underhyped each tech sector is. Drones come in at No. 4 as the most overhyped tech sector according to the report, which was then put into graphic form by Visual Capitalist.
53.7% of entrepreneurs say drones are overhyped, vs. just 12.1% who think they are underhyped. Drones come in behind virtual reality (64.7% overhyped), wearables (63.6%) and chat bots (61.4%) on the overhyped ranking.
Drones certainly have a myriad of useful applications that safe time, money and even lives. They brought cell service to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, they are researching oceans, and high school students are exploring how they can be used to fly life rafts out to drowning victims. They are protecting animals from poaching and can perform otherwise expensive infrastructure inspections for a fraction of the cost. But it’s also hard to disagree that drones haven’t fallen prey to at least some hype.
Much of the hype — and lack of follow-through — has come out of the drone delivery industry.
You’ve read the big, media-friendly announcements of dozens of delivery “firsts” including the first-ship-to-shore drone delivery, the first FAA-approved drone delivery to a customer’s home, the first urban drone delivery. All of those were made by a company called Flirtey, which also announced a partnership with Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited to create the first-ever drone pizza delivery service. The thing is, it could only deliver to buildings within 1 mile of a single store in Whangaparaoa, New Zealand. More than six months after the announcement, it had made four deliveries since the original launch, according to a Domino’s spokesman. You can hardly call that a drone delivery service.
Whether drones are overhyped is up to you.