Tech Talk: Are Drones in Your Business Future?
The oddest use of a drone may have occurred in 2016. At a Russian Middle Ages festival (yes, you read that right), one participant took aim at a drone recording one of the festival’s mock battles. The result was an internet viral video, a rune stone, and a greater awareness of the versatility of robotic technology in our modern world.
What does that have to do with your business future?
The sale of commercial and civilian drones is on the rise. Their uses are increasingly creative, to the point where businesses are taking them on as pseudo delivery machines set to replace human delivery drivers.
The History of Flying Robots in Business
Drones have been in operation for many years now. It wasn’t until 2013 that they were considered viable additions to everyday business. Jeff Bezos first posed the idea that Amazon could utilize these machines to deliver packages.
The idea wasn’t so implausible, although it raised significant concerns in already-mistreated Amazon employees. Replacing human employees would mean fewer costs for Amazon to worry about, greater global reach, and technological innovation that would push drone creation to new heights.
Drones in the Modern Moment
That initial proposal from Bezos launched imitators and innovation. Nowadays, Google, Walmart, Alibaba, and Facebook are all leading the charge along with Amazon toward a drone-oriented future. Prime Air, for example, is a drone project driving 80 to 90 percent of Amazon’s shipments skyward. Facebook, too, wants to utilize drones to deliver internet access to regions in the world that may not have it otherwise.
So, what are we looking at? For one, we’re looking at new developments in e-commerce based upon improved delivery. Secondly, we’re looking at the rise of a new industry. Today, if a business doesn’t own drones of its own, it can rent them from third-party or B2B businesses.
Obstacles to Development
That doesn’t mean the road to a drone-heavy future is set in stone. The production, sale, and use of these machines are all currently regulated by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. This administration is still learning how to effectively manage airspace, even as different administrations are using drones on military missions overseas.
Current concerns include but are not limited to:
- How low and how high are drones allowed to fly when affiliated with a business?
- What areas should be considered “no-fly” zones?
- How can we avoid mid-air collisions, especially once large numbers come into play?
- What does a drone airbase look like?
- Should drones have a weight limit on delivery items?
Not only that, but a number of employees are concerned that drones will take their jobs. Delivery jobs, in particular, seem to be at risk. If delivery truck-driving jobs disappear, would other career paths arise to replace them? The future of technology and the middle class is a hot topic for current debate.
So, will your business use a drone in the future? Maybe, especially if you operate your business through a third-party seller. These sorts of developments, however, seem to be 5-10 years in the making—so, for now, you’ve got time to think.
Image attribution: shock – stock.adobe.com