Drone technological developments are also focused on flight endurance for expanded commercial applications, improved battery life/power, as well as more energy efficient machines. A 2018 article in Nature Communications concluded that drones like a DJI Phantom would generate less carbon emissions than a delivery truck — even one that’s electric — for short distances and deliveries of packages of under 1.1 pounds.
In his CES 2019 keynote, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said 5G will transform technology, including commercial drones. He introduced Mariah Scott, president of enterprise drone software developer Skyward, who noted Verizon’s commitment to be the first to connect one million drone flights on its 5G network. Verizon acquired Skyward in 2017.
Technology such as new imaging sensor integration including smaller, more lightweight LiDAR, and the entry of more aerial imaging, geofencing, computer vision, tracking and GIS data integration is expected this year. 2019 might just unleash a new era in transportation, delivery and safety.
Drones at CES 2019
- The Bell Nexus, a flying taxi captivated CES 2019 attendees. Bell is partnering with Uber Elevate to use the Nexus for its flying taxi service Uber Air, scheduled to launch in Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles, starting by 2023. Nexus weighs 6,500 pounds and has a range of 150 miles, with speeds reaching up to 150 mph. This full-scaled, six-rotor vehicle can take off and land vertically and uses hybrid-electric propulsion to power efficient air travel. Bell says the craft will initially be piloted, but like a self-driving automobile, may eventually operate by itself.
- DJI announced AirSense, a feature in the DJI Pilot application that displays warnings to its Mavic 2 Enterprise or Matrice 200 Series pilots when a signal from a nearby airplane or helicopter is detected. FLIR and DJI also announced a new partnership. The Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual is equipped with the smallest, dual-sensor, 4k and thermal micro-camera from FLIR. DJI also introduced a powerful, smart remote controller with built-in full HD resolution monitor, compatible with its newest imaging drones: the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro.
- Sunflower Labs Home Security Drone is a home security system that includes an autonomous camera drone called Bee. Sunflower sensors learn your property’s routine and alert the user to any unusual activity. If the security system detects something amiss, it sends Bee to the scene to capture precisely what’s happening. Bee then returns to its Hive — the self-charging, weatherproof home for the drone.
- The PowerVision Marine Drone is a new lifestyle robot for water sports, photography and fishing and can help scientists explore marine life. Equipped with an intelligent sonar device and GPS waypoint function, drawing underwater topographic maps is a first in the marine drone industry.