No matter which reports you check out, the commercial drone industry is expected to be worth billions of dollars in a matter of years. And with applications ranging from precision agriculture to inspection and maintenance services, it's easy to see why.
But, as we've touched on in the past, the potential, and to an extent the necessity of commercial software, far outweighs hardware possibilities. Plenty of progress has already been made in this space, but there are five areas where further software innovation can be expected...
Smarter drones are needed
This may sound simplistic, but making drones smarter is in the interests of both the consumer and commercial sectors. By smarter drones we mean refining the software that controls them, whether that's perfecting the art of obstacle avoidance, or devising effective geo-fencing techniques.
Development in this area is vital for the commercial drone industry for two reasons. Firstly, it goes without saying that smarter, more efficient, less accident-prone drones are going to be a whole lot more cost effective than the current generation.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, smarter drones means less accidents, which means less negative press and bad publicity. The only thing that is going to ease restrictive commercial drone legislation is trust. For that, we need proof that drones are safe around people, and evidence that they can be trusted to carry out tasks without incident. Without smarter drone software, the industry will struggle to take off and reach its potential.
Introducing drones to the Internet of Things
This is perhaps another way that drones need to become smarter. But still, it warrants its own heading. If drones are to fit seamlessly and efficiently into existing systems, in agriculture, delivery or even inspection and maintenance, they need to be able to communicate easily with existing devices. This is a big challenge, whether it's continuing to develop smart software that can act as the middle man between user and drone, or developing more complex autonomous systems that can work without supervision.