Audiences around the globe enjoyed all the action of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games thanks in large part to the drones hovering above the events (or below them), capturing every movement, from every angle. Athletes and spectators didn’t give a second thought to the presence of these drones — which shows how rapidly they’ve become commonplace. Indeed, drones can be found in almost every industry.
Not just for military or recreational use any more
For years, the military has used drones, which they refer to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Systems (UAV/UAS), to get a birds-eye view of complex operational missions and perform intelligence gathering. And recreational use of drones has soared, as individuals use them to take aerial photographs, explore, race, etc. (In January 2016, only 30 days after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a new rule that required drones to be registered, hobbyists had registered more than 181,000 drones).
More recently, however, drones have come onto the radar of commercial enterprises and public sector agencies as a way to help them tap into new opportunities, improve services, increase visibility and cut costs.
The media and entertainment, mining, oil and gas, retail, construction, agriculture and real estate industries, among others, have already successfully put drones to work for them. City and state governments, first responders, educational and environmental agencies, etc., also have started identifying ways to use drones to enhance their capabilities and efficiencies. As a result of the many potential applications, the Association for UAS International estimates drones could create 100,000 jobs and generate $82 billion in economic activity over the next 10 years.
Israel: The powerhouse of innovation
Given Israel’s pioneering work with military drone technology, it is no surprise the country is the biggest military drone exporter in the world, supplying almost 61 percent of the drones sold since 1985. Commercial drones are a natural extension of Israel’s strong defense and aerospace industries, which are led by global visionaries such as Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, Rafael and Aeronautics.
Israeli aviation, robotics, autonomous systems and computer vision experts have been taking their military experience and translating it into commercial applications that companies, such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and DJI are implementing to the benefit of the overall civilian drone industry.
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