Gone are the days when quadcopters were nothing but expensive toys. Even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed restrictions, the future of drone development looks very bright. Hardware manufacturers like DJI are doing their best to present their new and old models worldwide. Drones are getting more advanced as companies continue to invest in technologies which allow for strong autonomous flights.

Drone technologies have mainly been used for entertainment, whereas their use for commercial purposes was limited. Lack of autonomy and brief flight time used to be some of the main drawbacks of drone technologies. Quadcopters depended on human piloting skills (at least, those for non-military use). Drones were not very successful at escaping barriers; they crashed against walls and cliffs, flew into electrical power lines, and so forth. Drone development is evolving very fast and is becoming the next big thing. Drone developers adopt new IT technologies such as big data management, machine learning, and advanced cameras. For example, DJI’s new Inspire 1 model has an advanced positioning system which is based on sonic waves and a camera. With the aid of the camera, the device can fly indoors where global positioning systems (GPS) are not available. Inspire 1 is able to do things like orient itself, stop, and maintain its position in the air.

Drone robots are becoming more like devices that resemble smartphones, which can be programmed to do basic activities like take off, landing, routing or filming, as well as specific activities such as face recognition, autonomously. Certainly, quadcopters, like smartphones, need more capable batteries to increase flight time, and thus, autonomy.

However, drones are ready to become a powerful market-driving tool. We are sure that new opportunities for business will open up as soon as quadcopters are outfitted with more powerful batteries with the capacity to increase the time of autonomous flight. We will not be surprised when they will be practically mandatory for every industry which depends on big data. Moreover, there is already a large list of commercial use scenarios for drone deployment. The most obvious use cases include agriculture, delivery, and search operations. Nevertheless, this list can easily be expanded to other industries, you just need to imagine how the combination of drone solutions and existing technologies will improve your industry.

It is also important to make quadcopters that provide businesses with relevant information. Businesses need apps that would analyze the collected data and make sense of the data in their specific context. For example, apps could automatically define the location and percentage of crops ready for harvesting, and, comparing this information with the weather forecast, suggest further actions. Hence, businesses need custom drone software solutions to make drones perform relevant tasks. Those solutions will provide operators with more options and will make drones eligible for multiple user scenarios.

Many startup companies are challenging themselves to make sense of the data drones collect from each flight. For example, the Washington D.C.-based startup Measure focuses on consulting services and intends to set up 324 drones in order to conduct how they will work together and receive data from the drone flights. These kinds of studies can be used to help companies achieve more relevance when they set up their own drone departments.

Summary: Businesses need drones that will operate autonomously. Custom drone apps will analyze and make sense of the data they collect. Therefore, as soon as we bring together context, big data management apps, and sensors, we can expect drone technology to boom.