As 2016 draws to a close, we are presenting our opinion on the biggest drone stories of 2016. Please leave your opinions and comments below the article:
FAA Part 107 and Ramifications for prosumer and light commercial space.
News: FAA moved on both registration…and then commercial use of small uAS (sUAS – also called Drones or Small Unmanned Aerial Systems).
Why we Care: This opens up the door to more uses of “drones for good” and assures that the industry won’t be left in limbo.
Link or Links – Here is our short piece explaining FAA Part 107
Total or Partial Failures in the Industry
News: Total or Partial Failures of most Drone industry would-be competitors – 3D Robotics and GoPro are the most well known, but a number of other efforts have failed completely or largely.
Why we Care: An industry saying goes like this “Drone are Hard” – and this has been proven over and over again by the failure of other companies to deliver successful consumer products. While it would be great to have more competition in the drone industry, most of these failures were due to lack of understanding what is involved. It’s safe to say the Next Big Thing in Drones is not going to come out of Kickstarter or a garage. Large amounts of talent, capital and a long term plan is needed to succeed in this endeavor.
Industry Leader DJI Continues to Dominate
DJI continues to, in many ways, completely dominate the sUAS Industry with introductions of Computer Vision, Portability (Mavic Pro) and many other new products. The Mavic Pro quickly became the best selling camera drone ever with an estimated order book of 1/2 million units in the first 60 days.
Why We Care: DJI remains much of the reason that the consumer and light commercial market is moving forward. They have consistently been a year or two ahead of the rest of the manufacturers in terms of producing finished products suitable for the mass market. While this is great for consumers – who get to “fly the future”, it is difficult for other companies to enter the drone market. DJI, in effect, is sucking all the air out of the room.
Link or Links: Here is our story about how and why DJI dominates the Aerial Robotics market.
To a Lesser Extent, but still Newsworthy
- Small Agricultural Spraying Drones
- Drone shots become ubiquitous in movies, TV and Streaming.
- “Drones for Good” news starting to resonate with the public
- Continued failure of most crowdsourced models
- FPV and Drone Racing has gained some traction
Industry Insider News
- Fake, fraudulent and over-the-top marketing still pervade the industry – from the creation of “shill” or “troll” (positive or negative) web sites to the “pay to play” schemes, you can be fairly certain that a large percentage of ratings and reviews are more “marketing” than substance.
- Excessive amount of trade shows, conferences and other instances of the same people talking to each other.
- CES becomes somewhat futile as the Internet and other communication creates a 24/7/365 instant product introduction platform.
We are still at Day One – the industry is maturing – sales growth in the consumer sector will likely slow and it will take truly new features or models to make the sale to the consumer segment. Meanwhile, things are moving ahead in the commercial and industrial sectors as evidenced by Disney’s use for their nightly shows, expanded Ag use and the normalization of aerial photography and inspection in the construction and real estate industries.