2016 and the years preceding brought fleets of small, buzzing, un-manned aircraft to our skies. drones, love them or hate them, are undoubtedly an ever-present and only increasing trend within the technology field. although maybe most renowned for hobbyists and photographers wanting to capture birds-eye images and videos, these air vehicles are transitioning into a near everyday appliance that is set to become even more beneficial to our lives. in 2017, advancements will further push drone technology into other industries such as communication, transportation and infrastructure, so sit back and get set for take-off as we guide you through the key progressions of drone design for the following year.
amazon are testing their ‘primeair’ fleet in the UK
image courtesy of amazon
if amazon ‘primeair’ is anything to go by, the year of 2017 will be when commercial, delivery drones will be as commonplace as delivery trucks like DHL and UPS. gone are the days of pizza delivery men and postmen, drones that are guided by trained and licensed pilots will ensure that your items are distributed quickly, efficiently and safely. this will make an upward trajectory next year as we might see the start of other distributors follow in the steps of amazon, even to the point where your fresh groceries could arrive un-manned as soon as you get home from work.
once you order, items will be delivered to your location within 30 minutes
image courtesy of amazon
drone footage of milan, italy
video courtesy of uanof via dronestagram
the fusion of virtual reality and drone technology has long been in the making. sites such as dronestagram and travel by drone, enable enthusiasts to experience the bird-like voyages of these aircrafts through the goggles of VR. however, the advancements of drone design have reached the point where we can now propose to travel on these journeys ourselves. if there is one trend that we see really taking over in 2017 is the progression of full drone transportation rather than through VR. we aren’t talking about high-altitude and long distance flying – although airborne concept is planning the first transatlantic drone flight in 2017 – we are talking about inexpensive, low altitude, highly sensual aircraft travel.
the ‘drop N drone’
image courtesy of airborne concept
officially called ‘autonomous aerial vehicles’ (AAVs), 2017 will see passenger drones that are tablet-controlled take to our skies. the idea of this would free the polluted, busy centers of cities and enable us to specifically design a low altitude airspace infrastructure for drones. in doing so, we would create a safer and more efficient travel network, one of which would save ourselves an extraordinary amount of time during rush-hours as visualized by airbus’ ‘project vahana’ and ‘skyways’ concepts. the first AAV, the ehang ‘184’, is a safe, smart and eco-friendly aircraft that was a ground-breaking presentation at the CES 2016. it can be expected to see further developments of AAVs at the upcoming CES 2017 so start imaging yourself in one of those small quadcopters.
the EHANG 184 AAV
video courtesy of EHANG
visualizations of the airbus’ ‘project vahana’
image courtesy of airbus
argodesign’s drone ambulances quicken emergency reponses
image courtesy of argodesign
as the technology continues to advance, drones will not only start being used more as a transportation tool but will also become an everyday appliance. already, the un-manned aircraft are being extensively used for videography and photography, and are being introduced in the agriculture field i.e. as harvesters. however, 2017 will see drones spread their blades across many different industries. miniature ones will be sent on military scouts, everyday drones will be able to capture construction sites in 3D and relay the information to CAD software, and larger aircraft will start being used for emergency services such as search-and-rescue, firefighting and even as ambulances. furthermore, drones are exploring the possibility of measuring climate change through not just atmospheric means but also through water gauging, which would be an insightful progression in further understanding our planet.
the dive sequence of the aquatic micro aerial vehicle
image courtesy of the imperial college london
with an annual growth rate of 19% predicted until 2020, seeing drones whizzing in the skies above you will only become a more common sight. the advancements in its technology has seen them slowly hover away from hobbyists and niche users such as photographers. 2017 will be the year that drones will become even more widespread and integrated throughout many different industries. military, emergency services, construction, agriculture and commercial deliveries are all set and ready to embrace the huge benefits of drone technology. there is no doubt that these advancements will be on show at CES 2017, and who knows, when there we may also see how drones will progress further as transportation.