RocketDNA’s 2024 Drone Industry Outlook

We like the fact that – despite the company’s heavy focus on serving industry skewed towards drone applications in remote sensing – RocketDNA actually has an eye out for the commercial drone industry as a whole and are routing for its successes.

Perhaps they are looking to expand into other industrial services in the future?

That is just us speculating. But for now, RocketDNA are doing well providing drone-based services for industries that include mining, agriculture, construction and security, in South Africa, Ghana, Zambia and Australia; among other locations.

For their latest blog, however – the original which can be found here – the company has decided to offer its 2024 outlook for the commercial drone industry as a whole. Which means you will find what their experts think of the inroads that Wing is making in Texas, USA; the journey that EHang is taking to the top of the passenger drone food chain, well as the prospects of drone technology in emergency response.

We hope you find their insights useful.

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, there are several advancements which are set to change the drone space in 2024.

Drones are set to become an integral part of everyday life, with AI playing a crucial role in drone automation, enabling the drones to navigate complex environments with ease.

From drone deliveries, flying robot first responders and flying taxi’s, these are the top technology trends likely to shape this space in 2024. 

Drone Deliveries go mainstream in Suburbs

Walmart has recently announced that it will be expanding it’s drone delivery programme to cover 75 percent of northern Texas in the US, delivering meals, prescriptions and household items within 30 minutes or less.

For those of us who have had our 3kg Woolies home order delivered by a five-ton truck, this advancement is clear – electric drones in the sky mean less emissions and fewer noisy trucks in our cities.

AI-Powered Drones to improve Crop Monitoring & Precision Spraying

The worldwide launch of DJI’s largest agricultural spraying drone is expected in 2024, with current flights in China and a market expansion into North America soon. The Agras T50 can carry up to 40 litres of liquid or 50kgs of granular payload and has a battery life of up to fifteen minutes.

(Editor’s Note: A bit more about the DJI Agras T50: are convinced it is the sexiest agricultural drone beast we have ever laid eyes on.

Go on, change our minds.

Launched in China in 2022 alongside the Agras T25 agricultural drone, the T50 was comprehensively upgraded and optimised for application scenarios such as fertilizer spreading and fruit tree spraying.

It has a coaxial twin-rotor design, supports the spreading of 50kg payloads, can spray 1.5 tons of fertiliser in one hour, and supports spraying 40 kg load.

The T50 is also equipped with a dual atomising spraying system, which provides a maximum of 100 percent higher spreading flow compared to its predecessor (the Agras T40), with two nozzles spraying 16 litres per minute and four nozzles up to 24 litres per minute.

At the same time, the T50 is equipped with a new solenoid valve, which can start and stop accurately, to effectively prevent the leakage of liquid chemical sprays.

Not only that, the T50 has been upgraded to two sets of active phased array radars and two sets of binocular vision, which can accurately perceive the terrain and depict the details of obstacles, so as to achieve intelligent and safe detour and automatic terracing operations with large slopes.

In addition, the agricultural drone is equipped with a DB1560 intelligent flight battery with a capacity of up to 30Ah and 1,500 internal cycles. The D12000iEP all-round inverter charging station continues the EFI technology, which saves fifteen percent of fuel and improves fuel economy.

With an air-cooled radiator, the charging station can achieve ultra-fast charging in nine minutes.)

As the climate continues to warm and impacts farming across the world, food security issues are growing. From severe droughts to devastating floods, weather is challenging every aspect of food growth.

Precision agriculture is one of the few ways to overcome some of these challenges and involves highly calculated decisions to ensure the most productive and efficient growth of crops.

Drones are becoming more and more critical to this system with various applications from precision spraying, water and weed analysis, crop counting and even harvesting.

Flying Robot First Responders

Flying robots are coming to town, and they could even be first responders. A flying firefighting robot – dubbed the “Dragon Firefighter” – has been developed by a team of Japanese researchers and uses jets of water to hover above the ground. The robot is connected to a fire truck and can move forward over the flames ahead of human firefighters.

With extreme weather causing super firesand floods across the world, the need to develop technology to assist in these events is crucial. First responders are facing unprecedented conditions; robots and drones on the front lines are needed not only to save those affected, but to give our emergency heroes a chance to come home.

Autonomous Drone Taxi’s to finally take flight

Following the airworthiness approval of the Chinese-based Ehang air taxi in late 2023, Australian-based air mobility company Horizon Aircraft has just received a $250million dollar order from Indian Aviation company JetSetGo for 50 of its new 7-person eVTOL units.

While regulatory approvals in locations outside China could vary, all roads seem to lead to new pathways in the sky. Cutting travel time and removing cars from highly congested roads could mean shorter commute times, quicker emergency response and looking down on the world below next time you order an Uber.

More Competition is going to deliver more options

With the creation of the BlueUAS list in 2023, countries are beginning to double-down on their own drone manufacturing capabilities. This doesn’t mean that DJI will take it lying down, but rather advancing new drones and sensors at a higher pace.

We have already seen the evolution of drone box technology develop within the last few months alone, with newer, smaller and sleeker versions of these autonomous systems due in early 2024, including the arrival of the DJI Dock 2.

Drone technology has always developed at a rapid pace, but for the first time in many years the adoption rates of practical use cases are matching, if not exceeding this. And as the world continues to face more challenges, putting more lives at risk through armed conflict, food insecurity and climate risks, this technology is set to have its biggest year yet.

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