Drone usage expected to grow dramatically

The head of a leading commercial drone software company says simpler regulations and the affordability of drones will make them much more common place in the next few years.

DroneDeploy CEO Mike Winn tells Brownfield their Commercial Drone Industry Trends Report is finding almost 84 percent of all drone mapping is occurring with drones that cost $1,500 or less.  “What we’re seeing is that farmers are not just using drones once or twice a season, but going as far as creating maps every week.”  Winn says since the Federal Aviation Administration made it easier to become a commercial drone operator last August, 29,000 new operators have been registered.

He says farmers are able to reduce inputs with drone technology which is resulting at least a $15 savings per acre. Winn says drone technology in the long-term will have real-time applications reducing pest and disease outbreaks.  “You can imagine a drone being flown with DroneDeploy, collecting data on what’s happening in the field, identifying a problem autonomously, and transferring some data to a second drone which could actually go and spray a pesticide.”

Winn says drone users can currently expect a drone to last about two years as the technology is advancing at similar speeds as cell phones.

The trends report estimates drone mapping has contributed to $150 million in economic value over 10 million acres mapped.

AUDIO: Interview with Mike Winn

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