There’s always existed a relationship between the latest tech and the newest startups. That’s because inspired groups or individuals are often the best positioned, and most agile to act on, and commercialise on the potential applications of open-ended tech.

We saw it with the smartphone and subsequent mobile apps – and we’re beginning to see it with emerging technologies such as AR and VR, drones, driverless vehicles and the sharing economy. 

Today, in the first of this series, we’re taking a decisively aerial view at how the business and startup community is seizing the potential in drone technology.

Eyes in the sky

The stable, aerial vantage point of on-board drone cameras has opened up a whole field of applications for fieldwork activities across different industries. Whole construction sites, swaths of land, river systems and buildings can now be seen and analysed in a single go, remotely and relatively cheaply.

Farming and agriculture has reaped the rewards – the need for careful attention to large plots of land has sprouted startups that use drones to survey the health of current crops across patches of land, and give farmers an eye in the sky to help plan their farms in a way that optimises nitrogen and water consumption.

Startups are using drones to construct 3D landscapes, improving the quality of maps and geographical data, and keep an eye on deforestation and poaching. Some organisations are even using drones to assist in search and rescue operations.

Drone-enabled image and data capture of this kind isn’t limited to the countryside or wilderness. In our cities and urban centres, real estate and construction companies are using drones to keep off-site tabs on projects – no hard hats required.

Distribution from above

The delivery of products by drone is becoming increasingly less farfetched, especially in large urban centres where populations are dense and traffic is gridlocked.

For consumers, drone delivery is still a bit of a novelty and largely uneconomical – but for other, less everyday circumstances the concept is taking off. There are startups out there using drones to delivery lifesaving medicine and first aid to people in hard-to-reach locations, such as mountaintops, deserts and natural disaster zones.

Sky’s the limit

From the everyday to the exciting, the applications for drone technology are countless and the startup community is definitely riding the commercial updraft of these fun devices.

Are you along for the ride?