Fresh from our attendance at the UK Drone Show, we’re eager to share with you our insights and predictions for 2016.

Let’s get straight to them.

1. DJI Watch Out: Mainstream Manufacturers Will Soon Join the Party

You may have noticed something about the consumer drones industry to date - the popular manufacturers all seem to be new or obscure. We’re referring to the likes of Hubsan, Parrot and Yuneec.

Did you know these brands before they started selling drones?

It’s unlikely.

But, with consumer drone revenue expected to exceed $2 billion in 2016, mainstream manufacturers now want a piece of the action.

Already GoPro has announced they will release their own drone in early 2016. It’s possible we’ll also see consumer drones from Samsung and Sony. And the one that could really surprise: An Apple iDrone. It’s certainly a possibility.

Chinese manufacturer DJI is likely to stay ahead of the pack in 2016, but expect the big boys to play a rapid game of catch up.

2. You May Not Want It, but Compulsory Drone Registration Is Coming

3689673692?profile=originalLet’s be honest, concerns over safety and privacy have held back the consumer drone market so far.

However, this is about to change.

We predict that aviation authorities around the world will begin mandating drone registration and pilot licensing in 2016.

Like you, we initially thought:

What the hell?

Why do I need to register my hobby drone?

And why on earth would I need a licence to fly it?!

It’s an understandable reaction, but remember that aviation rules are not set by hobby drone pilots.

It’s not all bad news though. We firmly believe that safer drone flights will help the industry grow. And licensed hobby pilots may later decide to move into the professional realm.

3. Autonomous Drones Will Help You Capture the Perfect Shot

3689673629?profile=originalAnyone who has tried flying a drone for the first time swiftly discovers that it’s far from easy.

You’re VERY likely to crash and smash your drone on its maiden flight.

We see the autonomous operation of drones as the future.

Here’s a few reasons why:

Firstly, it’s a lot safer to allow the drone to fly itself (via a preprogrammed route if done correctly). Autonomous drone obstacle avoidance systems are on the way with preprogrammed no fly zones built in for restricted areas.

Furthermore, capturing exceptional aerial videography is tricky when you have to pilot the drone at the same time. An autonomous drone will let you program the flight path - allowing you to have complete control of the camera at all times.

Lastly, autonomous drones like the 3DR Solo can be programmed to follow you filming during your outdoor pursuits such as climbing, cycling, running and creating the most incredible selfies.

These are some of our high-level thoughts on the future of consumer drones.

Let us know what you think?




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  • Having attended the Drone Show on Saturday 5trh December, I can only come up with one criticism. Why were the different exhibitors not giving live demonstrations of their wares ? I have been a builder of various machines and devices over the years and still enjoy the chance to see good ideas in action. When I see that it works I'm more likely to spend my hard earned on it, and not rely on the technical specifications offered.

    Coming back to the show I would like to thank all of the exhibitors for their time and efforts to make it so worthwhile even when it meant a round trip of 400 miles for me. Look forward to the next one.


  • Moderator

    I think the market is maturing in Europe, other parts of the world not so much.

  • @peter
    Thank you for your first hand impressions.
  • The interesting aspect for me, at the show, was that most of the regulatory authorities in the UK were present, had stands and gave well attended presentations including the CAA, OfCom, NATS, together with ARPAS, BMFA and training and licensing companies. The insurance industry was represented as well. 

    My feeling about the state of the industry is that it is beginning to mature with three distinct sectors: toy, serious amateur and professional. There are new entrants, but Hubsan and Parrot have been around for some time now.  

    Whilst autonomous operation may be the future I believe it will not lead to safer drone operations - safety is largely determined by the knowledge and attitude of the operator. 

    I was surprised at the build quality of some of the so called professional drones - 3.5mm bullet connectors everywhere and limited use of locking connectors. 

    I wonder how many, who bought a drone in the past two years, use them very frequently.

    It was great to meet the 3DR representatives at the show - thank you for coming. For many who attended the drone racing  was the highlight.

    I was disappointed not to see any fixed wing drones only 'copters.  


  • Love hearing about the new technology that is coming out however I believe that the emphasis at shows like this should drift away from cheap-as-chips consumer drones to higher quality platforms that are safer and last longer (and that will survive coming regulations).

    Drones are not "flying smart-phones" they are very capable unmanned aircraft each one with potential to do untold damage in the wrong hands and unfortunately I am seeing more and more people who should not be flying them.

    Of course the driving factor here is profit - I would love to see higher quality components and safer technology.

  • UK Drone Show (The NEC Birmingham)
    Saturday 05 December 2015 - Sunday 06 December 2015

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