Lots of good analysis and interviews with drone industry companies (including us) in this new 52-page report from RocketSpace and AT&T Foundry. Read it all here.
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Prediction number 3 doesn't appear to be very bold at all.
11) Drones will fly close to the ground, with the same safety as birds and insects. Near-ground operations is the next frontier for autonomy, and people are realizing that all the motion capture system work has contributed nothing to this (though very few will admit it), but the technology is advancing and will get there. Two factors will cause this. One will be advances in autonomy technology, allowing obstacles to be detected and wind currents to be mitigated. (Shameless plug- I would like to think my work is helping to make this happen- videos are coming...) The other will be changes in the platform itself that minimized any danger resulting from collisions. I am thinking of the use of lighter and more compliant materials as well as the use of structures like guards and cages.
12) The median drone size will be less than 10cm. I think the size of drones we have seen here, say Solo sized or DJI phantom sized, will continue to proliferate. There will continue to be millions of them. But if you look at other industries (e.g. computers) and natural life (e.g. flying creatures) what you see is that the smaller you get, the more of them you see. There are more crows than eagles, more swallows than crows, and more insects than swallows. And tiny drones have all sort of advantages over larger drones that would make them the preferred platform, once the basic issues of autonomy are worked out. There will be billions.
13) My snarky prediction, saved for unlucky 13: The next major breakthrough in battery technology will continue to be 2 years away. In the 90's we were promised miracle breakthroughs in battery technology. Same thing in the 2000s and in the past few years. I suspect in 2020 we will still hear that a breakthrough is coming in 2023. Battery technology will incrementally improve, but not much better than incrementally, and certainly not in an exponential manner like Moore's Law.
Er are most of these things not already in place?? 1-8 happen daily so not much of a prediction!
It seems they missed projection #11:
"11) Immature and prohibitive regulation laws will diminish evolution of drone industry for decades."
IMHO it is most important one.
It will be interesting to see when and which of these come to fruition.
One of them will be quite soon as my company intelliSky is about to release our solution for this problem in the next 6 months or so.