If you observed the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last year, you will recall that the “drones in the sky” were an eye-popping display of current drone technology. However, entertainment uses are just a “drop in the bucket” related to the vast array of usages being proposed.
Many do not realize that drones have been around since World War I, when both the United States and France were working on automated, unmanned airplanes. Today from military applications to hobby interests, drones have spread across many industries world-wide. With drone costs declining and investments pouring into this promising industry, we thought it might be interesting to see exactly where this technology is headed. Drones have been deployed for many purposes, including:
- Aerial photography
- Express shipping and delivery
- Gathering information for disaster management
- Healthcare to remote communities
- Supplying essentials to unreachable locations
- Search and rescue operations
- Geographic mapping
- Safety inspections
- Crop monitoring
- Cargo transport
- Law enforcement and border control
Safety issues surrounding drones are, of course, a concern for regulators and law enforcement agencies. Technology is constantly evolving and it is anticipated that smart drones with built-in safeguards, compliance technologies, smart sensors and self-monitoring capabilities will be the next big steps in drone evolution. As technology evolves, drones will become safer and more dependable.
The future looks impressive and exciting. Imagine drone taxi service from airport to hotel! We realize that driver-less cars are already here, so it’s not hard to picture drone airbuses ferrying dozens of commuters to and from pickup and drop-off points. Dubai, a Middle Eastern metropolis aiming to become the world’s pre-eminent “smart City”, is already designing just such a drone-based air taxi. Talk about “going where no man has gone before” – this is a BOLD new opportunity. Drones are “flying robots” with a seemingly endless capacity to advance.
So why is this important to investors? The dominant technology economy is making it difficult to distinguish Growth Stocks from Tech Stocks in a globally diversified portfolio and your strategy needs to take this development into account.
Have a great weekend!
Source: Mike Consol, Here Come the Drones, Real Assets Advisor, March 2021, pp 42-44.