Drones & AI: Our Top 5 predictions for 2024
As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, there are several advancements which are set to change the drone space in 2024. Drones will become an integral part of everyday life, with AI playing a crucial role in drone automation, enabling them to navigate complex environments with ease.
From drone deliveries, flying robot first responders and flying taxi’s, these are the top technology trends likely to shape this space in 2024:
1. Drone Deliveries go mainstream in Suburbs
Walmart has recently announced that it will be expanding it's drone delivery programme to cover 75% of northern Texas, delivering meals, prescriptions and household items within 30 minutes or less.
For those of us who have had our 3kgWoolies home order delivered by a 5-ton truck, this advancement is clear -electric drones in the sky mean less emissions and fewer noisy trucks in our cities.
2. AI-Powered Drones to improve Crop Monitoring & Precision Spraying
The launch of DJI’s largest agricultural spraying drone is expected in 2024, with current flights in China and a market expansion into North America soon. The Agras T50 can carry up to 40 liters of liquid or 50kgs of granular payload and has a battery life of up to 15 minutes.
As the climate continues to warm and impacts farming across the world, food security issues are growing. From severe droughts to devastating floods, weather is challenging every aspect of food growth.
Precision agriculture is one of the few ways to overcome some of these challenges and involves highly calculated decisions to ensure the most productive and efficient growth of crops.
Drones are becoming more and more critical to this system with various applications from precision spraying, water and weed analysis, crop counting and even harvesting.
3. Flying Robot First Responders
Flying robots are coming to town, and they could even be first responders. A flying firefighting robot – dubbed the “Dragon Firefighter” - has been developed by a team of Japanese researchers and uses jets of water to hover above the ground. The robot is connected to a fire truck and can move forward over the flames ahead of human firefighters.
With extreme weather causing super firesand floods across the world, the need to develop technology to assist in these events is crucial. First responders are facing unprecedented conditions; robots and drones on the front lines are needed not only to save those affected, but to give our emergency heroes a chance to come home.
4. Autonomous Drone Taxi’s to finally take flight
Following the airworthiness approval of the Chinese-based Ehang air taxi in late 2023, Australian-based air mobility company Horizon Aircraft has just received a $250million dollar order from Indian Aviation company JetSetGo for 50 of its new 7-person eVTOL units.
While regulatory approvals in locations outside China could vary, all roads seem to lead to new pathways in the sky. Cutting travel time and removing cars from highly congested roads could mean shorter commute times, quicker emergency response and looking down on the world below next time you order an Uber.
5. More Competition is going to deliver more options
With the creation of the BlueUAS list in 2023, countries are beginning to double-down on their own drone manufacturing capabilities. This doesn’t mean that DJI will take it lying down, but rather advancing new drones and sensors at a higher pace.
We have already seen the evolution of drone box technology develop within the last few months alone, with newer, smaller and sleeker versions of these autonomous systems due in early 2024, including the arrival of the DJI Dock 2.
Drone technology has always developed at a rapid pace, but for the first time in many years the adoption rates of practical use cases are matching, if not exceeding this. And as the world continues to face more challenges, putting more lives at risk through armed conflict, food insecurity and climate risks, this technology is set to have its biggest year yet.