Over the past decade, drones have evolved from an underdeveloped pipe dream to being on the cusp of its own mainstream logistics sector. Drones, known more formally as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (AEVs), are small, autonomous robots that can be controlled either remotely or by following an internal flight path on its own.
Let’s take a quick look at how drones have evolved in recent years. While drones have been used for military purposes for decades, the first US commercial drone permits were issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration back in 2006, allowing drones to be flown for business purposes for the first time ever. Just a few years later in 2010, French startup Parrot released the Parrot AR Drone, the first drone to be controlled by Wi-Fi and smartphones — a huge step for drone development for both consumers and businesses. In 2013, Amazon swooped in with its concept for a drone-based delivery system, although the company is still yet to release details on when it will actually start making large-scale commercial shipments via drone. In 2016, DJI released its Phantom 4 Drone, the first to incorporate machine learning technology to intelligently track objects in place of following a GPS signal or programmed route. This brings us to today’s drone climate, with dozens of new drone startups popping up worldwide in an effort to bring drone delivery to everyday life.