Posts tagged "Up Sonder"

Drones can offer a unique perspective of the Aug. 21 eclipse.

1979 was the last time a total solar eclipse graced the shores of the contiguous United States. It was 38 years ago when the first Sony Walkman came out, when 63 Americans were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran, and when the first Aliens movie hit cinemas. It was a long time ago, a time before drones.

Luckily this time drones will be there to help the whole nation get a unique perspective of a total solar eclipse. This Monday, August 21st, 2017 will be another first for drones and another reminder of how drones can be used for good. Forget eclipse glasses and holes punched in cardboard, drones are the latest and coolest way to view a solar eclipse.

If you have a drone, make sure you carve out some time this Monday morning or afternoon (depending on where you live) to take to the skies and capture this rare event. Our friends over at Drone360 have compiled a great list of the best places to fly to capture the total eclipse and a reminder to make safety your priority by following all FAA and local regulations.

If you don’t live near the path of totality, can’t make the trip, don’t have your own drone, or are looking for a professional drone pilot to help you capture the historic eclipse, head on over to Up Sonder. We have FAA certified drone pilots throughout the path the moon’s shadow will carve across the good old U.S. of A. Just to make it super easy for you, below is a list of Up Sonder drone pilots along the path of the eclipse.

Up Sonder has numerous drone pilots in the path of the solar eclipse.

The drone superhighway will need a network of charging stations to power it.

A FOUR PART SERIES

This article is the final in a four-part series so if you haven’t read the previous parts please go back and start where you left off. In part one, I introduced the groundbreaking work currently being done to lay the foundations of the upcoming drone superhighway. In part two, I wrote about how the drone superhighway will require a new air traffic management system that includes drones and current legal hurdles that need to be addressed. Last week in part three, I wrote of beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operation, the possibility of fully autonomous drones, and how Trump administration policies could be used to advance the drone superhighway.

This week I will go over the need for new energy solutions and how the reduced costs of drone technology will play an important role in making the drone superhighway a cost effective network.

Energy Solutions—Better Batteries and Docking Stations

Reliable and longer lasting power sources are vital for the success of the drone superhighway. Right now, the new DJI Matrice 200 has one of the best performance specs of commercially available drones. However, its two lithium-ion batteries only give it a flight time of 38 minutes.

Obviously better batteries are needed, but the real issue here is that battery technology hasn’t been able to keep pace with other technological advancements. Drones are still slaves to the performance of lithium-ion batteries that are not only dangerous, but also fairly inefficient.

Canadian company Nano One is aiming to improve lithium-ion batteries with a new manufacturing technique that decreases cost and improves performance. Nano One’s patented method uses a chemical rather than mechanical process to produce the cathode for a lithium-ion battery. This chemical process creates nanometer-sized crystals which makes the battery last longer and perform better.

https://nanoone.ca/

Speaking of lithium-ion batteries, in March 2017 their creator John Goodenough announced he has developed a new solid-state sodium-ion battery that could triple the range of a drone and allow it to operate at much lower temperatures (-4℉).

Other promising battery technologies are lithium-air batteries that have 15 times more capacity than lithium-ion batteries and gold nanowire batteries that don’t degrade with use. Only time will tell how quickly these new battery designs can go from a lab to mass production.

Another possible power source is hydrogen fuel cells. Simply put, hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity through a chemical reaction of positively charged hydrogen ions with oxygen. Chinese company MMC already has a hydrogen fuel cell drone on the market. The 6-rotor HyDrone 1550 can operate for up to 2.5 hours and is marketed for industrial use. However, this kind of power source requires a hydrogen fuel tank in order to operate. While hydrogen fuel cell drones offer some intriguing possibilities for local use, they don’t make a lot of sense for a drone superhighway because they would require facilities that would have to replenish, or switch out a hydrogen tank.

Batteries will eventually improve but the demand for drones to carry heavier payloads for delivery and other functions will largely offset these advances and probably not drastically increase flight times. This is why there is a fundamental need for a network of charging stations along the path of the drone superhighway that can quickly recharge a wide variety of drones.

Drones will have to land and charge.

Up Sonder is working on a solution that involves developing a charging station that costs only $100 per unit. A lot of what we are working on is proprietary information, but there are some things I can share with you about the Up Sonder charging station.

  • Rapid wireless charging: if you want to be fast, wireless is the only way to go, it also helps the unit to be more weather-proof.
  • Autonomous precision landing: the charging station must communicate and guide a     drone to land in a precise location to charge.
  • Compatible: the wireless charging station will have to work with a wide variety of drone systems.
  • Intelligent charging: the station will have to be able to monitor a drone’s current power level and charge accordingly to optimize battery life.

Our goal is to create an interconnect network of over 200,000 charging stations across the nation to power the drone superhighway.

Cost Effectiveness

Ten years ago if I wanted a drone with a 20-megapixel camera, five dedicated sensors for obstacle avoidance, as well as the ability to recognize and follow people, it would easily cost me tens of thousands of dollars. But today I can get all that (and more) standard in a DJI Phantom 4 Pro for just $1,499.

In terms of what they offer, drones are cheaper today than they have ever been. Drones also offer companies a much easier way to achieve return on investment (ROI). In some cases drones are replacing manned aircraft for tasks like aerial surveying because they are so much cheaper. For example, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is looking into using drones to conduct aerial surveys at small airports across the state. According to their own estimates, an aerial survey by a manned charter plane would cost around $100,000 while a drone survey would only cost $2,500. That is a savings of $97,500!

There is also a reason why so many companies are interested in drone delivery — hint, hint because it saves them money! Our friend over at Drone Girl, Sally French, broke down a report from Skylark Services earlier this month that demonstrated that Amazon estimates the cost of the last mile of delivery is $2.50, whereas drones can complete that last mile for an estimated $1.74.

We have almost hit the sweet spot where all the technology needed to make the drone superhighway a reality can be provided at a reasonable cost. Give it a few more years and things will be ready for sure, if regulators allow it.

The Future

In the future, the Up Sonder community will be able to send things to each other via drone.

As the CEO of a company leading the charge to make the drone superhighway a reality, I’m excited about the possibilities it offers for the future. I’ll leave you with one teaser for the members of the Up Sonder community.
Think how cool it would be if one day you needed a cup of sugar to bake a cake, but instead of driving over to the grocery store, you hopped on the Up Sonder app and had a fellow community member deliver the sugar to you via drone! It might sound crazy, but we are working on it!

Derek Waleko is CEO of Up Sonder, the first on-demand drone and service rental platform powered by UberRUSH, specifically designed for drone pilots and drone owners to earn extra money.

Drone CommunicationDrone communication is important for the drone superhighway

Last week, I wrote about drone traffic management systems and legal hurdles to the drone superhighway. If you haven’t already read part one and two of this four-part series be sure to go back and start at the beginning. Also, check out Up Sonder to find out more about how my company is building a marketplace of drone pilots and drones to unlock the economic possibility of the drone superhighway.

This week, we’ll look at a beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone operation, the possibility of fully autonomous drones and how Trump administration policies could be used to advance the drone superhighway. It’s a lot to cover, so let’s dig in!

BVLOS and Flying Over People:

There is no way of getting around it, drone superhighways will require both BVLOS operation and flight over people. Unfortunately, right now according to FAA regulations without a special exemption, drones are required to stay within the line-of-sight of the operator or spotter and cannot fly directly over people. The FAA is not against BVLOS or drone flights over people, it just wants to make sure it’s done safely.

For BVLOS, the concern is that, unlike manned aircraft, drones don’t have enough self-awareness of their surroundings. Luckily technology, like advanced sensors and machine learning is quickly making this concern invalid. FAA approval of BVLOS drone operations really hinges on two points, implementation of a functioning drone traffic management system (already discussed) and the ability of drones to operate autonomously (I will address this more below).

Luckily some very smart folks at NASA, Harris Corp, and BNSF Railways are helping the FAA research how to make BVLOS a safe reality. Back in October of 2016, NASA was able to fly two drones BVLOS into a designated area and successfully keep the drones from running into each other using technology they are developing to assist in drone traffic management.

Credits: NASA Ames / Dominic Hart

​This February, Harris Corp and the University of North Dakota received a grant to develop an integrated network infrastructure for BVLOS drone operations. This includes everything from using cell phone towers to help find location, to machine learning that allows drones to detect obstacles and avoid them. Harris partnered with Ligado Networks in early May to use a commercial satellite with the largest antenna in North America for BVLOS navigation. The satellite’s 22-meter length (over 72 feet) gives it the ability to communicate with small devices like a drone over a large area. The exciting thing about Harris’ work is that after initial testing they plan on partnering with end users, like a utility company, to test BVLOS at their North Dakota test site.

BNSF Railway and Rockwell Collins have been testing BVLOS drone operations using a more down-to-earth approach. BNSF can communicate and control drones with a data link network that uses both radio spectrum and telecommunications infrastructure. The system automatically determines the best tower-to-drone link for control and can transfer control of the drone between towers during flight. This has given them the ability to test long-distance BVLOS operations for drones that are inspecting railway tracks.

The FAA’s concern with drones flying over people is public safety. What happens if a drone falls from the sky? What if a drone is being flown over groups of people with criminal intent? These are very real safety concerns the FAA cannot ignore.

The FAA has partnered with a number of universities to test the physical dangers of drones falling on people. Schools like Virginia Tech have been busy slamming drones into crash test dummies and a recently released report found a drone was not as dangerous as a block of wood or piece of steel when falling from a height of 50 feet. While the test is promising, the FAA will need more tests before it allows flights over people. A test on airborne drone collisions will reportedly be released this summer, so keep your eyes open for that.

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There is also a need to quickly identify drones when they act badly, particularly around large groups of people. Leading drone manufacturer DJI has stepped up to the plate and proposed an electronic identification system for all drones that would require drones to automatically broadcast identification information. If a standard can be created and applied to all drones, it will act as a digital license plate and will allow authorities to more easily track a problematic drone and find out who is operating it.

All of this testing is building a strong case that drones can operate safely BVLOS and over people. Hopefully, this will convince the FAA to revise current restrictions. One thing that could make this easier is the Trump Administration’s 2-for-1 executive order on regulations. A single revision to Part 107 to allow BVLOS and flight over people would eliminate four waiver regulations (107.31, 107.33, 107.39, 107.51).

Autonomous Drones:

OK, before we talk about autonomous drones any further, let’s get one thing straight…just because a drone is autonomous doesn’t mean it is going to go rogue and turn into a flying Terminator. For simplicity’s sake, we are talking about drones that can fly from point A to point B without any human interaction.

To fly autonomously, drones must be able to sense and avoid obstacles near them, communicate with other aircraft and air traffic control, be aware of changing environmental conditions like weather, have a fail-safe protocol in case of emergencies, etc. It’s a lot to do, but luckily the technology is mostly there. What must happen now is intensive testing to make sure autonomous drone flight is safe and scalable at size.

There is a lot of testing currently going on, here are three cool examples:

1-US company Matternet has partnered with the Swiss Post to successfully carry out 70 autonomous drone delivery tests in Switzerland. The Swiss Aviation Authority is supporting these tests and the plan is to make the drone deliveries between two hospitals in the city of Lugano a permanent situation by 2018.

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2-Engineers at NVIDIA have successfully tested autonomous drone flight through a path in a forest using deep learning and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). The deep learning lets the drone orient itself and follow the dirt path and the SLAM (same technology used on autonomous cars) allows the drone to map the area around it and avoid obstacles. While testing is still ongoing, the ability to connect machine learning with obstacle avoidance is an important step in autonomous drone flight.

3-The US Air Force takes the cake for most advanced testing with its Loyal Wingman Project. The idea is to create autonomous aircraft that are paired with a manned aircraft to act as the manned aircraft’s wingmen. These drone wingmen are supposed to do everything from carry out attacks on enemies to protect the manned aircraft. In the last few months the Air Force has reportedly “successfully demonstrated” the concept using F-16s as drones in tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

According to a press release from Lockheed Martin (who is involved in the project), the testing successfully showed the following:

  • the ability to autonomously plan and execute air-to-ground strike missions and
  • the ability to dynamically react to a changing threat environment during an air-to-ground strike mission while automatically managing contingencies for capability failures, route deviations, and loss of communication.

In Israel they have moved beyond testing. Airobotics has built a fully autonomous drone system that is designed to conduct survey and security missions for industrial applications. The Civil Authority of Israel has given Airobotics full approval to operate autonomous drones in Israeli airspace.

Airobotic’s Optimus drone system houses a drone in a box where it is protected and is able to recharge itself. When tasked with a mission, the drone will take off and autonomously conduct the mission before returning to its housing unit. What is even more amazing is that Airobotics is testing using this proven technology for emergency response in less predictable and more congested urban airspace.

Next week, in the fourth and final part of this series, I will discuss energy solutions to power the drone superhighway and look to the future about how everything mentioned here can be cost effective enough to be widely implemented.

Stay tuned!

Derek Waleko is CEO of Up Sonder, the first on-demand drone and service rental platform powered by UberRUSH, specifically designed for drone pilots and drone owners to earn extra money.

After an incredibly successful beta launch in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, on-demand drone marketplace Up Sonder is soaring across the country and ready to help Americans get up and stay up, leveraging Postmates and UberRUSH technology to deliver drones in as little as 30 minutes.

Starting today, Up Sonder will be available nationwide to connect those who own drones with those who want to take flight and rent a drone or a drone pilot’s services. To do so, Up Sonder is leveraging a new relationship with Postmates. “We’re very excited to welcome the Postmates family to the drone industry,” shared Up Sonder CEO Derek Waleko. “Since our beta launch in January, the demand for Up Sonder has been widespread and together with Postmates, we’re thrilled to be making drone rental a reality for all Americans.”

While Up Sonder can also be delivered by Uber in San Francisco, New York City and Chicago, drone renters will now have more options to choose from in how their drones are delivered. For the areas of the US that don’t offer Uber or Postmates, Up Sonder will still be available, however, both the Provider and Renter will have to make arrangements to meet up to exchange a drone.

“We’ve spoken to many of our members in these unique situations and after many conversations, we’ve come to discover that the majority of these members are okay with making their own arrangements to rent their drone or services, or on the flip-side, to rent a drone,” explained Waleko. “This is just further proof of how excited people are about renting drones.”

Up Sonder’s unique service eliminates the hassle of traveling with a drone or spending large amounts to enjoy a quality drone, offering travelers the ultimate selfie, vloggers enhanced content, or wedding photographers a bee’s eye view to offer their clients. Up Sonder members are able to access the marketplace to find and rent a drone or service near them at a cost much lower than owning a drone. For the commercial industries, Up Sonder’s nationwide FAA certified drone pilots can help companies like AT&T, Bechtel, or GEICO better service their customers.

For those drone owners looking to supplement their income by renting out their drones they can do so knowing they are protected by Up Sonder with its $1,000,000 liability insurance policy. Drone damage is covered too under Up Sonder’s Provider Guarantee that will replace or repair Provider’s drones up to $2,500 if the worst should happen. For those renting or looking to provide services, Up Sonder encourages them to buy their own private drone insurance through Verifly before taking flight.

“There is a huge opportunity for people across the country to learn about the power and benefits of drones and to incorporate them into everyday life,” shared Waleko. “It’s impossible to fly a drone and not have fun. Now everyone across the country can try it.” Providers and renters can access payments, scheduling, inventory management, customer messaging, and sales through Up Sonder’s online portal. Drone renters can schedule and make their payment quickly through Apple Pay or other methods on the platform. Up Sonder is leveraging profits and drones to do good in the world by donating a portion of every transaction to its non-profit Up Sonder Life that will start helping under served population in Africa have access to clean drinking water.

Earlier this year, Drone360 magazine named Up Sonder as one of the top five drone startups to watch in 2017. Up Sonder is also thrilled to be currently working with AirMap technology to create the ultimate drone app, coming this year.

Check out Up Sonder online at UpSonder.com and follow the adventures of mascot Sonder the worker bee (Sonder is an anagram of “drones”) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ABOUT UP SONDER:

Up Sonder, LLC is an on-demand marketplace for drones and certified drone pilots, where drone owners can earn extra money from renting out their drone and/or service. Up Sonder launched beta in January 2017 in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago allowing those cities to conveniently search for drone rentals and drone services from providers in their area on the Up Sonder marketplace, all at an affordable price with seamless delivery options through UberRUSH. In March 2017, Up Sonder expanded their beta launch nationwide and announced Postmates technology integration to allow for efficient delivery of on demand drones.

Technological shipment innovation – drone fast delivery concept, multicopter flying with cardboard box above city

It’s official – robots are taking over the world, or at least, the skies!

What once was used primarily for military purposes has gone commercial – and now, drone usage is exploding in popularity with hobbyists –and companies alike, that are keen to cash in on some of the business opportunities that drones are opening up.

While it may be a few years before we see drones taking over jobs en masse, there’s no doubt about it –unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are making it simple for us to do many things that were once time-consuming, expensive, or even downright impossible. Drone usage has gone beyond selfies and snagging that ultimate aerial wedding photo, to more interesting and – perhaps odd – uses.

For better or worse –here’s a look at a few crazy ways that drones are being used today –in no particular order.

1 – Chasing Canadian Geese

What’s black and white and flies all over? The “Goosebuster” –a 26 inch drone that’s on a mission to clear Canada’s capital of the Canada goose. While the birds are beloved by many, they can wreak havoc on parks –something that Steve Wambolt –the Goosebuster’s creator, is on a mission to stop. He’s currently building a fleet of drones –complete with speakers that blast the sounds of predatory birds, as well as strobe lights, to be flown from strategic stations around Ottawa –in a bid to herd the birds out of the parks, and keep the country’s capital free from droppings.

2 – The Burrito Bomber

A company known as Burrito Bomber has outlined plans to be the first Mexican food drone delivery service. Order up your tacos through the app, and the drone will drop your goods to you, via parachute. Although the concept was tasty, sadly, there’s no word if it ever got off the ground. Still, we can dream can’t we? And we may be able to expect food delivery at some point in the near future –rumor has it Domino’s pizza delivery drone trials are expected to take place in New Zealand sometime this year.

3 – Synchronized Entertainment

In 2015, Intel launched 100 drones for a synchronized light show –and set a new world record. Following that spectacular performance, they set their sights even higher –with the aim of having 500 neon-lit drones, dancing, twirling, and flying in formations across the night sky –something that they pulled off with remarkable success in 2016. Flight planning software was used to plot the display –and give each UAV its cue. The result? A spectacular performance that would rival even the most spectacular fireworks show! And Disney agrees!

4 – Drone Air Shows

The world’s first drone circus took place in the Netherlands in 2015 –with hundreds of UAVs taking to the sky. Teaming up with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the AIR 2015 event was the first aerial 3D entertainment show of its kind –with hundreds of drones, lasers, and projectors involved in a dazzling display of aerial stunts, music, video, projections, and special effects. The concept of using drones for entertainment is hardly new –but the combination of technology, effects, and lights highlights the tremendous potential for amazing and spectacular light shows in the future.

5 – Pokémon GO

If using drones sounds like it defeats the point of Pokémon GO, it’s because it does. It also could be classified as cheating, if you are keeping track. The great thing about Pokémon GO is that it motivates kids and adults alike to get off the couch and go outside. But one clever gamer found a way to bend the rules. By strapping his phone to a drone, he was able to catch ‘em all, without ever having to leave his couch. Don’t tell the kids about this one!

6 – Drone Paintball Capture the Flag

Drone paintball capture the flag? Why not! One man’s clever idea for a game of drone paintball capture the flag –just might take off! The plan was to use drones for surveillance in an effort to try to capture the flag off of the opposing team. Or, you could take things a step further and mount a paintball gun directly to the drone for an especially exciting game –like these folks did.

7 – Drone Racing

In July of 2016, 100 racer drones took to the skies –piloted by student pilots who participated in the Liberty Cup for the US National Drone Racing Championships. The students researched and built their own drones, and then raced them while wearing “first person view” goggles that allowed them to experience the race as if they were inside of the UAV itself –all from the safety of the ground. While drone racing has been an amateur sport in Australia since late 2014, it seems the rest of the world is just now starting to catch on.

8 – Map Making

Drones can reach hard or impossible-to-access areas, giving enthusiasts and professionals alike a chance to create extremely detailed maps. These maps can benefit military and government offices, as well as small companies and individuals alike –imagine how much easier it would be to chart a hiking course if you could foresee potential obstacles before you start?

9 – Storm Tracking and Forecasting

Giving you the thrill of storm chasing, without all of the danger, UAVs make it possible to safely go into the heart of a storm. Both enthusiasts and NASA have been using drones for storm tracking and monitoring for years. In October 2016, NASA even flew an almost-15,000 pound drone over Hurricane Matthew. The drone was used to drop several devices called “dropsondes” –into the storm –which collected weather data as they fell from the sky. Drones would have made Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton’s job studying Twisters so much easier!

10 – Rapid Response Drones – Saving Lives!

Drones saving lives may seem like a bit of a stretch, but that’s exactly what one engineering graduate has in mind. Alec Momont, who graduated from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands created a rapid response drone that’s able to fly at speeds of 60 mph to deliver a defibrillator to assist heart attack victims who are in need of first aid. Time matters during a heart attack –and a fast response time can greatly increase the chances of recovery. “…Brain death and fatalities occur within four to six minutes,” says Momont. “The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 km zone within one minute. This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from eight percent to 80 percent.” While this drone is yet to be tested on real patients, Momont believes that in a few years, his drone will be in use –and several medical sector bodies have already expressed interest in his project.

What does the future hold for drones? A better question would be –what doesn’t it hold? With so much potential for commercial and personal use alike –things can only go up from here! Expect to see a lot more drone action –and quite possibly more FAA regulations, as a whole new generation of UAVs takes to the skies!

What’s your favorite use for drones?

Derek Waleko is CEO of Up Sonder, the first on-demand drone and service rental platform powered by UberRUSH, specifically designed for drone pilots and drone owners to earn extra money.

futuristic black drone nature exploration 3D illustration

We’ve all heard about camera-equipped drones being used to take photos of weddings, capture aerial footage for real estate ads, and even sneak peeks of Game of Thrones film sets in an effort to drum up some spoilers.

But aerial video and photography aren’t the only things that drones are capable of. Today’s drones are going on search and rescue missions, surveying areas struck by natural disasters, and even dropping vaccine-laced pellets in an effort to save the endangered black-footed ferrets in Montana.

Ever since they’ve gone commercial, drones have been used for a variety of fascinating tasks – something that’s only going to continue into the future as these devices become more sophisticated, and their job descriptions get a whole lot cooler.

From fulfillment and delivery drones becoming an everyday reality, to drones being used to assist with exploration and disaster recovery, and even helping to make mundane meetings a lot more interactive, the drones of the future will be sophisticated, smart, and fast – making life simpler, better, and let’s admit it – more exciting too.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to future of drones. Here’s a look at eight big ideas that these devices could be used for soon.

  • Delivery and Fulfillment

Thanks in large part to Amazon’s efforts, one of the most commercially popular uses of drones has to be customer delivery and fulfillment – bringing packages and parcels to consumers – quickly and easily. But drone delivery isn’t likely to be limited to just books and gadgets; it could also be used for groceries, prescription medication, and even your morning coffee. In the future, autonomous car roofs could serve as portals through which you could have your java and bagel delivered directly to your vehicle while you’re being driven down the road on your daily commute. As long as they can figure out a way to do it without spilling the coffee in your lap, that is!

  • Projector Drones

Hosting events is about to get a whole lot easier – and more interactive too, thanks to projector drones with projection touch technology. Someday, companies may be able to hire drones as projectors; complete with insta-polling, interactive games, and cool visual effects. Projector drones could also be used to make meetings more effective as well – in fact, Google has recently been granted a patent for an unmanned aerial vehicle known as, “mobile telepresence system” – a device that facilitates interactive video and audio between users in different locations. Disney is also toying with the idea of using flying “projector drones” at its parks that will beam images onto attached screens for dazzling night-time displays.

  • Vertical Landing Drones (AKA Spiderman Drones)

Vertical landing drones may soon be coming to a building near you. Thanks to a specially designed microspine, drone quadcopters have the ability to land, perch, and walk up walls – pretty much everything Spiderman can do – except fight bad guys, of course. Still, time and money spent on washing office windows could be cut in half with these spider-drones.

  • Follow the Leader Drones

New on campus and need help getting to class? Or, looking for help navigating the theme park? Follow the leader drones will make it easy to find your way. In the future, businesses or trade shows could use drones as virtual tour guides to lead people around – guests could even ping one, using their cell phone’s GPS. Easier than asking for directions!

  • Exploration, Aid Efforts, and Disaster Recovery

Drones can easily go places that humans have a hard time gaining access too. This means that they could become the official standard for search and rescue, or deliver supplies to disaster zones. They could also assist with search missions from the air, on land, or at sea. In fact, underwater drones have been used recently to hunt for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, by scouring remote regions of the Indian Ocean.

  • Painting Drones (AKA Picasso Drones)

In the future, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge could be painted in a single day using drones that can blast hard-to-reach areas with paint. These drones could also be used to easily tackle graffiti, helping to clean up the streets and make neighborhoods nicer. Homes in the future could easily change color to match the occasion. Who wouldn’t want a yellow house for Easter?

  • Wi-Fi Drones

Drones that broadcast Wi-Fi for events such as concerts or football games, may very well be a real thing in the near future. There’s also talk of drones being used to bring the internet to remote locations. Facebook is reportedly looking into using Wi-Fi-equipped low-flying drones to bring the net, and presumably Facebook, to everyone in the world.

  • On-Demand Energy Drones

A drone’s nemesis is its battery, and if drones had emotions their number one cause of stress would be not having enough energy to stay in the air. The industry is working hard to solve the energy problem and is making great steps to achieve an everlasting drone. As solar panel costs and sizes drop every year, and efficiencies increase, one day drones will be producing more energy than they consume. Through the advent of wireless electricity technology, drones will be transmitting energy to remote villages or could even be called upon when you’re in a pinch walking down 5th Avenue or out hiking in the great outdoors, hunting for Pokemon.

According to U.S. aviation officials, there could be 7 million small drones in the sky by 2020. And the FAA predicts that the drone market will create an $82 billion economic impact in the US by 2025. As industries scramble to take advantage of the benefits that drones offer, it’s only expected that the gaps in the market will soon be filled – and many of these crazy and cool predictions will become a reality.

What would you like to see drones used for?

Derek Waleko is CEO of Up Sonder, the first on-demand drone and service rental platform powered by UberRUSH, specifically designed for drone pilots and drone owners to earn extra money.