The new year is a perfect time to talk about where we’re headed as buyers and builders of consumer drones. We’re always curious to try new technology when it hits the market, and more so when it flies.
What are some dynamic trends taking to the air in the coming months?
Comparing great reviews of products from 2015 to the aspirational announcements coming out of CES 2016, here’s five hot trends in consumer drones that we’ll be following in the coming months:
Commercial and industrial drones like the Amazon Air delivery system are making a place for themselves in our lives and in public discourse, but they look like infrastructure. We’re excited to see consumer drones come into their own. The flying stars of CES 2015, like new products from Parrot and Hexo+, looked more polished than ever before. A year later, stand-out offerings from CES 2016 like the Wingsland lineup and the GhostDrone 2.0 by Ehang show that slick looking drone products are an ongoing trend. These rival the sleek lines and finish of other home appliances, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
Several of the most promising drone products from CES 2016 featured cameras. Drone photography has proved a popular combination for aerial video and sports enthusiasts; and manufacturers are taking notice. While the trend began with individuals hacking separate pieces of hardware together to achieve the shots they wanted, some of these solutions left a lot to be desired. The wealth of “GoPro duct taped to a drone” videos on YouTube display more than anything an eagerness in the consumer market for drones with cameras. Sure enough, CES 2016 featured a number of camera drone products for everyone from sports enthusiasts to nature lovers. We can’t wait to try these out, and hopefully we’ll see more like them in the future.
New controllers and automation
Drone enthusiasts have mastered the two stick radio controller that’s become a fixture in UAVs on the consumer market. It gives pilots a lot of control over how they fly, but it also limits the portability and compatibility of the devices that use it. New offerings like the Airdog, Ghostdrone 2.0, and Hexo+ at CES 2016 are controlled either by a dedicated app on a mobile device, or another new type of controller. We couldn’t be happier to see this transition beginning, because we love technology that can mesh seamlessly with our other favorite devices.
From folding models that fit in a backpack, to smaller, more powerful engines that boast more air time; 2015 and 2016’s CES releases show that people want smaller drones that are easy to transport. In addition, new legislation in the US requires UAVs over 8oz to be registered. Many local governments, like Washington DC have additional regulations that make it hard to enjoy taking your drones out for a spin. We like the idea of flying technology making its way into our daily lives, of incorporating flight into electronics that help us do more than just zip around the yard. We think smaller, more portable drones are a great step in that direction and we look forward to seeing that trend continue.
Commercial and industrial drones boast high speed flight, stronger and more durable propellers, and bigger payloads. The manufacturers of the consumer products that fit in that "more powerful model" understandably warn their customers about flying indoors or close to people. In the consumer market, we find power is only beneficial when it directly relates to what the product does, besides flight. Our most beloved consumer electronics live close to our homes and bodies, and we welcome a generation of flying technology that’s meant to stay close without fear of hurting us. Safety is a big way we’re excited to see consumer drones differentiate themselves from their heavy duty counterparts in the coming months.