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Disrupting Transportation

Drones are introducing a singularity of sorts as multiple technologies are converging and being driven to evolve very quickly to build and leverage new monetization strategies that are now being made possible (because of drones). Here are just a few technologies that are converging:

  • Renewable energy (solar)

  • Energy storage (batteries)

  • Visual capture (cameras, lenses, data storage)

  • Visual recognition (AI & ML)

  • Augmented Decision Making (Analytics)

  • Adaptive Behavior (AI, ML, Analytics)

  • Sensory Perception (multi-modal data gathering, synchronized cameras)

  • Collaborative Behavior (using many of the above technologies)

  • Flight Dynamics (multi-dimensional movement, stabilization, reflexive, ..)

  • Wireless (energy efficient, long range, multi-point)

  • Distribution (payload recognition, capture, distribution, delivery)

  • Logistics (dispatching, tracking, tracing, monitoring)

  • Cloud-based data gathering (large scale learning - about everything)

That's a fairly large list and it's growing ! The reason for the continued singularity is because of the enormous set of applications where drone technologies can be applied. The other reason is because drone technology can traverse a very large scale: Drones have been used in military applications to deliver large payloads. Drones are being used (increasingly) for commercial use (Amazon), for sport (competitions), for consumers (smaller scale), and now (MIT has just developed a sufficiently efficient algorithm) to create a viable micro drone. By the way, many large airlines have automated takeoff and landing as well as autopilot (been in place for years)...not yet a drone, but the technology is in place.

Drones have proven that alternative energy is a viable option for powering flight (short hops for now given the inefficient battery technology). This opens the door for commercial startups and whole new ways of disrupting flight, air travel, and transportation. Drone technology is already spurring many investments in developing personalized aircraft as an alternative to automobiles (even electric ones remain confined to motion in 2 dimensions). Our current notion of transportation as been focused on silos of travel mediums (air, water, land, and rail). We are seeing personal aircraft, autonomous vehicles (cars, buses, trucks), drone / autonomous aquatic vehicles (submersibles, boats, and drones), and more recently alternate rail systems using personal pods (hyperloop), which are leveraging many of the above mentioned technologies. Increasingly, we are going to see a convergence and natural overlap of these technologies to deliver pragmatic and reusable solutions.


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