Drones have been slowly creeping into people’s lives for the past ten years. According to Philly By Air, flying a drone has now become an everyday leisure activity for 1,256,336 Americans. One in seven Americans (about 15%) report that they have had the experience of piloting a drone.
Drones are also used for commercial purposes, ranging from infrastructure inspection to media and entertainment and even for filming 360° advertisements. Delivery-by-drone is a constant ‘hot topic’, with Domino’s being the first company using a drone for food delivery in 2016. And in 2021 Coca-Cola started drone-delivering its new product ‘Coca-Cola with Coffee’ to new consumers as a part of its launch campaign.
Business Insights forecasts that the market for ‘Drone Package Delivery’ will hit $388.2m by 2027. Yet package delivery accounts for only a small portion of the segment. According to an article by Business Insider Intelligence, transport drones represent just 10% of the drone market’s predicted value ($10 billion). The greater markets for drones are infrastructure (35%) and agriculture (25%).
Not to be forgotten are the startups and companies that are using drones to help society and make an impact. This segment is known ‘Drones For Good. The idea is that drone technology can be used to positively impact society and to improve sustainable solutions. In 2015, the United Arab Emirates launched UAE Drones for Good, an annual competition that awards the companies for the best use of drones for positive social impact.
At Rewired, we are passionate about impact investment in tech and we are always looking for exciting and pioneered ideas to invest in! Here is a list of incredible companies and startups that are seeking to use ‘Drones For Good’:
1. Drone Rescue
DJI, a pioneer and leader in the drones industry (owning 70% of the world’s consumer drone market in 2020), has been expanding its work with drones for better use, especially in rescuing. Its platform “Drone Rescue Map” is counting and mapping real-life situations where a drone has been used to save a person in a vulnerable situation
“Drones have found missing people, brought supplies to trapped survivors, peered through smoke and darkness to find unconscious victims.” (Official website, 2021).
Altigator has also developed drones for search & rescue missions, focusing on sea rescue in the Mediterranean. During a patrol mission, one of its drones was able to find a migrant boat at night, enabling the coastguard to act quickly and rescue the ship.
In Switzerland, the home of Rewired, Rega’s national rescue agency has equipped itself with advanced drones to support them in their Alps mission. Switzerland has become known as “Drone Valley” thanks to being home to over 80 drone companies. Switzerland is also home to the National Centre of Competence in Research Robotics (NCCR) which has a specialization in Rescue Robotics.
2. Drones For Removing Landmines
According to the Landmine Monitor 2020, 3,357 people were injured and 2,170 killed from landmine explosions in 2019. It is almost impossible to count the number of antipersonnel landmines that are buried in former warzones, as there is no documentation. Some buried landmines date back to World War II.
The process of mine clearance is a daunting and dangerous task, often lead by human experts such as the Halo Trust Fund and Unmas. Mine Kafon Airborne Demining System started in 2013 with the intention of replacing this human-led activity with drones.
Their drone is used in two steps: it first does 3D mapping of the area, and then detects the mines. Finally, the drone detonates the mine from a safe distance, leaving everyone safe from any accidental explosion.
Founded by Dutch-Afghan brothers Massoud and Mahmud Hassani, the Mine Kafon drone received funds from the EU as a part of the Horizon 2020 program.
3. Drones For Firefighters
fotokite has designed a drone specifically intended to support public safety vehicles. Installed on the top of the vehicles of firefighters, the drone is resistant against low temperatures and has a long battery, enabling it to send videos of the dangerous scene for a very long time.
Launched by an ETH-Zurich spin-off, the Zurich and Boulder-based company has received numerous awards for its innovative and efficient solution. Since 2019, Fotokite’s drones have been installed and operational in a significant number of firefighters’ departments across the US, and are used in many scenarios such as fire responses and search and rescue missions.
4. Drones For Emergency And Humanitarian Missions
Many drone companies are transferring their knowledge to support logistics issues in emergency and humanitarian situations. The Swedish startup Everdrone specializes in autonomous drones that are highly responsive in crisis. Starting with blood bags and lab samples, Everdrone’s drones can now deliver defibrillators to 80,000 Swedish residents – and is also poised to expand into Denmark.
Another company, Wingcopter, has used droned to deliver medical supplies in remote and hard-to-access areas. Finally, Rigi Technologies, from the Drone Valley, is partnering with Médecins Sans Frontières to use their cargo drones for medical logistics during humanitarian interventions.
5. Drones For Clean Energy
In 2017 Rewired invested in Raptor Maps, an AI-focused drone company based in Boston. Raptor Maps applies drone technology to assess solar panel energy production. Through an app and drone data analysis, Raptor Maps facilitates solar panel installation and increases the efficiency of solar energy production.
The company’s aim is to facilitate access to solar energy and accelerate the process toward clean energy. Raptor Maps has just closed its Seed A fundraising and hopes to expand its service and develop new software.
6. Drones For Ecosystem Rehabilitation
UK-based startup Dendra has one mission: to plant 500 billion trees by 2060. But how? Simply with AI and drones. But the Dendra drone does not just planting seeds; its AI allows Dendra to analyze the land and to detect the needed vegetation and species before launching its planting missions. The long-term plan is to rehabilitate the ecosystem through a series of drone-led actions, from site identification through to land monitoring.
Here at Rewired, we are driven by a more humanitarian application of robotics and AI. We are always looking for new innovative startups ready to disrupt positively the market. Interested to collaborate with us? Send us your deck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: January 29, 2021