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Drone technology has achieved considerable advances during 2018. Several drone technologies disrupted the drone market this year, according to geospatialworld.net:

Breaking the Barriers – Flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight –Flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) became a new normal for drones in 2018. Flying drones beyond eyes can see embodied big opportunity for commercial drone operators. Governments around the world allowed operators to fly drones BVLOS, opening the door to a range of new applications. Many drones hit the market designed specifically to fly BVLOS  like Trinity F9 by Quantum Systems that has anti-collision light and transponder that transmits the positions to all the other air traffic. Flying drones over long distances helped to inspect miles of oil and gas pipeline in remote areas or hundreds of acres of crops which was impossible earlier.

Automation in drones –The drone industry moved towards automation in 2018. Hovering a drone for inspection, developing a solution for drone delivery or deploying an autonomous drone charging or docking station, or even trying to land a drone precisely at a given location is not a challenge anymore as automation made its way to drone industry as well. Now the operators just unbox the UAV, set it and it is ready to fly by itself. There is still a need for a consistent system that can support precisely align and land the drone on the designated site, with centimeter-level accuracy.

Sense and Avoid Capabilities –Sense and Avoid technology in drones touched a new level of advancement where drones can sense the collision and avoid it. This has helped to avoid mid-air collisions operating in the same airspace. The Sense and Avoid ability has helped to develop and test field deployable Sense and Avoid systems for both UAS and small aircraft. Many companies are now looking to transfigure and expand the current drone market by including advanced autopilot and hardware technology with their new designs.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning –Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have transformed the drone industry in 2018 by helping analyze the massive amount of data captured by drone in just no time. AI and Machine Learning have helped a lot to sort and analyze data quickly without putting additional efforts. Uniting drone technology with machine learning helped infrastructure managers identify quality defects, malfunctions, or inventory shortages faster and at a lower cost than using traditional techniques.

Real-time Mapping –Now it is not required to first map the areas and wait for days to get the map of it. Real-time drone mapping became a reality. Basing on recent advancement in cameras, edge computing, and mobile hardware processing, it is now possible to generate live maps while hovering the drone in the sky with the help of software like Live Map. Live Map stitches aerial imagery as drone flies in the sky, and 60% of real-time maps made are hard to differentiate from cloud-processed data sets.