How Drones Will Transform These 6 Industries

Once the government sets rules for commercial drone use in the U.S.—and it will, likely in the next year or two—business applications of drones will take off, literally.

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Once the government sets rules for commercial drone use in the U.S.—and it will, likely in the next year or two—business applications of drones will take off, literally. A variety of industries are planning to use lightweight, unmanned aircraft. That will pack a big economic wallop, creating thousands of jobs for drone operators, data analysts, mechanics and others. The Kiplinger Letter forecasts that this could be a $10 billion industry by 2025.

Just as in military applications, surveillance will be commercial drones’ first role. But as technology improves, drones will carry payloads that they can deliver (packages and pizza?) or distribute (pesticides and fire retardant).

The use of drones in civilian airspace will come with several restrictions, stemming from the Federal Aviation Administration’s concerns about privacy and interference with existing aircraft. Expect limits on who can fly drones, how many are allowed to fly in certain areas, the altitude at which they can fly, and the time of day they can operate.

But drones are coming. Look forward with us to six industries poised to change dramatically once regulatory hurdles are cleared.

John Miley
Senior Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter

John Miley is a Senior Associate Editor at The Kiplinger Letter. He mainly covers technology, telecom and education, but will jump on other important business topics as needed. In his role, he provides timely forecasts about emerging technologies, business trends and government regulations. He also edits stories for the weekly publication and has written and edited e-mail newsletters.

He joined Kiplinger in August 2010 as a reporter for Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, where he wrote stories, fact-checked articles and researched investing data. After two years at the magazine, he moved to the Letter, where he has been for the last decade. He holds a BA from Bates College and a master’s degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University, where he specialized in business reporting. An avid runner and a former decathlete, he has written about fitness and competed in triathlons.