As governments worldwide ramp up their efforts to combat the global coronavirus pandemic, officials and healthcare providers are turning to a broad suite of technologies – big data analytics, telemedicine, and even drones. Whether for surveying affected areas, delivering medical samples and quarantine supplies, or monitoring and protecting crops, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) stand to play a critical part in the global response to the pandemic.
With 50 drone companies and startups, Israel is a hub of drone innovation. The country first began work on developing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), in 1962, for defense purposes. Israel is globe’s top exporter of drones, and the country’s drone-tech ecosystem has put Israeli companies to meet expected surge in demand for drone technology across a broad swath use cases.
Business Insider Intelligence forecasts that the drone services market will spike from $4.4 billion in 2018 to $63.6 billion by 2025. Driving the market’s growth will be increased use of drones in numerous civilian industries: For example, agriculture will employ drones to monitor crops and livestock; the construction industry will use them to perform safety inspections in hard or dangerous-to-reach areas; and insurers will turn to drones to survey damage and gather data for claims processing.
Drones are even starting to be deployed for on-demand food deliveries – as residents of Reykjavik, Iceland have enjoyed firsthand since Israeli drone company Flytrex began partnering with the city in 2017. The company will begin food deliveries in Holly Springs, North Carolina this year, after securing approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Flytrex isn’t the only Israeli company scaling the skies of drone innovation:
- Edgybees provides situational awareness for public safety professionals, first responders, broadcasters, and others using drones mounted with augmented reality-equipped cameras. The company’s technology was used by responders during recent wildfires in Australia and California.
- Percepto develops autonomous drones for monitoring and surveillance of assets in the energy, mining, oil & gas, ports, and solar industries. Founded in 2014, the company has offices in Israel, the U.S., and Australia, and its clients include Italian electric company ENEL and U.S.-based Johnson Controls.
With its esteemed research institutions, robust public investment in R&D, and unparalleled entrepreneurialism, Israel is well-positioned to continue its leadership in drone innovation at a time when the globe needs it most.