The thing about predicting the future is that, at some point, the future happens in the present and then we get to look back and smack ourselves in the head for not investing in that technology. Case in point: I thought the iPod was absolutely stupid when it came out. I saw a young intern wearing one and I asked her if it was popular with her age group and friends and she replied, “Duh… everyone has one. You don’t?” Honestly, I don’t know if it was her response or the technology that was a turn off but I decided not to buy Apple stock. That was in 2002. Apple’s stock has risen more than 5,900% since then. This painful lesson has taught me to respect new technologies of all kinds.
Dutch scientists at TU Delft University have made the world’s smallest autonomous drone. It is a dragonfly called DelFly Explorer. DelFly has 3D vision and can fly around by itself and avoid obstacles.
This technology could revolutionize everything from entertainment to farming. Imagine an autonomous Fairy flying near you at Disneyland. What about the Japanese using these drones to fly inside the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to take video of areas still too dangerous for humans? What if these drones could land on a charging base and then take to flight once charged? A security company could use these cheap drones as flying patrols. The developer Guido de Croon of Delft University says, “It can for instance also be used to fly around and detect ripe fruit in greenhouses,” in reference to the Netherlands vast indoor fruit-growing business. The possibilities are almost endless.
TU Delft University recently released the video below showing the DelFly Explorer in action:
Drone Technology Stocks
Drone technology stocks that should benefit from the commercialization of drones are Aerovironment (AVAV) and Lockheed Martin (LMT).
Both Aerovironment and Lockheed Martin announced this month that they are partnering to explore opportunities for unmanned aircraft systems in international markets.
Amazon (AMZN) shocked the world when they announced on “60 Minutes” that they are working on using drone technology for deliveries. Founder Jeff Bezos admitted the challenges, “Look, this thing can’t land on someone’s head while they are walking around — that’s not good.”
Netflix released a spoof video poking fun at Amazon by announcing their new Drone2Home service. Funny stuff, check it out: