Civil drones are here to stay. They provide unprecedented advantages in certain
fields such as aerial photography and filming and aerial inspections, where they have
become almost irreplaceable, partly because they involve dramatic cost reductions
when compared to traditional solutions. Drones are currently employed in hundreds
of applications in different domains. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. All the
technology roadmaps agree that drones will have a deep impact on society and that
this trend will continue over the next few decades.
Drones equipped with cameras and other sensors are ideal platforms to gather
images and other information from inaccessible locations. In fact, most civil drone
applications currently centre on aerial photography and filming. Recently, other
drone uses, including transporting objects, logistics and precision agriculture, have
begun to attract significant attention and are starting to be exploited.
There is still much to be done in the drone world. Battery lifetimes still critically
constrain their applicability. Improvements in safety, security and data privacy are
also essential. New advances in sensors, control, navigation, mapping and indoor
localization, communications, obstacle detection and avoidance and artificial intelligence, among others, are required to provide drone autonomy.