The Evolution of Drones

Three rivers. Two dudes. And $100,000 in equipment lost in the darkness of Western Pennsylvania.

“It was a very tense moment,” said Rob MacGowan, VP/Director of Broadcast Production at Jay. “Fortunately, after a bit of a search, we found the drone, or I might not be here to tell you the story.”

That was in 2009. Back then, drones were about the size of a small sedan and still better known for taking out the world’s most wanted in the world’s most remote places. Today, the commercial landscape for drones has undergone a sea change. With drones having much smaller frames and price tags, non-professionals can now enter the game.

For the novice pilot, drones can cost anywhere between $50-$200. Although these simpler drones tend to lack higher-resolution cameras, speed, and maneuverability, they will get the job done and leave a little money in your pocket.

If you’re looking to spend a little more money, or if you need a drone for commercial use, it can cost you $1,000 or more. You’re paying for a faster drone that can fly greater distances and has a higher resolution camera. Technology has evolved so quickly some drone models have the ability to follow and record moving objects.

As with all new and developing technologies, laws and regulations are evolving to keep pace. In the last year, New York State has passed legislation that requires all drones weighing over 0.55 pounds to be registered with the FAA. If you’re planning on flying a drone for commercial use, you have to obtain a remote pilot license.

For commercial use for clients like Motor City GMC and Schumacher Automotive, who’ve enjoyed the implementation of our drone-shot footage, we were able to provide a literally new perspective — a cinematic birds-eye view of the inventory on their lots, which boosted the impact of their hard-hitting retail messaging. For Wegmans, the drone footage was a very useful way to provide geographical context for their beautiful organic farm on Canandaigua Lake. Being able to show the lake just beyond the farm reminds consumers of their beloved brand’s connection to the area — and to its commitment to work locally to perfect the production and delivery of fresh organics.

As much use as companies are getting out of drones to help sell their product, it seems that the future of drones might be in delivering the product. So, don’t be alarmed if a drone is soon hovering at your doorstep with a pepperoni pie. Just remember to tip them. Pizza tends not to keep its shape when dropped from 500 feet.

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