GAME OF DRONES
The market is booming for these
Drones have swarmed the market in recent years, and there’s now a drone to suit every type of consumer: would-be filmmakers can capture stunning panoramic videos, making them excellent hiking and adventure companions; sports enthusiasts are tracked by slimmed-down machines designed for speed and agility; while drone racing has become so popular that in 2016 Dubai hosted the World Drone Prix with a prize pool of $1 million.
In the world of aviation, however, the emergence of drones has been a little less welcome. Numerous airports, from Gatwick to Dubai International, have encountered disruptions from fliers operating drones within restricted airspace, and last year the British pilots association BALPA, citing safety concerns from potential collisions, called on the UK government to crack down on the use of drones near airports. Other European nations, including France and the Netherlands, have taken to training eagles to hunt and bring down drones that stray too close to airfields.
On the other hand, last year Edmonton International Airport began using defensive drones to combat the problem posed by menacing birds, using “Robirds” developed by Clear Flight Solutions to scare birds away from runways.
While drones were once a relatively niche sector, they have now become one of the technology world’s most competitive, with the pack leaders almost all based in China. (From our list, Parrot is the only non-Chinese brand to make the cut). Intense market competitiveness has even seen high-profile companies such as GoPro, renowned for its durable action cameras, being forced to announce the closure of its entire Karma drone division after struggling to gain a foothold.
With so many options available these days, knowing which drone to buy can be a daunting task. We’ve selected six of the top performers to help you with your decision.