-By Justin Landis
Every time I’m stuck in traffic I begin to wish I had a UAV at my disposal to look ahead and help me determine the delay. Well for all of you out there who’ve had the same thought, we’re in luck as European automaker Renault has just released a concept vehicle being dubbed “The Kwid.” This concept includes a small quadcopter, known as the “Flying Companion,” that can be deployed from a roof compartment and controlled by a tablet handily mounted on the dashboard.
Image (rt) courtesy of: http://www.renault.com/en/innovation/l-univers-du-design/pages/concept-cars.aspx
The vehicle was released at the New Delhi Auto Show earlier this month and is targeting the “younger” generation that has the desire to always be connected and apparently omniscient. Considering this concept is a small SUV that similarly comes with a center mounted steering wheel and room for two, it may not actually make it to market but the futuristic look and design may be an inspiration for automakers in the future. The small quadcopter can be flown manually by the tablet or by pre-set GPS waypoints and match the speed to the vehicle. The practical concepts include warning of traffic and delays, dangers on the road ahead and finding the ever elusive parking spot in a crowded mall parking lot.
But let’s be serious here, we all know that what this will really be used for is recreating your favorite Need for Speed driving escapades with a perfectly placed chase cam to capture all the perfect replay moments. I expect this to turn up soon enough on Top Gear or at the nearest race track to help replay laps and analyze proper racing lines and apex entries, although preferably in a different model of car. Who knows, now that I’ve seen this concept maybe I’ll just purchase a DJI Phantom and send it out of my sunroof and see what happens. SEE: http://mashable.com/2014/02/08/renault-kwid-drone/ This may be a concept and maybe even a gimmick but it may also be a foreshadowing of the growing acceptance and popularity of UAV’s.
A research report has just been released that details the current industry size and expectations for growth from 2013-2023. “The report titled ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market (2013-2018)’ states that the global UAV market size can be expected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2018 and $114.7 billion by 2023. The report also states that North America constitutes the majority share of the global UAV market and demand for UAVs in the US will continue to drive growth into the North American market. Source: [http://www.aviationpros.com/news/11312272/unmanned-aerial-vehicle-market-uav-worth-1147b-by-2023] That is, when the FAA finally figures out how to integrate UAVs to the Next Gen airspace system and if the target date is actually reached.
Other regions are also reported to see growth including Europe being predicted to spend $24.3 billion on UAVs across the forecast period and an 8.66% growth is expected in the Asia-Pacific region. While I doubt UAVs will replace the need for manned pilots, I do believe they will fly in our airspace someday as it’s just a matter of integrating these systems into the airspace both legally and safely. These systems will come in all shapes and size and will not all be the large military style UAVs seen on the news, however, they can be applied to many applications that can remove a manned pilot from a dangerous situation and ideally save time, money and lives. With industry growth being reported in all sectors of aviation, including aircraft manufacturing, pilot demand, and the UAV industry, it’s never been a better time to find the right program for you and begin your aviation career today.
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