1. Companies using drones: BT
BT has been experimenting with using drones to provide temporary internet coverage to battlefields, disaster zones and hard-to-reach areas. If networks are impaired by floods in the future, UAVs could first assess the damage and then provide internet access to the area through tethered drones and balloons
Techworld learned about the technology during a tour of BT's main research facility in Adastral Park in Suffolk. BT also revealed a further potential application for drones, as supporting vehicles for kinetic mesh networks using mounted devices as nodes to improve connectivity and flexibility.
Winds, weight, and battery life are current barriers to effectiveness, but tethered connections and ongoing developments in areas such as lighter batteries and GPS tracking are rapidly reducing the limitations.
2. Companies using drones: US military
During a test in California yesterday, the US military launched 103 miniature swarming drones from the body of a fighter jet. The drones are 'operate autonomously and share a distributed brain'.
What's more, the drones should be able to bypass air defence systems and even adapt to the flying patterns of other drones to mimic flight patterns in nature.
Previously, the military brought consumer quadcopters and octocopters to the Network Integration Evaluation war games at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and Fort Bliss, Texas.
In May 2016, the US Navy tested drones that could launch into the sky for rapid deployment.
3. Companies using drones: Amazon Prime
In December 2016, Amazon announced that it had started a drone delivery trial in the UK with two shoppers receiving their items by drone. Amazon aims to get these numbers in the 10s then the 100s for those living locally to the Cambridge area.
The first delivery saw a package reaching its owner in 13 minutes, from click to delivery.
Previously, Amazon had announced that it will partner with the British government to test small delivery drones - the first tests of its kind in the UK.
The Civil Aviation Authority is allowing Amazon to test drones, with the aim to explore three key areas; flights beyond line of sight, obstacle avoidance and multiple autonomous drones.
What's more, last year Amazon advertised drone operator for a who would be based in Cambridge. Applicants needed "flight test experience, manned or unmanned" and "5+ years of relevant aviation experience, either civilian or military with either manned or unmanned aviation".
It hoped to drop packages weighing less than 5lbs at customer's doors in half an hour through its Prime Air service.
4. Companies using drones: Telecommunication firms
Qualcomm announced earlier this year that it is joining forces with AT&T to create a new drone project. This project will test how well drones can fly on cellular networks.
Both companies will test drones at Qualcomm's San Diego campus, these test will include flying drones in simulated 'real world'environments.
5. Companies using drones: UPS
Last year, UPS announced that it has begun testing drones to make commercial deliveries to remote locations, working in partnership with drone-maker CyPhy Works.
In its initial test, UP staged a mock delivery of urgently medical care from Beverly, Massachusetts to an island three miles off the Atlantic coast.
6. Companies using drones: Royal Mail
Canadian-born Royal Mail CEO, Moya Greene, said that the postal service is considering both drones for air-mail as well as autonomous delivery trucks.
7. Companies using drones: Drones for farming
A wide range of organisations are exploring the use of drones for farming in the UK: from traditional vendors like Thales or Yamaha to universities, government-backed bodies and startups. Juniper Research estimates the agricultural sector will account for 48 percent of all commercial drones sales in 2016.
8. Companies using drones: Police Drones
Devon and Cornwall police are trialling drones fitted with HD cameras to help search for missing people, monitoring traffic accidents and capture crime scene photos in a similar way to the Helicopter response service.
9. Companies using drones: Asda Drones?
Asda's parent company, American retailer Walmart, applied for drone licenses to deliver shopping through the skies last year.
Sadly, the application has been made in the states, where Walmart is headquartered, so it may be some time until UK customers can fly their shopping home.
10. Companies using drones: NASA to work with UK for drone traffic system
The UK government is discussing a drone traffic management system with NASA, Lord Ahmad Tariq, the Under Secretary of State for Transport, revealed in the House of Lords.
Peers have previously suggested that civilian drones could be tracked and traced for security and safety reasons.
11. Companies using drones: Gaudi's Sagrada Familia
The completion of Sagrada Familia has a deadline of 2026 and it aims to use drones to meet this target. Speaking to CIO UK, CIO Fernando Villa expresses interest in using drones to scan the building's tall exterior.
12. Companies using drones: BA pilot's open drone school
Four British Airways pilots opened a UK-based drone training school called UAV Air to help people learn how to fly unmanned aircraft safely and legally. Courses could set you back £1,150 - £1,500.
13. Companies using drones: Network Rail
Network Rail's ORBIS project, which will see the railways in the UK digitised with 3D cameras and visualised online to analyse maintenance and field worker distribution. It currently uses aerial cameras but would like to use drones to get a better picture of the transport networks.
14. Companies using drones: Balfour Beatty
The construction firm's CIO said in 2013 said he would assess whether drones would be useful for building walls and increasing staff safety.
15. Companies using drones: DHL
Logistics firm DHL has been working on drone deliveries long before Amazon. It has even delivered to a pharmaceutical company based on an Island in Germany using its parcelcopter.
completed its three-month-long test of its automated drone delivery system, Parcelcopter. According to DHL, the Parcelcopter completed 130 autonomous loading and unloading procedures during numerous differing weather conditions and temperature fluctuations.
16. Companies using drones: Shell
Shell uses drones in some of Europe's largest energy plants, and is rolling them out in oil and gas facilities in hard-to-reach places (like tall towers or the underside of an offshore oil rig) because it is safer, and more efficient, than sending people.
17. Companies using drones: BBC and other British Media
Media outlets like the BBC and Al Jazeera have begun using drones to film overhead - but with some undesirable consequences. Three BBC journalists were questioned after breaching high-level security protocols in Davos for the World Economic Forum, and Parisian police arrested three Al Jazeera reporters after their drone was spotted in the Boi de Boulogne skies.
18. Companies using drones: Easyjet
Budget airline easyJet has begun completing safety inspections on its aircrafts using drones.
The drone was tested at Luton airport, with plans to roll the technology out to the rest of the network in by the end of 2016.
19. Companies using drones: Park rangers in Africa
Spanish engineers at Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona have developed a drone that could be used to catch rhino poachers in national parks in Africa, thanks to its thermal vision technology.
20. Companies using drones: UK government
Drones in the Ministry of Defence and other areas of the government are a closely guarded secret. In the past, the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Cross Government Working Group has refused to outline its drone policy. This could be about to change now that it has settled with the Information Commisioner's Office outside of court, over Freedom of Information Act rules.