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EYES IN THE SKY

Drones could replace $127 billion worth of human labor and services

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg points to a drone flying behind him during his keynote address at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference Tuesday, April 12, 2016, in San Francisco. Facebook says people who use its Messenger chat service will soon be able to order flowers, request news articles and talk with businesses by sending them direct text messages. At its annual conference for software developers, Zuckerberg said the company is releasing new tools that businesses can use to build "chat bots," or programs that talk to customers in conversational language. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
After our jobs.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

For many people, drones are what they found neatly wrapped underneath the Christmas tree this past holiday season. But piloting flying lawnmowers around the park for fun is just part of the consumer side of the technology. Drones are also expected to transform how companies do business.

A report released by PwC today (May 9) estimates that commercial applications for drones will replace $127 billion worth of services and labor “in the very near future.”

It’s easy to see why businesses are embracing drone technology. By providing eyes from the sky, drones offer real-time monitoring (useful in security, insurance, and media) and reduce the need for humans to perform dangerous work on site (such as in mining and construction). Companies like Amazon and Google also have ambitions to use drones to efficiently and quickly deliver packages by air.

PwC singles out infrastructure—which encompasses the energy, railway, and oil and gas industries—as the sector that’ll benefit most from drone technology. The firm says that drones have the potential to replace $45.2 billion of services and labor in infrastructure.

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