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

After our jobs.
After our jobs.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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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.