Here Comes The War For Commercial Drone Dominance

(Bloomberg) At some point in the not-too-distant future, fleets of commercial drones are expected to swarm across American skies. Companies in a wide range of industries will employ unmanned vehicles for tactical advantage—inspecting infrastructure, surveying crops, maybe even estimating how much your new roof will cost.

And when these drones fly, a torrent of data will follow them like an invisible contrail.

“Data is the new oil,” Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich said this week at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual Xponential conference in Dallas, the industry’s top trade show. He cited a growing competitive “separation” between companies that collect and understand their data and those that don’t. A single autonomous car can generate the same data trove as 3,000 people surfing the internet, while a small drone fleet could easily create 150 terabytes of data per day, he said (1,000 gigabytes equals 1 terabyte). “The data rate is going to explode on us in the next few years,” Krzanich said.

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