Drones, riding the wave

Drones, riding the wave

Diffusion of innovation

Its Easter and the holidays, a few sweet sherries with a few dear friends have flowed.

The topic of just where the drone world is going has cropped up and lead me to think about where I would place it on the Diffusion of Innovation curve and remind myself of the Gartner hype cycle of 2012. My drinking companions being the sorts that have real jobs that care about things like bell curves.


In 2012 the Gartner  gave autonomous vehicles 5 years to reach the plateau of productivity and I reckon that’s fair.

By 2017 many of the niggles will be ironed out in flight controllers and many more safeguards put in place to stop end users doing stupid things. Aviation authorities just about everywhere will have cast iron regulations in place. Something that prevents big business entering the game at the moment.

The actual method of flight control will almost certainly have moved completely away from traditional RC controllers and let the machines do all of the driving. The operator just telling the RPAS what he or she wants it to do.

I believe we are getting ready to slide into the Trough of Disillusionment and here’s why.

First I must define the market, right now it really means multirotors. They are outselling there fixed wing cousins many times over.

Lets go back to diffusion of innovation we need to place the market into a bracket. The number of April Fool drone stories and different platforms arriving in Google ads as I surf the web is a pointer. Google trends clearly shows a rise in interest.


People have heard of multirotors they have been on South Park and Top Gear the BBC even has a unit that operates them. They were a must have dads and lads present all over the world for Christmas 2014. I think that the market rolled over from early adopters to the start of early majority last Christmas.

A great deal of the early majority have been over sold and under trained.

They believe the platform they have chosen can easily get a job done and did not bother to check the rules before they bought it.

On the back of a beer mat the amount of money they are going to make with their GoPro drone is astounding.

That early majority are beginning to wake up and realise its not quite as simple and starting to surf the fall.

This all made sense over a pint, perhaps you disagree feel free to argue with me on the usual channels.






Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.