Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, are one of the major areas for excitement in new gadgetry alongside the Internet of Things, wearables and virtual reality. Every day, stories are published on the regulation and use of drones in new applications, from deliveries and farming, to journalism and filming firework displays. While not a new phenomenon, our analysis of company filings over the last ten years shows the number of businesses referencing this technology is on the rise.

Which Companies Can Benefit?

So who are these companies? How can we identify those that might benefit from a surge in drone use — not just in the consumer market place, but in industry applications? The majority of companies we identified discussing the subject are found in the technology sector: Semiconductor companies, IT services, hard and software businesses. Industrials (mainly aerospace companies) are a close second and were the frontrunner until recently.

companies mentioning UAVs by sector

Other Uses for Drones

By sifting through the detail of company filings, presentations and transcripts for related keywords, it is possible to find interesting use cases for drones outside those in the military and retail spaces, as well as the companies developing and using the technology.

In utilities, drones are a safer and faster way to check infrastructure and buildings for faults. For example, Strat Aero PLC (AERO.GB), in collaboration with AirFusion, recently published an update on WindSpect, a wind turbine blade inspection solution. The system allows a UAV hexacopter to carry out a review of a remote wind turbine blade and generate a report on its condition.

In agriculture, drones are helping farmers manage their estates. Associated British Foods PLC (ABF.GB) stated in their latest annual report: “The SOYLsight service uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, to map fields, enabling growers to look at crops under different wavelengths of light, revealing aspects of crop growth that could not previously be measured.”

Finally, Oxysure Systems (OXYS), in the health care equipment industry, is designing ‘drones to carry kits designed for various types of emergencies or disasters.’ Julian Ross, CEO, stated in a related press release: “The recent floods in Texas have given us yet another set of examples in a long and ever growing list of situations where drones specifically configured for emergencies could have enhanced the heroic efforts of our first responders.”

Finding these examples with traditional means might take hours, or even longer, requiring access to and patience for reading through thousands of company documents. If you are interested in learning more about how you can scan all company filings at once for a theme like drones and its related synonyms, contact AlphaSense for a demonstration