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There are now 35,000 drone patents in existence

How many different things can you do with a drone? More than 35,000, apparently.

There are about 35,000 drone patents or drone-related patents in existence.

That’s according to a study released by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Danish Technological Institute. Their research looked at the total number of UAS (that’s industry jargon for drone)-related patents year by year since 1990. They found about 35,000 total patents that include the word UAS, or a variation such as UAV or drone.

80 percent of those patents are ridiculously young, having been published in 2016 or later, proving that the drone industry has rapidly grown in just the past few years. Twenty years ago in 1998, just 34 UAS-related patents were published. In 2018, there were 11,393.

drone patents

The patents they found encompass everything from drone platforms themselves to materials used to make them, navigation,
or energy systems, or tech related to their application such as imaging or data analysis.

Some of the drone-related patents out there are incredibly fascinating and shed light on the industry’s creative industry.

Three patents applied for by Disney back in 2014 indicated that drones could hold marionettes or projection screens for nighttime entertainment.

disney drone patents nighttime entertainment fireworks uavs

“This is a significant improvement over prior flying characters, which typically were provided in the form of parade or other blimps/balloons filled with hot air or other gases and that had little and/or awkward articulation of any movable parts,” according to one of the Disney patents.

One of the Disney drone patents indicated that drones could even potentially replace fireworks, which can be dangerous and inconsistent. Intel has since adopted that idea, having used drones for nighttime light shows at events such as Coachella, the Super Bowl and, yes, even Walt Disney World.  

Another fascinating drone patent was granted to Amazon last summer titled “Hostile Takeover Avoidance of Unmanned Vehicles”,  an indication that Amazon is considering how it can prevent possible hostile drone takeovers (to prevent your expensive Amazon Prime Now orders from being stolen en route?).

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