Fishes With Robots: Drones Put New Spin on Fly-Fishing

Watching this video of a man using a drone to catch a live fish, I had one of those moments where you go: “WTF will they think up next?” I’ll admit it looks like fun though, if not exactly for the poor tiny fish who’s having an X-Files kind of day. At least the man gives the bewildered creature a kiss for his troubles before tossing it back in the water.

And while I’m not sure whether that’s £15,000 worth of fun (that’s how much the DJI Phatom 4 Fishing Edition package retails for at Drones Direct) it does showcase an interesting use of the technology. You certainly won’t be catching big fish (the maximum weight of a catch the drone can bring back is 200 grams) but the drone can be operated up to 100m above water and controlled from a distance of 2km.

Drone Fishing 3

The inbuilt live camera feature means the drone can be used to locate and observe schools of fish without disturbing them, and it’s easy to see how that could be used for conservation or wildlife filming, for example.

Drone Fishing 2
Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…

Drones — the type you can buy, at least — are still too cumbersome, fragile and expensive, but they are getting a lot better and cheaper, and the technology will develop fast over the next few years.

The key question is when we might reach a tipping point that will allow for mass-market adoption and sustainable commercial use cases. In places like Africa, where road infrastructure can often be poor or nonexistent and vast distances make it challenging to get supplies to isolated communities, drones could prove a real lifeline.

It’s easy to dismiss some of the hobbyist uses of drones as a gimmick, but we should actually treat them like prototypes. They are costly, small-scale proof-of-concept that give us a glimpse of what is to come. A world where your Amazon deliveries will literally fall from above, and ‘eyes in the sky’ will be a standard part of the toolkit in everything from law enforcement to agriculture and disaster management.

Amazon prime air

The market for UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) drones will be worth an estimated 6 Billion USD by 2020, but the overall drone market is set to hit a staggering 127 billion according to PWC . This, perhaps paradoxically, also includes the anti-drone market, which is expected to grow to over a Billion USD in the same period.

The map below shows how varied and vast the drone technology ecosystem already is, and we should bear in mind that — like VR and 3D Printing, we’ve only just started scratching the surface of what’s possible. In the future, you really could be sending out your flying robot to catch a fresh fish for supper. In the meantime though, unless you’ve got a very small appetite don’t go ditching the fishing rod just yet…

The-Drone-Market-Environment-Map-picture

Originally published at Alice Bonasio.

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