Drones, by one definition, are neither high-tech toys nor lethal weapons. They are worker bees that are the foundation of a colony. And that's where the future lies in nondefense industries like farming, insurance, and construction, which, Goldman Sachs predicts, will drive a $13 billion industry through 2020. The skies are beginning to buzz. From late 2014 to last April, the FAA issued 3,100 exemptions to nonpilots covering nearly 40 situations to fly drones. Looking at the current 5,500 exemptions, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group, found that the majority of them have gone to small businesses.
The graph below shows their growing applications