The use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has become increasingly important for the U.S. military in recent years. These advanced technologies offer a range of benefits that make them invaluable in modern warfare.
Drones provide a safer alternative to traditional manned aircraft, allowing for operations in dangerous or remote areas without risking the lives of pilots. They also offer enhanced surveillance capabilities, allowing military personnel to monitor enemy movements and gather intelligence without the need for ground troops.
Additionally, drones can be equipped with various weapons systems, allowing them to engage targets with precision and accuracy from a safe distance. As such, drones and UAVs have become a critical component of the U.S. military's arsenal, and their use is likely to continue to expand in the future.
One company that is working closely with the U.S. military to expand drone technologies and capabilities is Epazz, Inc. (OTC Pink: EPAZ) and its ZenaDrone subsidiary.
How Much is the U.S. Military Spending On Drones & What Is The Growth Outlook For UAVs?
For the fiscal year 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) set aside $8.2 billion for the research, development, testing, and evaluation of unmanned systems and robotic technologies. This represents an increase of roughly $700 million in funding for drones compared to the fiscal 2021 budget. The annual DoD budget for UAVs has been increasing over the past several years. For context, the U.S. DoD allocated $7.5 billion to these specialized technologies during the fiscal year 2018.
Another factor driving the U.S.’s growth in drone and military spending is heavily influenced by China’s increased military output. In March 2023, China announced it increased defense spending by 7.1% in 2022 to 1.45 trillion yuan. For 2023, China has already announced an additional 7.2% spending increase to a new annual total of 1.56 trillion yuan.
China has also been cozying up to Middle East nations looking to bolster their armed drone fleets. In fact, China and Saudi Arabia began working together in 2022 to develop military drones that have communications, flight control, camera, radar, and wireless detection capabilities.
According to Markets N Research, the global autonomous drone market was valued at $15.5 billion in 2022 and is estimated to reach a valuation of $56.5 billion by 2030. This represents a very impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.30% between 2023 and 2030. The market research firm notes that the growth estimate is being driven by the projected rise of UAVs across a wide range of applications, including national security, government operations, and commercial uses.
Given the tremendous growth in the autonomous drone market coupled with an early-stage arms race between the U.S. and China, spending and demand for the latest and greatest drone technologies will likely continue to see meaningful growth through the rest of the decade at least.
Introducing Epazz and ZenaDrone
Epazz is an Illinois-based provider of mission-critical drone technology, blockchain mobile apps, and cloud-based business software solutions. The company trades on the OTC Markets board under the symbol "EPAZ." For this article, we will be focusing on Epazz’s ZenaDrone subsidiary.
ZenaDrone provides multifunctional UAVs integrated with machine learning systems, multispectral sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Using its camera capture feature, ZenaDrone can create an interactive 3D environment that can be manipulated and simulated through the use of predictive AI analytics, also known as predictive modeling. This means that the interactive 3D environment can combine acquired data with predictive analytics to forecast future outcomes.
The ZenaDrone 1000's portable size is fitted with foldable carbon fiber propellers for quicker speed and steadfast hovering in the air. Its body is enveloped and reinforced with durable carbon fiber wrap to resist humidity, heat, moisture, and other atmospheric impacts on the drone's integrity. The ZenaDrone 1000 is an intelligent smart drone for commercial, industrial, and agricultural use. It is integrated with machine learning software and artificial intelligence for precise navigation. Autofitted with detachable hardware components, it is customizable to meet unique business and industrial needs.
While the military application of ZenaDrone is the initial focus of Epazz, the UAV systems have a wide application use across numerous industries including farming & agriculture, environmental monitoring, power line & utility inspection, oil & gas, mining, construction, livestock management, and many more.
ZenaDrone: Recent News & Developments
Since the start of 2023, Epazz and ZenaDrone have seen very meaningful updates in their mission to secure the companies’ first government contract for the ZenaDrone 1000 UAV. Over the past three months, ZenaDrone has been awarded a utility patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its predictive AI smart charging pad for its ZenaDrone 1000.
Furthermore, Epazz and ZenaDrone have been invited by the U.S. Air Force to visit a California airbase to demonstrate and showcase the ZenaDrone 1000 model. In addition, the companies are working on securing Phase 1 SBIR and access to the BlueUAS program.
Here is a deeper breakdown of Epazz and ZenaDrone’s recent accomplishments:
7th: Epazz Holdings is proud to announce the receipt of their newly issued utility patent from the US Patent Office - an AI predictive smart charging pad specifically designed for the ZenaDrone 1000. This marks their second patent granted for ZenaDrone technology, with two additional patents currently being reviewed. The ZenaDrone team plans to utilize predictive AI analytics to further enhance its AI technology and expand its global impact across a multitude of industries.
The Drone Smart Charging Pad is expected to be priced at less than $15,000, which is very competitive compared to the other drone charging options available on the market today. Many competitor options have charging pads for drones weighing less than 55 pounds with a price tag between $4,000 and $15,000. The smart charging bad has a built-in computer vision feature that allows it to understand its surrounding environment and select the best location for charging. The charging pad also has options for solar panels or wind power, which gives the ability to charge in remote locations.
1st: The US Air Force has cordially invited ZenaDrone to display its revolutionary ZenaDrone 1000 at a California air base on the 16th and 17th of March - marking the first time a military base has interacted with drone technology. With an eye on US government contracts, the company has already applied for Phase 1 SBIR contracts and is actively seeking out additional partnerships for Phase 2. In addition, they have applied to the US government's BlueUAS program, which encourages the use of Made-in-America drones. ZenaDrone is making sure to leave no stone unturned as it strives to make its mark in the industry!
27th: Epazz recently submitted Phase 1 SBIR proposals for ZenaDrone, an innovative provider of multifunctional unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with machine learning systems, multispectral sensors, and AI technology. As the US government strives to meet its need for non-Chinese drones, they have initiated the BlueUAS program to acquire American-made drones. Currently, ZenaDrone is in the process of applying for the BlueUAS program - a list that is still growing.
ZenaDrone estimates to hear back within 90 days from the government regarding its Phase 1 SBIR proposal. Once Phase 1 has been approved, ZenaDrone will be able to submit proposals up to $75,000. The company says it will then begin the steps to move up to Phase 2 SBIR, which increases the contract amount to up to $1.2 million per proposal.
CEO Shaun Passley, Ph.D., said, “We are taking multiple pathways to becoming a government contractor of drones. It is a major opportunity for us, as Chinese drones are banned by the US government. It has opened up major demands for our drones.”
14th: Epazz has revealed that their subsidiary, ZenaDrone, will be presenting demonstrations of their drone technology to U.S. government agencies. These demonstration flights will provide an opportunity to show how the drone performs in specialized settings, following the success of ZenaDrone's appearances at various industry expos and conferences in 2022. These events led to the booking of these all-important flight demos.
Overall, Epazz and its ZenaDrone subsidiary are in a very great position to benefit from the forecasted growth and demand for autonomous drones and other UAV technologies. The U.S. military seems to be increasingly interested in testing out ZenaDrone and its capabilities, as seen with its recent invite from the U.S. Air Force to come to showcase its technology at a California airbase. This represents a major opportunity for the company to get first-person feedback from military personnel on the ZenaDrone 1000.
The road to its first government contract continues to gain steam after filing the Phase 1 SBIR proposal in late February 2023. This means ZenaDrone could get a response from the government around late May 2023 regarding the Phase 1 SBIR proposal. Management has already stated their interest in expanding to Phase 2 SBIR upon approval of Phase 1, as it will allow for total proposal amounts to increase from $75,000 to $1.2 million per contract.
In the end, Epazz’s initial focus on the military application for its drone business could serve as a great foundation and proof-of-concept for the company to go out and build out the ZenaDrone business in countless other applicable industries. Epazz and ZenaDrone appear to be setting up for a strong future.
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