Unmanned aerial vehicles have long been a staple for the U.S. military, both for surveillance and to use as weapons, but that's just the start of the industry's potential. Drone usage in the military shows no signs of slowing down.
Outside of the military, drones are entering the mainstream. Consumer products have proven popular for photographers and videographers. Going beyond that, Amazon hopes to revolutionize the shipping industry by using drones to deliver products to customers in record time. It sounds like pie in the sky, but it could happen.
The possibilities of drones both in military and civilian life are still being explored, as the industry is largely still in its infancy. For investors looking to get into this promising industry, here are three companies involved in drones that are worth investing it.GPRO data by YCharts
GoPro's stock performance since going public in June 2014 has been dismal, with a 30% drop in its initial price. This year the stock has been hit particularly hard, with a drop of 60%. Its most recent quarter missed expectations, and GoPro offered weak guidance for the holidays. Those numbers don't look good, but GoPro is settling in on realistic prices after irrational hype.
GoPro makes the tiny video cameras that are the standard for consumers piloting drones for photography and videography. The popularity of the product is widespread, and growth continues even though it's below expectations. One of the problems facing the company is that the product appears too well designed, as customers aren't upgrading as often as Wall Street likes.
The company missed out on the development of drones, but now is planning to enter the market. GoPro is playing catch-up to its competitors, but the brand is so strong that sales could generate a lot of first-time drone buyers. GoPro's drone is expected to come out in 2016, and the stock could remain a bargain until then.