Yes you are right. 3-D printing is no longer just for prototypes, but can also be used for limited-run end-user products. For long runs its still cheaper to use stamp dies for sheet metal, injection molds for plastic parts, and CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools for metal parts, but I predict that the day is in sight when even mass produced items will be using cheap, super-fast versions of todays 3-D printers.
With this type of application, it is very possible that 3D could have real impact on commerce and industry far beyond where anyone would have imagined. Its application is evolving and this sector is just young.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.