‘Drone’ is a layman term for the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is basically defined as an aircraft without a human pilot. These are either operated by a remote control or autonomously by onboard computers. The idea behind designing these vehicles was to put them to use where humans cannot reach or the missions which are too dangerous to be carried out manually. However, presently a lot of other evaluations are being undertaken so as to explore new possibilities.
Mentioned below is a list of 10 applications of drones that are going to pave the way for the commercialization of drone technology in the years to come.
Autonomous aircrafts fitted with autopilot features and multiple sensors have become an essential part of the modern agricultural techniques. These drones are capable of flying over the fields and make use of GPS. Besides, there is a pin-and-shoot-camera to capture the images that offer three kinds of view.
The aerial view gives information about soil variation as well as pest and fungal infestation which is otherwise difficult to observe. Secondly, the use of infrared technology reveals the difference between healthy and unhealthy plants which is not possible to detect with naked eyes. Lastly, it can create a time-series animation showcasing the changes in the crop, thereby assisting in better crop management.
Even though it will take some time to integrate the drones into journalism in a full-fledged manner, it is being used extensively for coverage of news, specifically sports news. Drones provide a better resolution of images and are much more efficient than the fixed/rail cameras. Moreover, these are much cheaper and act as an ideal option when there is a need to record the audio as these don’t create any noise.
Whether it’s the basketball game, a traffic jam, or a fire accident, drones can capture everything with precision at any desired angle. Further, a drone can follow-along with the action, for example, it can keep moving with the athletes running in a race and capture them closely. It is believed that the drone technology is likely to change the way we watch TV in near future.
Although FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is not quite in the favour of drones being used for delivering products, companies like DHL, Dominos and Amazon are constantly exploring this possibility at their respective levels. Amazon has even patented their aerial delivery service with the name Amazon Prime Air with which customers will be able to order and receive products at short distances in less than 30 minutes.
However, this is subject to concerns about reliability and public safety owing to the lack of feasibility of drone technology. Companies are facing a lot of challenges and trying their best to get through the issues.
Mining is yet another field where drones are proving to be quite helpful in inspecting areas which are not accessible by the workforce. Moreover, these are also efficient in handling jobs that are dangerous to be performed manually, such as covering areas like pit walls and mine entrances. Drones are easy to use and cost much less as compared to the conventional methods involving helicopters.
Apart from this, drones are also helpful in mapping and modeling the mining sites, thereby offering accurate outcomes conveniently. Some mining companies are even equipping the quadcopters with multi-spectral imagery devices that assist in searching for minerals.
Drones and quadcopters are gaining a lot of popularity in the construction business where they perform a whole lot of functions like surveying and inspecting the site, monitoring the workers, and revealing the construction status. The aerial views captured by these vehicles are also utilised by the architects for 3D modeling.
It’s not just assisting construction but is also offering as a great marketing tool, thereby benefiting the businessmen. Apart from the buildings, the drone technology is also a great boon for inspecting the roads, bridges, and flyovers. This technique can considerably ensure quality and increase the efficiency of construction.
6. Aircraft Inspection
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Presently the aircrafts are inspected manually by the trained engineers and hence takes a lot of time. The interiors and underside are still easy to inspect but the top and side areas require movable platforms. As a result, certain airlines are exploring the possibility of using drones for this purpose so as to speed up the process.
Using the drone technology would mean that the quads will be able to fly over the airplanes and capture HD videos and images which can be further reviewed by the engineers remotely. Moreover, if this option works out in the near future then companies will also be able to offer new vacancies in the form of drone experts and pilots.
Apart from the essential utilities of drones for commercial and security purposes, drones are now used for entertainment. Drone racing is a famous sport which kicked off recently in the year 2014 in Australia. The sport is called FPV drone racing, where FPV stands for First Person View. In this, the participants have to control their drones with the help of a head mounted display.
The drones used in this racing are equipped with cameras whose footage is transmitted to the goggles worn by the participants through radio waves. The players keep watching what the drone is watching ahead of it and accordingly the remote is used to operate them so as to complete a set course and win the race.
8. Real Estate
Earlier the real estate agents had to rely on just one-dimensional images as a marketing tool which was later followed by virtual walkthroughs and videos. However, the latest addition to the list is the use of drones for capturing an aerial view of the property. Reportedly it is gaining a lot of popularity among the agents as well as customers.
The use of quadcopters not only ensures a better view of the house but also reveals the elements which may not be visible otherwise. It also offers a proper view of the building along with the neigbouring areas, the pool, garden, playground, etc. Moreover, one also gets to know the proper proximity of the house to the adjacent buildings and property.
9. Prevention of Diseases
Microsoft has proposed a project named Premonition according to which drones will be fitted with a bug collection devices which will catch mosquitoes in the desired areas. The devices will return with the collected bugs which will be then tested by scientists to predict any kind of danger in the form of life-threatening diseases or any other kind of epidemics.
As per Microsoft and the academic partners associated with the project, it would take several years to complete. However, if it works out as planned then it can be helpful in preparing for the infectious diseases beforehand and hence the treatment would be carried out timely.
10. Disaster Management
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Whether it’s a manmade or natural disaster, drones can offer a real quick and efficient way of managing the situation rather than using the manned helicopters. These unmanned vehicles can cover all narrow areas and easily navigate through difficult terrains. Moreover, these are equipped with HD cameras and radar that can easily track the lost humans and animals.
In addition to this, essential supplies like medicine, food or walkie-talkie can be sent to the injured and stranded victims before the rescue team reaches them. This technology even works at night and gathers a lot of information in no time which can be vital in the planning of rescue operations.
From necessity to luxury and from innovation to entertainment, the drone technology is being evolved and developed constantly to benefit the masses. Most of the areas are still exploring a possibility but we have already come very far with the utilization of drones and quadcopters. These 10 applications of drones are either being utilised or explored, but very soon a lot of other possibilities are likely to be introduced.
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