Drone technology has been used by defence organizations and tech-savvy consumers for quite a while. However, the benefits of this technology extend quite into a lot more sectors. Drones are tackling everything, some new applications include emergency rescues, maritime applications, to simply delivering pizza, and more.
With the rising accessibilities of drones, many of the most dangerous and high-paying jobs are in for displacement by drone technology. As autonomy and collision-avoidance technologies improve, so will drones’ ability to perform increasingly complex tasks.
What exactly is a Drone?
A drone or a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) typically refers to a pilotless aircraft that operates through a combination of technologies, including, and rigorously improving upon, computer vision, artificial intelligence, object avoidance tech, and others. And now, drones are also being used as a ground or sea vehicle that operates autonomously.
Sizing up the market:
From forecasts, the emerging global market for business services using drones is valued at over $127B. As more companies look to capitalize on these commercial opportunities, investment into the drone space continues to grow rapidly.
Below, check out some 4 new ways, drones are being put to use.
While drones have been used by the military for over a decade now (the Predator UAV being the most well-known), smaller and portable drones are now being brought to use by ground forces on a regular basis.
Military spending for this technology is expected to grow as a huge chunk of the overall percentage of large military budgets, such as the United States’ enormous $640B defence budget. Offering specialized drone manufacturers and software developers a great opportunity.
Innovations in camera technology have had very significant impacts on the growing use of drones. UAVs outfitted with thermal imaging cameras have provided emergency response teams with an ideal solution for identifying the location of victims who are difficult to spot with the naked eye.
The Delft University of Technology tested an ambulance drone that could deliver defibrillators on demand. By extending the existing emergency infrastructure, drones will be able to dramatically increase survival rates in both rural and urban areas around the world.
Humanitarian aid and disaster relief:
In addition to general emergency response, drones have proved exceptionally useful during times of natural disaster. In the aftermath of hurricanes and earthquakes, UAVs have been helpful in assessing damage, locating victims, and delivering aid. And in certain circumstances, they are being used to predict, and prevent disasters, altogether.
To help monitor and combat highly troublesome forest fires, surveillance drones outfitted with thermal imaging cameras are being deployed to detect abnormal forest temperatures. By doing so, teams are able to identify areas most prone to forest fires or identify actual fires in just 3 minutes after they begin. While recreational drones are strictly prohibited in active forest fire regions, they have proved very useful when operated by the appropriate teams.
Navigating oceans and ports requires an immense amount of expertise and extensive labour. But, with increasing amounts of oceanic data and innovations in autonomy, unmanned marine vehicles, could very soon become the standard for maritime shipping. Rolls-Royce has already completed a significant number of trials with unmanned vessels controlled remotely.
Inspecting ships is also a vital and regular part of the industry. While Rolls-Royce plans to use smaller UAVs to inspect ships above the surface, Orobotix has designed an underwater drone used to inspect the hulls from below.
Drones are getting mainstream relevance, and more and more applications are being developed, that benefit consumers and businesses alike. Long live the drones.