Drones, drones, drones. They’re everywhere now and it’s not just geeky gadget fans in parks that are buzzing multi-rotor unmanned aircraft around. The age of the drone is upon us and it seems like every day there’s a story about some new and innovative use for them. People may have developed a taste for the good old days, but drones are a constant reminder that this is the 21st century.
Sure, we all know that they get used in the film industry or to do boring stuff such as mapping, but there are many amazing ways you can get a drone to work for you.
Here are five of the most interesting and innovative new uses people have found for drones.
Skydiving is one of the most thrilling, adrenaline-fueled and frankly insane things that a human being can do. It’s also incredibly expensive and only a few well-off thrill seekers can afford to hire the plan, helicopter and other parts of the puzzle you need to get up into the sky so you can fall out of it.
In May of 2017 a company called Aerones used a custom, heavy-duty drone to lift a human being up to a safe height for a skydive.
Well, OK perhaps that’s not exactly skydiving height. For this first test they were able to get the poor guy up to 330m and you’ll notice that they launched from a tower. Still as a proof of concept this is impressive.
Companies like Uber are putting a lot of money into self-driving cars, but we still don’t have the flying cars we’ve all been promised in science fiction. That’s probably a good thing given how badly people drive on the ground, but autonomous vehicles may make that a non-issue.
In the middle of 2016 the FAA cleared an autonomous quadcopter built as a passenger vehicle for testing in the Nevada desert. It’s called the “184” and is a product of a Chinese company by the name of EHang.
It’s only designed to carry a single passenger and a light one at that, but if it passes muster this could be the beginning of a revolution in travel. Imagine whipping out your smartphone and getting an up running that sends a flying drone to your location. Just get in and hold on!
Obviously, there are many safety concerns that have to be addressed and it’s likely to be quite expensive at first, but this is the point where we’ll really feel like we’re living in the future.
When Amazon first announced that they were considering using drones to deliver packages to their customers quite a few people thought that it was at best a joke and at worst a complete waste of time and money.
It seems however that Amazon knew what it was doing and the Amazon Air technology is finally at a point where it’s practical.
All you must do is order the package online as usual and the drone will fly to your home, land on a special pad provided by Amazon and drop your package before returning home.
It really does work, but it’s going to be a while before it becomes a mainstream delivery method.
Police have been using special RC planes for a few years now to help find suspects and provide aerial reconnaissance, but it’s only now that the idea of a police multirotor is coming into its own.
In the US about 160 police departments bought drones in 2016 which they use to find and chase suspects. It seems like being a drone pilot could be a good career choice going forward. They’ve had quite a bit of success with these flying robocops too. Just as in the military, small surveillance drones give law enforcement valuable intel without putting any officers at risk.
Drones are also quiet and tiny compared to a helicopter, which runs out of fuel quickly and is very expensive to deploy. A drone, on the other hand, is only a battery-swap away from being back in the air and is orders of magnitude cheaper to use. This means that aerial surveillance can now be used in cases where it may not have been justified before.
Although the police are taking to drones with enthusiasm, these flyers are not only getting people into trouble, but out of trouble too. SAR or “search and rescue” drones are starting to take their place in the toolkits of rescue workers across the world.
Even as far back as 2011 we saw SAR drones go to work around the Fukushima nuclear power plant and even today they’re being used to monitor the disaster zone in a way that’s unsafe and impractical for human beings.
SAR drones can be equipped with the same sorts of IR technology the police drones use to find suspects, looking for lost campers, hikers and mountaineers.
It’s not just good for getting visual confirmation of people in need. SAR drones can drop supplies such as food, water and medical supplies while rescuers try to get to the often-inaccessible locations people get stuck.
A Drone Future
Aerial drones are going to play a major role in our daily lives going forward. As they become stronger, cheaper and increase in range the uses for them will also expand. The cities of the future may have a constant stream of drones overhead doing everything from delivering food to inspecting things like power lines and building integrity.
One interesting idea is for a drone “hive”. A large central building where drones come to recharge in between their daily tasks. It’s not just in the cities either, drones are set to change the farming industry as well.
Drones may not be something most regular people will own. After all, even when asking a group of technology blogger what their top gadgets of all time were, only one cited drone technology. Yet, drones will be everywhere we look not too far in the future, so don’t underestimate the power of drones!
About Guest Author:
Kostas Chiotis is a technology super-fan and regular tech blogger. Apart from a soft spot for drones, he writes about the latest hardware and software developments. If that’s your thing, read his blog at Techisignals.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter to always be up to date with the latest tech trends.
Images are Public Domain via Pixabay