Spying, warfare, terrorism attack are the terms that come to mind when the word “Drone” was mentioned a few years back. This perception has changed over the years as innovation has been the big thing, especially in science and technology. Various fields and business has improved tremendously due to numerous technological advancement including automated technologies such as drones.
Discovery of drones
Drones were first discovered by Abraham Karem in 1951. Scientists took the hummingbird as the inspiration behind the invention of drones. Drones generally consist of power sources such as battery or fuel, rotors, propeller and cooling systems, electronic speed controllers. Based on the type of aerial platform, there are major types of drones:
- Multi-Rotor Drones
- Fixed Wing Drones
- Single Rotor Helicopter
- Fixed Wing Hybrid VTOL
Drones are excellent for high-quality aerial photography, 3D imaging, capturing live events, surveying dangerous areas, keeping eyes on wildlife, also to provide security to public gatherings, sporting events to mention but a few. Other areas drones are used are as follows:
Inspection is very important in Construction industries as well as the safety and health of workers. Thus, drones are adopted in inspecting dangerous locations on sites and in mining operations. Increased accuracy in reporting, improved safety conditions, obtaining visual data on the progress of construction operations are easier and more efficient using drone technology.
Drones are used for several functions in construction which includes:
•Pre-planning to show changes in elevation, drainage spot, etc.
•Keeping clients updated
•Structure and job site inspection
•Security and surveying
Businesses like Walmart and Amazon had discovered the potentials of using drones as a scope to scale their businesses and make deliveries even to remote areas using remotes or mobile electronic devices in controlling the activities with a little amount of time, energy and effort exerted. Google and Amazon are developing their drones so that shipment can be delivered by air in a much shorter time.
The commercial drone industry is rapidly growing as industrial conglomerates, IT consulting firms, chip companies, and major defense contractors had begun to make major investments in it. Drone technology is on a vast scale to increasing work efficiency, decreasing workload, reducing production cost, improving accuracy, refining service, resolving security issues in industries globally, and so on.
The first commercial medical supplies drone delivery system in the world, Ziplines, is designed to deliver vaccines, blood, lab samples of tests, even small during medical emergencies, and other critical supplies to health practitioners in remote areas. This has enabled more lives to be saved and more efficient work for health workers.
In Agriculture, the implementation of drone technology has made it possible to increase efficiency on how to farm activities are carried out. Farmers can work smarter on tasks like farm surveys, crop monitoring, irrigation management, fertilizer application, livestock management, etc. to increase crop yield and return on investment. This farm management concept is known as Precision Agriculture.
Taking into consideration, climatic changes pattern and rapidly growing population, the need for smarter agriculture are going to become more important. Drones would be needed to achieve more efficiency in various aspects like identifying weed infestation, monitoring overall crop health, soil sampling, crop mapping, data collection on soil quality, nutrient measurement, weather forecasting, and so on. Drones are equipped with infrared cameras, programmable controllers, propulsion systems, GPS, custom-made data processing software.
Drones have revolutionized military operations in the way in which defense strategies are planned and executed. It is used in targeting decoys, supervision, combat mission, research, and development, etc. military forces has a goal to triumph over large enemies with minimum sacrifices and resources which deems it fit for military drones to have higher precision and accuracy to drones used in agriculture or construction.
An Indian military action movie, Uri: The surgical strike, used a robotic eagle called garuda in sneaking out information. Drones would continue to be applied in various military operations due to their high convenience in reducing loss and enabling the execution of high-profile and time-sensitive missions.
Personal drone technology
Individuals with interest in photography, film making, gaming by tech-savvy enthusiast purchases personal drones. There are safety concerns that have been imposed on them by regulators and law enforcement agencies. Potential applications for personal drones include home security, child monitoring, creation of virtual tours amongst other possibilities.
There’s no denying that presence of drones has had a far-reaching positive impact on the world at large. Despite the incredible improvement that drone technologies have brought in improving efficiency, it also has a list of typical issues or threats that accompanies their uses. Some of these issues are:
- Short lifespan: Drones tend to have a short flight time, although the operation time has been increased, they can fly 30minutes on full battery level and lesser if there is a strong wind.
- Risk of military use
- Signal management
- Easily hacked
- Flight over areas where flights are prohibited or inappropriate
- Collision with buildings, structures and monuments
- Drone collision with people can cause injury
The future of drones
Drones are spectacular gifts to technology. They are quickly becoming more advanced, more accessible, and cheaper for companies as well as consumers who buy them for personal uses.
Drones would be utilized in:
Smart cities and IoT: an integrated system of drones with an on-ground IoT sensor network can help energy companies survey power lines and operational equipment. They can also help agricultural companies with land monitoring and farm survey.
Science and research: drones can be deployed in research applications such as archaeological and meteorological research, geophysical surveying, identification of methane leaks, glacier surveillance, and more.
Commercial, Industrial, and Insurance Inspection: drones are used to perform an inspection that can be costly and dangerous for human-like wind turbines, bridges, solar panels, and cell, and TV towers
The next generation of drones will be smarter drones with smart accurate sensors and in-built safeguards and compliance tech that would provide more opportunities in the logistics, transport, commercial and other sectors. All these technologies continue to evolve and grow, drones will become safer and more dependable.