Drones are changing the perspective

38 Ways Drones are Changing the way we live

Drones are playing a critical role in virtually everything ranging from tackling pandemics to cleaning up the ocean waste to delivering food stuff, and plenty more!. Drone technology has seen a massive uptick amongst users including military organizations and those technology enthusiasts. Having said that, the advantages of drones encompass far more fields rather than being restricted to only a few primary ones.

As drones have become more and more accessible, a large number of high-salaried professional jobs within the commercial sector are likely to be substituted by drone technology. The uses of drones includes but are not restricted to secure, low cost solutions in terms of data collection as well as delivery of goods directly to the consumer. With enhancement in autonomous flight and collision avoidance technologies, drones are becoming more and more capable to perform complex tasks.

According to the statistics released by PwC, the evolving global market for business services employing drones is valued above $127 billion. As the number of corporations planning to invest in this emerging technology is increasing with every passing day, drone technology is likely to become mainstream sooner rather than later.

A drone or an unmanned aerial vehicle generally refers to an aircraft that flies without the pilot being in the cockpit and operates by virtue of a blend of technologies such as computer vision, artificial intelligence, object avoidance and others. However, drones can be aerial or sea vehicles that function autonomously.

Let’s have a look at the different ways that modern day companies are employing drones for commercial purposes across the globe.

1 – Defense

Military organizations have been using drones for more than a decade. The Predator UAV is a brilliant example of such drones. These devices are small, easy to carry from one spot to another and are regularly being employed for land-based operations.

Military expenditure in this segment is expected to increase with a significant chunk of their budget likely to be earmarked specifically for drones. This makes the future prospects for specially designed drones and their manufacturers bright. The annual budget for drones in respect of the US military has seen a rise from $4 billion to $9 billion since 2014 according to the statistics released by the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. Recent estimates suggest that 95 countries around the world already bank on some kind of military drone technology, which was 60 just about a decade earlier.

A number of drones are being built specifically for reconnaissance while others are being developed for aggressive onslaughts. Prox Dynamics is a military grade UAV developer owned by FLIR Systems since 2016, provides several surveillance drones employed by militaries across the world such as the US marines, the British Army, the Australian Army and Norway’s Armed Forces.

Besides the use of new aerial technologies, militaries are using unmanned ground based vehicles to lead tactical onslaughts. Clearpath Robotics is a startup that excels in manufacturing both aerial as well as ground based drones with its services being hired by the US Department of Defense, the US Army and the US Navy.

2 – Emergency Response

With the development in sophisticated camera technology, drones have gained considerable significance in various sectors of life. Emergency response teams have been bestowed upon a tremendous technological prowess thanks to the integration of thermal imaging devices in unmanned aerial vehicles. These cameras can assist in identification of hidden individuals in emergency situations. 

Land Rover collaborated with the Australian Red Cross in 2017 to come up with a special operations vehicle incorporated with a thermal imaging drone on the roof of the device. The vehicle offers an inbuilt landing system which enables the drone to meticulously land on top of the vehicle while it is moving around. The customized Land Rover Discovery, also known as “Project Hero” is intended to save lives by expediting emergency response.

An emergency response program, was initiated by DJI last year that provides the men at the forefront of the emergency response with the opportunity to get their hands on the company’s leading devices alongwith accessories in addition to technical backstopping and help. DJI has been engaged in joint ventures with Lost Angeles and Menlo Park fire departments alongside Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Systems specially designed for search and rescue missions are also being engineered by startups and academia. Flyability is a collision-tolerant device that has the ability to operate in confined spaces with restricted line of sight which is pretty much similar to the situations tackled by the first responders in the hour of need. 

Delft University of Technology has conjured an ambulance drone that is designed to deliver defibrillators as and when required. By getting engaged in the present emergency response mechanism, drones are likely to increase the proportion of survivors in case of emergencies in both rural and urban surroundings around the world.

3 – Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief

Drones have proved themselves of great significance in the event of natural calamities. Drones have been employed to appraise the extent of damage, identification of persons in need and delivery of assistance and aid against the backdrop of hurricanes and earthquakes. As a matter of fact, these drones are also playing a crucial role in preventing natural disasters in certain critical scenarios as well.

Drones were deployed in 2017 to assist in the restoration of power in areas where Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc. In addition, drones were also used to survey the damage to flooded areas and helped in the search and rescue operation.

In a bid to keep an eye on the wildfires, reconnaissance drones loaded with thermal imaging cameras are being utilized to detect irregular rise in forest temperatures. This helps the scientists to point out areas most vulnerable to wildfires or even detect wildfires shortly after they begin.

There is an ever-increasing demand for this type of technology. In 2019, the Department of Defense made a special request for provision of drones that can be used to deliver food, water and other necessities in the event of natural catastrophes.

4 – Conservation

Climate change along with poaching have had a drastic effect on the health of wildlife all over the world. A large number of species are predicted every year at the risk of extinction according to the reports circulated by the World Wide Fund. Conservationists all over the world are looking for novel approaches to avert the dangers posed by climate change and poaching. Geospatial imaging drones are being deployed in areas of animals at risk to keep track of their movement.

An automated drone system is being developed by the students at the Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Natural Sciences that has the ability to follow species at risk of extinction and transmit information regarding their present condition with the experts.

DJI has also ventured in the domain of conservationists as it has provided drones to assist teams in carrying out research without interfering in their natural ecosystem. Ocean Alliance, a conservationist organization, has deployed drones such as SnotBot to collect samples particularly mucus from whales. Besides assisting research on ecosystems, drones can also be beneficial in fighting the scourge of poaching.

5 – Disease Control

By tracking animals, experts can also keep an eye on diseases. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has been using drones loaded with thermal imaging devices to monitor macaque movements in the province of Palawan in the Philippines – a region where malaria has been observed to be quite active.

The ability to be able to monitor the movements of animals leads to important information regarding transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans. Simultaneously, Microsoft is employing drone technology to capture and test mosquitoes for the spread of infectious diseases. In an ideal world, this technology can be used to protect local residents and could go a long way in preventing pandemics before they start.

Schistosomiasis is another disease that is being treated with the help of drones. Schistosomiasis is a tropical disease caused by parasitic worms. A team of researchers from University of Washington and Stanford have been the forerunners in an experimental technique for tracking the spread of and forecasting transmission of this disease. This approach does not bank on animals and instead looks for the assistance of drone and satellite imagery to monitor the existence of unrooted, floating vegetation where the snails that are responsible for transmitting the disease live. The identification of these sites with the help of thermal imaging enables researchers to get to know the regions where the risk of Schistosomiasis is higher.

6 – Healthcare

Modern medicine has had a formidable impact on preventing disease, enhancing life expectancy and elevating the standard of living of people. Having said that, several rural regions across the globe do not have access to high quality healthcare. Medical supplies can be delivered by conventional means. However, certain situations arise wherein quick access to drugs, blood and medical technology becomes essential and drones are the perfect foil to fulfill this requirement.

WakeMed Health and Hospital in North Carolina collaborated with the department of transportation in 2018 on a pilot program to test out the possibility of deployment of drones to deliver medical supplies between different campuses of hospitals.

The successful tests have led to brighter prospects of partnership between WakeMed and Matternet and subsequently with UPS to further bolster the hospital’s drone delivery enterprise.

Zipline International is a highly funded medical delivery company which has been able to raise a whopping $237 million in aggregate. The company provides delivery drones in rural areas throughout the African region. Flirtey is another burgeoning company in the medical delivery business that is looking to ramp up the efforts to transport medicine.

7 – Agriculture

The farmers from all over the world are making concerted efforts to decrease costs and reap richer dividends.

Agriculture experts are able to garner data, automate redundant processes and enhance efficiency with the assistance of drones.

Raptor Maps is an agriculture analytics startup that banks on drones to assist farmers in forecasting their potential harvest. 

When it comes to the cultivation of crops, this is yet another sector that is relying heavily on drones with the passage of time. The cultivation of crops can be a time consuming and redundant process that would need enhanced attention to detail. CaseIH, an equipment manufacturer, has come up with an autonomous tractor. Abundant Robotics is working on technology that could assist in automated harvesting. Planting seeds is yet another painstaking task. However, DroneSeed, a startup that raised a massive $5.1 million from Social Capital in 2017, are striving to employ drones for airborne seed dispersal.

As far as research goes, drones have also been deployed to pollinate flowers. This technique could serve as a substitute for the dwindling bee population in the days to come.

8 – Weather prediction

Researchers have been resorting to novel forms of hardware and software to collect crucial data related to climate. This data would be a handful in forecasting future modifications in the global weather systems. At present, predominantly, data is being collected either through stationary structures or via geospatial imaging solutions. On the contrary, drones offer a reliable option as they present themselves as viable alternatives to follow emerging weather patterns as they are formed.

Besides aerial vehicles, water-based unmanned surface vehicles are also bringing a rapid change in the way data is being collected. Saildrone has come up with an automated sailboat that captures oceanic and atmospheric data from the surface of the ocean.

A similar saildrone pilot project, being carried out in partnership with atmospheric scientists from the University of Washington, is presently active off the West Coast near the Bay Area. About six of the manufacturer’s drones have been deployed to collect data off the shore. The experts who are part of the project are optimistic that results from the pilot project could be used to predict weather systems immaculately in the future.

9 – Maritime

There are approximately 1.65 million personnel currently working on international merchant ships. It takes an enormous amount of effort on their part to traverse oceans and ports around the world. However, with the availability of crucial maritime data and innovations in the world of unmanned water-based vehicles, the maritime shipping industry is in for a tremendous revolution. Rolls-Royce has completed numerous tests with unmanned vessels maneuvered remotely.

Ship inspection is another crucial part of the industry. While Rolls-Royce intends to employ smaller UAVs in inspection of ships above the surface, Orobotix has conjured a submersible drone that has the ability to inspect the hull of ships from underneath.

Drones are also being used by the Scandinavian countries and those in Europe to identify ships violating the emission laws. The unmanned aerial vehicles are able to traverse distance of several kilometers from port to point out emissions and apprehend the violators.

10 – Waste Management

Global waste management has seen a massive improvement thanks to recycling and biodegradation. Having said that, solutions to effective waste collection are still getting better and drones are also being used to clean up the ocean bed. RanMarine operates a Roomba-like marine vehicle that collects waste at ports and harbors while RedZone Robotics has its expertise in maintaining systems for waste water management with the help of robots.

11 – Energy

Alternative or reusable energy has gained massive traction amongst consumers in recent times. However, fossil fuels are still the major source of energy for the world as of now. The inspection of machinery and rigs used to extract, refine and transport oil and gas is a critical part of the industry and is supposed to remain compliant with rules and standards prescribed internationally.

The deployment of drones means that these aerial vehicles can be used to monitor and inspect these structures remotely and in a safe manner. These drones are equipped with specialized thermal sensors which enable them to latch onto leaks even quicker than human inspectors. Similarly, these devices also come with inbuilt high-resolution cameras that assist in resolution of critical issues in a timely manner. Sky-Futures is an enterprise that offers aerial vehicles for inspection of oil and gas infrastructure. Its devices are being used by several oil producing giants to inspect offshore rigs. ICR, a maintenance company headquartered in Scotland, recently got hold of Sky-Futures. Drones built by SkyX Systems are deployed for pipeline inspections while Cyberhawk Innovations provides solutions for both fossil fuels and reusable energy providers.

Drones are also being used while setting up new sites for energy production. Surveillance drones that are able to collect topographic data can be used by oil and gas production enterprises to point out new drilling sites or they can even be employed by solar utilities to design variants for new arrays.

12 – Mining

There is plenty of upfront investment involved in mining as it requires persistent measurement and appraisement of physical material. It is not easy to measure tons of rock, ore or minerals. However, drones equipped with sophisticated cameras capture volumetric data on these rocks, ores and minerals and monitor mining operations from the air. Hence, the risks to deploy human surveyors on ground are totally eliminated.

Robotics is a startup that has raised around $90 million in equity funding. It offers a high quality on-site drone solution that is utilized by mining companies for measuring materials surveying operations and enhancing security. The solution is entirely automated and stored in on-site accommodation that can swap cameras and batteries automatically as and when required.

The unmanned ground vehicle manufactured by Komatsu is also proving to be extraordinarily efficient when it comes to assisting in mining operations.

13 – Construction Planning

Construction planning and management is one of the most common uses of drones. Data is captured on a regular basis which helps in consistent analysis of construction progress. While ground surveying is an important part of construction planning and tracking, the use of drones to collect data is becoming ever more crucial.

Throughout the construction process, camera technology is used to keep an eye at buildings and survey topography and soil type. These services are offered in a monthly subscription package by Skycatch that provides several drones to carry out the operations. A similar compendium of software is offered by Dronomy that enables drones with enhanced project monitoring and management features.

14 – Infrastructure Development

In addition to being immensely useful when it comes to construction planning and management, drones can be exceptionally handy in infrastructure development.

ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, collaborated with roboticist Raffaello D’Andrea and architecture firm Gramazio Kohler Architects to create a structure entirely with the help of drones.

The drones were programmed to lift and stack thousands of polymer bricks. Hence, the team was able to conjure a structure 10 meter high. The finished structure could be deemed as a prototype for a vertical village which can be expanded in size with bigger drones.

A research study was carried out in 2015 by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to determine how drones could be used to enhance its efficiency. The results revealed that the deployment of drones could yield 40% savings in terms of associated costs by using these devices to inspect state infrastructure.

According to the statistics released by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation, around 4 out of 5 state departments of transportation in the country were utilizing drones by 2018. These drones are being used to monitor highway construction projects, surveillance of new sites, bridge inspections and emergency response.

15 – Insurance

When it comes to insurance inspection, drones have become a go-to device for insurance companies. Conventionally, insurance inspectors and assessment officers would climb up the buildings to carry out manual inspections of real estate. However, drones, as of now, being equipped with high resolution cameras are employed to provide in-depth information about properties.

Having said that, a property that is damaged or has certain defects, still needs to be examined and assessed manually. Nevertheless, drones are being used ubiquitously in this field as well.

Kespry focuses on the insurance industry as it offers services such as roof inspection to settle down claims and has collaborated with Farmers Insurance to expand its services in the industry,

16 – Real Estate

Drones have been used extensively in the real estate industry as they provide top notch pictures of properties. This is a proof of the fact that drones have even disrupted the real estate industry. By 2016, the real estate industry had become quite comfortably the most reliant industry on drones.

DroneBase are the market leaders when it comes to providing specialized drones for numerous industries including residential and commercial properties.

In addition to utilizing low cost aerial imagery to provide details about a property’s exterior characteristics, drones are also being used to capture prolific images of the interiors of property listings. Zaw Studios is a media company headquartered in the suburbs of Los Angeles and employs drones to catch high quality omnidirectional images and videos of home interiors. The final outcome is a piece of art that furnishes the interested folks with an experience that is similar to taking a walk through the house themselves.

Drones have also emerged as a phenomenal tool for property developers to comprehend how to set up the views, amenities and features in a property in a better way. The luxury of being able to go through each and every detail of a property lets the property developers design the structure in accordance with the landscape in which it is situated.

17 – Urban Planning

Urbanization is on the constant rise and the progress of cities is being greatly retarded due to the growing population and everlasting congestion. Urban planning is of enhanced significance for cities. However, it necessitates a detailed comprehension of metropolitan dynamics. Drones help the developers to fathom the surrounding environments and carry out enhancements based on data and accurate information.

Arup is an engineering consulting firm that deploys drones to collect data in areas that are crowded with people. Most of the urban developers have to contend with restricted budgetary provisions and drones offer a low cost approach to precious urban data. For instance, with the help of drones, city planners ascertain as to which areas may be the most suitable for setting up green spaces.

Machine learning is rendering high quality mapping processes possible at affordable rates. The Bennin Flying Lab uses drones to forge a data-concentrated aerial map of the town of Dassa. The company then resorted to machine learning technology to categories different structures and regions on the map, a process that would typically have taken an enormous amount of time and hard work without the requisite software and hardware.

18 – Personal Transportation

Typically the terminology “drones” seems to refer to unmanned vehicles only. However, there are certain forms of autonomous transportation that operate in a way that is similar to that of drones. For instance, EHANG, centered in China, was launched last year, and has developed an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) that functions with four rotors (quadcopter) for vertical take-off. The vehicle has been designed to transport passengers between destinations, even in an urban setting with tons of hurdles. Minimum input from passengers is required by these AAVs and integrates inherent systems that intend to allow safe landings in case of engine failure or an accident. 

Lilium Aviation is a startup that plans to build an autonomous aerial vehicle for transportation of passengers that utilizes a design similar to that of a Harrier Jet instead of a typical drone.

Uber, Airbus, Boeing, and Rolls-Royce are four of the biggest transportation companies out there that are working on their own prototype autonomous drones for transportation of passengers.

In a bid to prepare for the mainstreaming of robo-taxis, investors are planning to purchase huge sites and requisite air rights to serve as potential ventiports – places where these autonomous taxes would be able to take off and land, thereby reducing the use of ground based vehicles drastically.

19 – Airlines

Compliance is a massive challenge for a number of industries. However, the airline industry is required to conform to the highest degree of regulatory norms. FAA inspections tend to be different with regard to their strictness, but fundamental inspections are carried out following every 125 hours of flight time. Furthermore, airlines are mandated to carry out their own flight inspections before commencement of each flight.

In this respect, Intel has partnered with Airbus to carry out external aircraft inspections with drones. Drones loaded with sophisticated cameras were used for this exercise to gather images and data to formulate in-depth, three dimensional models of the Airbus fleet of aircrafts.

Airbus has also come up with its own subsidiary called Airbus Aerial which intends to offer aerial vehicles for inspection purposes across a number of industries. Canard drones is a startup that specializes in providing inspection services to airports instead of aircrafts.

20 – Telecommunication

Drones are used to inspect telecommunication towers on a regular basis to ensure uninterrupted service delivery. AT&T and Verizon used drones against the backdrop of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to inspect towers. This process would have been exceptionally laborious and time consuming had it been carried out manually. These aerial vehicles were able to gauge the actual amount of damage to the towers thereby enabling the service restoration teams to carry out their operations in an effective manner. Hence, telecommunication services were restored in a matter of a few hours rather than days.

Skyward is a drone inspection company that was owned by Verizon in 2017 offers drones as a service software platform that assists commercial drone operators in several industries.

21 – Internet

As more and more technology platforms across the globe are competing for the time and attention of millions of consumers, the need for global internet access is becoming ever more important. 

Facebook developed a solar powered drone called as Aquila which was envisaged to provide internet access to rural parts of the world. This drone was considered as an integral part of the tech giant’s endeavors to bring about internet access throughout the world. However, the prototype was suspended in 2018 as Facebook turned to hiring third party drones for the purpose.

Google, in the beginning, also got hold of solar powered drone company Titan Aerospace to provide UAV powered internet, but the project faced certain bottlenecks. Ever since, Google has resorted to a weather balloon like design called Project Loon that intends to provide internet access from the stratosphere.

SoftBank, in partnership with the drone developer AeroVironment, is planning to launch drones into the stratosphere to act as floating cell towers to provide internet access to customers round the globe.

22 – Outdoors

In the early days, drones were considered a brilliant recreational tool for outdoor activities. Drones were able to bring about a complete turnaround in the way people perceived scenic beauty thanks to magnificent aerial drone photography and their unfathomable ability to capture extreme sports.

At present, drones are being used for more than spectacular photographs and incredible videography. SenseFly was owned by France based company Parrot in 2012. It manufactured drones that were used to create a three dimensional rendering of the popular Matterhorn peak in Zermatt, Switzerland. The aerial vehicles were able to capture the mapping of the entire face of the mountain in just about seven hours. These maps can be used by mountaineers and skiers to get to know the terrain in a better way.

23 – Tourism and Hospitality

In addition to revolutionizing the marketing strategies of hotels, our notion of luxury accommodations have also been modified by drones. HOK is a design firm that is planning to launch drone hotels that could move from one place to another as and when required. These state of the art structures could be shifted to remote and typically far flung areas for guests.

Conventional hotels are also employing drones such as those offered by Unsupervised AI, which utilizes drones to deliver packages and room services swiftly.

The Marriott Marquis Chicago, at its grand opening in 2017, used drones to deliver cocktails to the invited guests. While partnering with the drone manufacturing giant DJI, Marriott also experimented with the use of drones to provide guests with entertainment at the JW Marriott Zhejiang Anji Resort in China.

24 – Live Entertainment

Drones are being used for surveillance of certain events as well as their videography and photography. However, the entertainment industry is also extensively employing drones in its ventures. Disney has been one of the more active companies in this domain which has filed for numerous drone patents linked to entertainment. The entertainment giant has focused on harmonized lights shows, floating project screens and drone puppeteers. Verge Aero is one of such private enterprises that specializes in offering synchronized, realtime drone shows to the audience.

At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter show of the Universal Studios, a show titled as the Dark Arts at the Hogwarts Castle portrays LED-illuminated drones and complicated projections. Intel’s Shooting Star technology was used in the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show and during the 2018 Winter Olympics. The same technology can be used to configure drones to show tons of patterns and harmonize with music and other elements at the live performances.

25 – Sports

The robotic camera hung from a cable-driven mechanism and controlled through a computer known as Skycam brought about a revolution in the viewer experience of sports live broadcasts. The camera offers extremely close and first person views that conventional, static cameras are unable to provide. At present, Skycam is a mandatory device when it comes to live sports broadcasts. However, when it comes to capturing views on the outskirts of the sports arenas, drones have a bigger role to play. Vermeer is a company that provides live sports broadcast services and has been engaged in several live and recorded televised events.

Besides the conventional sports, drones are also leading the way in introducing sports that are based around them. The Drone Racing League, for instance, has emerged as a major global sporting event that attracts massive crowds and attention from fans from around the world.

26 – Hollywood

The professional film industry was the pioneers in adopting drones in their everyday business. With the help of drones, cinematographers are able to capture scintillating aerial views without having to use helicopters, thereby reducing the costs drastically while pushing the limits of videography beyond anyone’s imagination.

With the mainstreaming of drones in the film industry, the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Motion Picture Association have collaborated to prescribe the rules and regulations for controlling the use of drones in commercial airspace. Aerial MOB was acquired by 5D Robotics in 2016 and has successfully deployed its drones in capturing magnificent aerial footage for blockbusters such as The Circle, Guardians of the Galaxy, La La Land and other chartbusters. The company has also used drones in capturing video footage for several advertisements.

The XM2 Cine Sierra is one of the largest drones that have been tailor made for aerial videography. The beast has the ability to carry a payload of a massive 65 pounds and has been extensively used by big budget Hollywood scalps such as Star Wars Episode IX. Experts are still working on drones that are able to capture video footage autonomously without human intervention. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are toying with the idea of drone software that intends to enable a UAV to remain airborne on its own, follow a human figure through a complicated environment and carry out different blocking and tracking instructions issued by the controller.

27 – Advertising

Besides capturing video footage for advertisements, drones are being used extensively for marketing. They can be used to shoot aerial advertisements at live broadcasts and even keep an eye at traffic congestion on roads. DroneCast offers services for banner advertising using drones and has even transported Ford-branded knick knacks to patrons at automobile conventions.

28 – Retail

Drones are being employed to transport goods and products from local retailers and brick and mortar shops to end consumers. Amazon has been renowned for tinkering with this technology thanks to its patent activity pertaining to drones which has received massive media attention. The tech giant’s first demo delivery took place in 2016 through its service known as Prime Air. The company has planned to roll out commercial drone deliveries to select customers located within 30 minutes or so of the warehouse.

Walmart has also portrayed its intentions with regard to commercial drone deliveries by virtue of its numerous patents. The geographical coverage and span of the company bestows it an edge over its competitors in this field as, in contrast to Amazon, almost 90% of the US citizens are deemed to reside with a proximity of 10 miles of a Walmart store, thereby exponentially increasing the company’s probability of making good on its ambitions to use drones for commercial deliveries to its customers.

Private investors are also taking a fancy to this sector with an aim to making both land and aerial deliveries affordable and efficient. Matternet is striving to blend both ground based vehicles with aerial vehicles for deliveries while Starship Technologies is establishing a fleet of autonomous robots engineered to deliver goods to customers residing within 30 minutes of driving distance.

29 – Manufacturing and Inventory Management

The modern day assembly lines in factories are highly dependent on robotics. Despite drones being the go-to devices in unstructured surroundings, they can also play a pivotal role in the manufacturing process as well. Ranging from unearthing raw materials to inspection of assembly lines, drones can be used to carry out tasks considered too laborious for a huge, pre-configured robot and a bit too risky for humans.

In 2018, Shell began to deploy drones on the site of its own ethane cracker planet in Pittsburgh where the UAVs are programmed to capture aerial imagery of the construction site regularly to identify any defective components and monitor the construction process.

ZF, a car technology company based in Germany, gained permission of late to utilize drones to transport gear including sensitive devices such as sensors between a central warehouse and its manufacturing facility.

Besides being used for manufacturing and delivery, drones can also be used for inventory management by retailers. MIT is currently working on an inventory management system that banks on drones to communicate with battery-free RFID technology. Drones can be used to locate and gauge inventory within a network of separate sensors located on or in containers around the warehouse.

30 – Underground Economies and Combating Crime

Despite drones having multitudes of positive use cases, they have also been used to carry out illegitimate practices. drones have been used to transport drugs across international borders. Large drones can be about 5.5 feet in size and have the ability to carry heavy payloads such as cameras for cinematographers. They can boast flight times of 18 to 40 minutes depending on the payload they are carrying and offer speeds of around 40 mph.

Hence, they offer an ideal solution to transporting drugs and illegal ammunition. Drones have also been used for dropping bombs, capturing voyeuristic imagery and smuggling goods into US prisons. In 2015, a drone even landed into the grounds of the White House without being detected by any of the agencies.

On the other hand, drones are also being used effectively by law enforcement apparatus for reconnaissance and combating crimes. In 2019, around 600 departments in the whole of the United States resorted to drones as an effective tool for fighting crime and responding in events of emergencies according to the figures released by the Center for the Study of Drones at Bard College.

31 – Fitness

By monitoring an individual’s physical activity and biometrics, fitness technology is geared towards providing a personalized experience to athletes. These devices include wearable ones as well as three dimensional scanning machines. However, in a bid to make a transition to assistive monitoring devices to coaching gear, the market has been proliferated with tons of paraphernalia that gives ample feedback besides issuing requisite instructions. 

Drones can be an excellent way to coach athletes thanks to their follow-me feature which enables the devices to follow a certain individual during his or her training routines and collecting video footage of their exercises. There are numerous consumer drones available out there that can be configured to follow their owners wherever they go. Some of these gadgets include FlyPro’s XEagle Sport Drone, DJI’s Mavic Pro and Ehang’s Ghostdrone 2.0.

Drones can also be helpful in making exercise routines more accessible for the visually hampered. An associate professor at the University of Nevada’s Reno’s Human Plus Lab developed a prototype drone that guides runners who are visually impaired in 2015. The drone uses sound to guide the athletes and employs a camera to follow the lines around the track while another camera follows the marker adhered to the athlete’s shirt. The drone flies almost 10 feet in front of the runner and has the ability to tweak its speed in accordance with that of the athlete.

32 – Food Services

When it comes to online food delivery and ordering kiosks, fast food based casual cafes are being granted the luxury to draw down their physical locations and hence cut down on property rentals each month. Having said that, delivery commission charges are still pegging the profits from going up. This is where some of the smart restaurant owners are falling back on drones for quicker and cost effective food delivery to their customers.

AHA is an e-commerce enterprise based in Iceland and offers food delivery services similar to Grubhub. It has collaborated with an Israeli drone logistics company Flytrex to provide food delivery services through drones on a route in Reykjavik. The venture employs drones to deliver food orders directly across a Bay of the North Atlantic Ocean that typically has to be averted by the delivery riders; thereby significantly reducing delivery time. The partners are planning to integrate more delivery routes into their business in the days to come.

Pizza delivery is yet another business that is benefitting considerably from drones. Domino’s Pizza partnered with Flirtey in the winter of 2016 to carry out the first ever pizza delivery through drones. The scrumptious finger licking good pizza was delivered to a couple in New Zealand. In 2018, HBO collaborated with brand delivery agency Fooji and Drone Dudes to deliver pizzas to the fans of their blockbuster television show Silicon Valley.

Drones are also playing a vital role in altering the way food is delivered to customers inside restaurants. In 2015, a drone waiter called Infinium-Serve was developed by Infinium Robotics. The drones are able to carry around 2.2 pounds of food and beverages which is equivalent to almost a couple of pints of beer, two glasses of wine and a large sized pizza. In 2016, a Dutch university deployed drones in its pop-up café to take orders and deliver food to customers.

Google was granted the permission to deliver orders to customers based in Virginia in the spring of 2019 and the company is making test deliveries in target markets in Australia. Uber has also partnered with McDonald’s to carry out test deliveries in San Diego.

33 – Journalism and News Coverage

Drones are being deployed by news outlets to incorporate context and comprehension to news stories, add value to their production quality and give a new perspective to storytelling through documentaries.

Ever since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agreed to grant sanction to the use of drones in collating news, McClatchley, based in Sacramento, a local media brands agency, has built capacities of 50 of its employees in operating drones.

Subsequently, drones were utilized by journalists to capture the extent of damage caused by Hurricane Irma through drones at the Miami Herald. Drones were also used to shoot video footage of California wildfires and to appraise the flooded areas of the Midwest.

CNN has developed a comprehensive drone program by the name of CNN Air. The news network uses drones to cover events in more than 20 countries. The video footage gathered by its fleet of drones forms a major chunk of CNN’s core news reports, its Great Big Story initiative (established particularly to formulate small documentaries and short films) and other projects for Turner and Time Warner.

Drones enable the journalists to get video footage that would otherwise have been pretty hard to get due to safety hazards, operational costs or other physical bottlenecks. According to Gregg Agvent, CNN’s senior director of national news technology and aerial imagery and reporting, believes that drones assist his team to shoot events that cannot even be captured with a helicopter as it would produce a lot of undesired noise and would be extraordinarily expensive.

34 – Air Travel

Drones are being used by Airbus to inspect its aircrafts on a regular basis. The data and images captured with the help of drones enable the company to assess the condition of its aircrafts. Drones also significantly impact other aspects of air travel.

The passengers traveling with drones have to remain cautious regarding their device’s Lithium Ion batteries and accessories with point edges such as propellers. Instead of packing their devices into their suitcases without exercising any due caution, the passengers have to ensure that they transport their machines in a safe and secure manner.

35 – Gaming

Drones now play a crucial role in gaming both as an integral part of games as well as tools for their development. The company Drone n Base offers gaming packages that enable players to engage in drone races besides using them in augmented reality. The Aerial Sports League, at the same time, organizes drone combat and racing events, some of which even offer handsome financial prizes.

In 2019, Lockheed Martin and the Drone Racing League announced a whopping $2 million to spur developers to build AI programs that can help drones autonomously traverse a course littered with obstacles.

Video game development companies are also deploying drones to come up with hyper-realistic maps and other components for their games. Drones enable companies to gain access to vast areas of terrain and outdoor aspects to forge realistic game visuals.

A prototype model was developed by the University of Washington wherein drones were shown to be dealing with proliferation of airborne traffic. The participants, in the meanwhile, were deputed to play out different drone density simulations.

36 – Space

NASA, in the summer of 2018, announced that a drone-esque helicopter would be used in the Mars 2020 mission in a bid to look for signs of life on the rocky planet. The helicopter would act as a scout for the rover, gathering data regarding the planet’s terrain and looking into areas that would be inaccessible for the rover.

NASA is also planning another drone mission to one of Saturn’s moons – the Titan. The drone would not be a replica of what we see here on earth. The mission would cost around a massive $1 billion. The drone would be nuclear-powered and would be similar to a small sized car. The drone is expected to reach its destination by 2034 and survey the moon for a period of about a couple of years, capturing images and sending data back to the scientists on earth.

37 – Education

As more and more educationists begin to realize the enormous possibilities that drones have to offer, we should be expecting to see them emerging in everyday classrooms. For example, students in Colorado Springs School District 11, pioneered by teachers David Steele and Ray Sevits, are already using drones in their teaching classes. The students learn to fly these UAVs, mend them and also study the mechanics involved in their flight.

38 – Security

Security and law enforcement agencies are employing drones to offer an extensive reconnaissance regime for industrial, commercial and residential properties.

Nightingale Security lets its customers set up repeatable routes that the drones can traverse regularly, surveying important security areas. The company also uses real time streaming through drones in case of an alarm triggered due to a burglary, enabling the security experts to gain important insight into the point of potential break.

Sunflower Labs is carrying out a project on an autonomous drone system that would look for any suspicious activity, issue alerts to home residents regarding any breach into the security and if required, file a report in the local police station.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *