Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as they are officially known, are a technology that has been around for a long time, but rapid technological development has helped drones really show their potential in the last decade. In this article, we'll look at some of the ways this technology is changing the world around us.
Making potentially dangerous jobs safer
The obvious, and currently most common, use of drones is in warfare and other extreme situations. Thousands of them have been deployed in the war in the Middle East and other conflicts around the world.
Using drones in this way makes it possible to attack strategic targets without risking the life of an aviator. Beyond warfare, however, there are other ways this technology can be used in aid of a greater good.
For example, water-drops during bush fires is a very difficult and dangerous task. This requires a great deal of skill and bravery from the pilot, and while the majority of this missions end well, that's not always the case. Before you condemn this ludicrous idea check out what these guys built...
The challenge in developing drones for this task is that they need to be able to lift a lot of weight, and that weight can change considerably during the mission. Experienced human pilots can feel what is happening with the aircraft and respond instantly to the changes, keeping the flight stable.
When the craft is piloted remotely, information has to be processed from the information provided by sensors, and that is a slower process than piloting by feel. However, more intelligent, autonomously piloted drones are being developed that may help overcome these challenges – could drones deliver far greater accuracy and efficiency than a human pilot could? Comment below and let us know what you think.
Making advanced film making techniques available to all
Another very big change has been in the way we make movies today. In the past, aerial shots were extremely difficult, complex and expensive. Now, drones can be used in all kinds of creative ways to make more interesting content, movies and capture scenes in a way that was never possible before.
In fact, it is possible to film an entire movie using only drones. Nobody has done a full-length feature film yet, but that doesn't mean it can't be done!
When investing in a drone for film making, there are two things that need to be considered. The first is the technological features of the drone itself, and the second is the camera.
A good drone for film making has these features:
- Automatic collision and terrain avoidance
- "Return to Base" system
- Ability to track and follow a target
- Sufficient strength and energy to lift and carry the camera
- Strong construction to help prevent damage
When it comes to choosing a drone camera, the things to look for are:
- Ability to remotely control the camera independently of the drone
- Flat lens ("fisheye" is not a good look for most cinematic masterpieces)
- Depth of Field
That last item is really the most important one because it's what makes a movie look like a movie and not footage from a security camera.
Another great thing is that using a drone costs much less than using a manned aircraft, yet it can let you capture amazing shots in all kinds of ways, including some that could never be achieved using conventional techniques.
Bringing private air transport within reach of the masses
Think about the most obvious status symbol of the rich and famous. Chances are you thought of either a luxury yacht or a private plane. Up to now, it's typically only been very high wealth individuals who have been able to afford the luxury of private air transport. The main reason for that is that it costs a lot to have an aircraft and the personnel to fly it.
Now think about how much you hate commuting during rush hour. It's a terrible experience because moving along the surface of the earth is slow and limiting. If you could fly through the air like a bird, your experience would be very different.
Everything we know about private transport is about to change. Drones that safely transport you from A to B will soon be part of everyday reality. The technology already exists, but it's still going to be a while before it's available for everyone to make use of.
This is the technology people have been fantasising about in science fiction for more than 150 years (remember the Jetsons?), and finally it is something we can see. Within the next 10-20 years, it can be expected that the metropolitan sky will be filled with these smart autonomous vehicles, and that crowded rush hour commute will be nothing more than a memory.
The future of drone technology is so exciting. We may have only discovered a small part of the potential so far. The technology is continuously evolving and becoming more advanced with each passing day. With further development, drones will have positive benefits to offer to everyone, and it may only be a few years before drones become a household appliance that everyone needs to have.
Before that can happen, new legislation will need to be made to classify different types of drone systems into categories so that there is not a blanket law covering all drones, no matter how diverse they may be.
That future is, however, inevitable. Drones are here to stay, and hopefully, people will operate them responsibly enough that it does not delay the passing of that necessary legislation that will bring the future to us sooner.
If you’re interested in beginning or furthering your career in this extremely exciting and rapidly developing industry – book in a free consultation with a Drone expert at Droneit today