Drones have always been an exciting technology, but the industry’s most recent developments indicate that drones will be going from strength to strength, with very solid potential to change the world in the years ahead.
These innovations will make drones more accessible, more affordable, and easier than ever to operate. For safety and legal reasons, it is still best to seek training to learn how to operate drones properly. It's all fun and games until you get a hefty fine in the mail for accidentally violating regulations.
It is easy to see a future where drones are to become commonplace household appliances, and the range of industrial applications for drones is also sure to expand.
In this article, we'll look at some of the most exciting predictions of what is just around the corner in drone development.
In-flight recharging for battery-powered drones
One of the biggest limitations for battery-powered drones has been the short operation time before we need to recharge or replace the batteries. Now imagine a future where drones never have to land. That future is already with us, courtesy of a company called GET (Global Energy Transmissions).
Something else which is extremely exciting about this is that the technology could potentially have many more applications beyond drones, it just depends what GET decides to do with it.
This will also potentially have some influence on the next item on this list.
Drones as autonomous personal transport
Now, this is an exciting development… the Ehang 184 AAV, will allow people to get around in drones! The limiting factor at the moment is that the developer cautions a maximum range of one kilometre. But if this technology is adapted to make use of GET (described above), then that limit may be no longer an issue. We might be able to tour the entire country, or even make international flights some day, without having to stop and recharge.
Drones as workers
Until now, drones have mainly performed passive tasks, carrying things like cameras and parcels. That's now changing, Apellix is developing "worker bee" drones with arms. The potential uses for these devices seem practically unlimited, and it will be interesting to see what happens. There's a strong chance that these robots may make certain jobs such as window cleaning obsolete. Robotic drones will be able to perform these tasks at a fraction of the cost of a human worker and without error.
Cheap satellite replacement
Satellites are expensive to build and even more expensive to get into space. But what if we could get most of the benefits of a satellite without the need to achieve space orbit? That's the goal of Project AlphaLink. The interesting thing about this project, apart from the abilities it will open up, is the joining together of multiple drone bodies at their wingtips, to provide greater endurance, and an excellent "wingspan to weight ratio".
The "Rise of the Machines" has never been closer
We already have smart drones, autonomous drones, so what's next? Drones that talk to each other? Yep, that's exactly right. This concept is the "collaborative drone", and it's fairly obvious that if a large number of drones work together to achieve a task, that task should be able to be completed more quickly. Time is a critical factor in rescue operations, for example, and that is one way the technology is likely to prove very helpful. Firefighting is another huge possibility.
This technology is currently being developed by Insayb Wireless Limited, a UAE based company. The way it works is dependent on the application, If we look at the search and rescue scenario, one drone flying around scanning for people who are trapped or missing may need to cover a lot of areas and make multiple passes, with no guarantee of success.
Contrast this to a collaborative scenario, however, and you will see that there is huge potential here. With multiple drones, a much wider search area can be covered and the drones can communicate with each other about what they each are seeing. This allows a mosaic to be formed from each drone's individual view, and from there we could be able to see much more, requiring fewer passes, and locating more people more easily.
Safer scientific exploration
There are not many aviators willing to fly directly into a hurricane or tango with a tornado, but there are some out there who actually do this as part of their job. It's a very dangerous undertaking and hasn't always yielded usable results due to the damage that can occur and the difficulty of flying in those conditions.
Drones are obvious candidates for this type of mission. They can be made to be self-correcting, they're completely fearless, and they're much more replaceable than human pilots.
This possibility is being tested by Meteomatics AG of Switzerland. Apart from the dramatic stuff like tornado chasing and hurricane flying, there are other ways the technology can be useful. In agriculture, construction, military work, and even sports being able to predict and potentially manipulate weather is a highly desirable outcome. This technology may be the key to unlocking that potential.
We've only scratched the surface of what is possible
In the case examples listed above, we've only examined a few ways that drone technology is being improved and applied. The best developments are still to come, and whether you love drones or fear them, they are an inevitable part of the future.
This may well be the best time to learn as much as possible about drones as you can, so you are prepared for what is coming and will understand the technologies that are potentially going to be available to you.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.