Initially, known only for military use as UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), they are now known as drones. Originally, drones were only used where manned flight were considered too risky or difficult. With a quick evolution of technology, now the usage of drones has evolved in areas like customer service, maintenance, news capturing, aerial photography, and even for delivery purpose.
Big brands like Goggle and Amazon are already a part of this race. In a patent awarded to Google on April 25th, the company outlined a method for delivering packages to consumers with the help of drones; specifically, a self- flying drone. They are also working on to mitigate all uncertainties of landing, delivering packages and take off again. The drones will also have sensors on-board that will enable it to tell when the package has touched the ground; so that they could detach and retract the tether cable. On the same page, Amazon has launched ‘Prime Air’ – a future delivery system. The drone is designed in order to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
Apart from delivering packages, drones are being used for agricultural purposes. Drone technology is used to monitor fields and thus increasing yields. They are also used to identify the areas where pesticides, water or fertilizers are to be used and also delivering them there. Drone cameras also help farmers to identify where the nitrogen level is low, thereby, making it easy for the farmers and better for the environment. In war areas like Syria, drones are being used to deliver food packages. Across, rural western Rwanda, drones are used to deliver blood, plasma and coagulants to hospitals, helping to alleviate cut waiting times from hours to minutes. It has also been found that drones can also be used for emergency services like earthquakes. They were used to map an earthquake-struck village in Nepal, for construction workers to get a bird’s view of the damage. That way, they can plan the reconstruction quickly and efficiently.
Technical Issues and Restrictions on flying: Apart from all the technical advancements these aerial vehicles offer, there are few technical issues to be addressed. The most important requirement is to keep the drone below 400 ft., else, they will move aimlessly into controlled airspace and can collide with a plane or a helicopter. Unless you don’t have a permission from air traffic control, you can’t fly a drone within 5 miles of any airport. National parks, sport stadiums are also off-limit. Drone must remain within the sight all times.
There are many other hurdles which act as a restriction on flying drones. Battery life, weather, unreliable location data, aggressive birds, and the risk of being intercepted by thieves are other commonly cited obstacles. We believe that if all the technical and environmental issues are resolved, drones are one of the finest technological inventions till now. The days are not far away when we will often hear the buzz of the drones instead of chirping of the birds!