From simple toys to valuable tools – drones have evolved through the years, making themselves extremely useful to modern society.
The humble aerial drone has come a long way from being a curiosity to becoming an essential part of certain industries. These flying contraptions are proving their worth, and some of their uses might surprise you.
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Aerial Photography and Film
The most obvious and prolific use of drones is in film and photography. Filmmakers are now opting for drone footage instead of expensive aerial shots with a helicopter. Tim Pool, an independent journalist, gained the attention of Time Magazine (and most of the mainstream media) for his drone coverage of the 2011 Occupy protests. CNN then started experimenting with the use of drones in their reports in 2012, and the BBC incorporated drone-use in their coverage in 2013. Drones are also immensely popular with wedding and event videographers.
The agricultural sector is becoming the largest user of drone technology. Drones fitted with special sensors can detect crop health or the presence of pests. Even without the fancy sensors, farmers can use drones to monitor livestock, guard against trespassers, or make precise measurements when planting fruit trees. The PwC estimated that the addressable market for drones in agricultural use stands at Â£24 billion. Drones are not limited to surveying and monitoring though, as certain drones have crop-spraying capabilities.
Professionals carrying out a drone building inspection is becoming commonplace, whether its gaining access to a remote area or surveying damage in unsafe structures. The use of drones remove the risk of injury, or worse, on a human inspector. The drone’s video recordings and sensor readings also document more accurate and extensive information, especially concerning tall structures. Drones are now saving businesses a ton of money while also reducing liability exposure.
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Amazon is cutting into FedEx and UPS territory as it launches its own fleet of delivery drones. The company is spending billions in research and development on its programmable and automated drone fleet. It actually became operational in late 2019. With more than 2 billion packages being delivered every year – Amazon’s drone fleet is primed to save the company billions of dollars more. It’s also a win-win with customers who will receive their packages faster through this automated system.
Search and Rescue
Fire and rescue operations in the UK and the US have been incorporating drones in the past years. Drones can be used to gather information in critical situations like that of Australia’s wildfire. When natural disasters hit – drones can help locate heat signatures to foster rescue efforts or deliver medicines and supplies to areas that are cut off. The use of drones in search and rescue efforts is both economical and time-saving. A swarm of connected drones can be controlled by a single operator – increasing efficiency and saving manpower.
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Expect to see more drones in your everyday life with these innovations becoming smarter, less expensive, and more versatile. What was considered fancy toys of yesteryear is now becoming an integral tool of the modern world.