By Erik Mollinet
Hello fellow drone enthusiasts, today I am going to be talking about drones. You probably guessed that, but more specifically, I am going to present some of the most interesting and promising uses of drones that I have seen in the last several months. Unlike the drone strikes in Syria and Afghanistan that seem to be the brunt of drones in the news today, I am going to show off some of the awesome things people and companies have been doing with drones lately. These are things that benefit the world in a positive way, without any of the nasty side effects of the most well-known use of drones: dropping bombs. No, these drones are being built and flown for good.
Drone-Aided Landmine Removal
First of all, one use of drones that sparked my interest recently was a British Research team’s effort to make a landmine-hunting drone. They fitted a drone with advanced, hyperspectral imaging technology that looks for abnormalities in soil and plants caused by leaking landmines. CARE estimates there are 110 million landmines buried around the world, which kill an average of 70 people per day. These drones could be of huge benefit to thousands around the world who are killed or maimed by old minefields every year. Traditional methods of mine removal can take two hours to map an area the size of a soccer pitch. By helping to identify mines much quicker than traditional methods, drone-aided de-miners can more efficiently and safely remove landmines. I think this is an amazing new use of drones, which really showcases their ability to map land and do so more efficiently than old methods. The new cameras and software have countless other uses outside mine-mapping, but this use is one that makes the world safer for everyone.
Another exciting new use of drones today is the possibility of drone-deliveries for packages and mail. Amazon has previously shown off plans for “Amazon Prime Air,” a potential drone-delivery service that would deliver small packages directly to homes in less than thirty minutes. In the past, they have been stopped up by legal regulations in various countries. But, Amazon has recently announced test flights in the UK, following recent regulation changes on drones. Just think, soon the ability to order a shirt online and be able to try it on near-instantly will come. But seriously, this project is an important step in the future of drones, as it tests the limits of the technology. The ability to quickly and remotely deliver packages will need to involve advancements in autonomous piloting, collision avoidance, and GPS navigation, not to mention all the red tape that will need to come down before this kind of use is viable. Not only is the use itself pretty cool, but the fact that the emergence of this use marks progress in the future of drones makes this hit the number two spot in my top three list.
Internet Routers in the Sky
Finally, the most innovative new use of drones I’ve seen recently goes to Facebook’s Aquila, a high-flying autonomous drone that will bring internet to millions. Both Facebook and Google have been developing drones to carry internet access to remote areas throughout the world, and on June 28, Facebook made a test-flight of their prototype. This huge, fixed-wing drone will fly autonomously for days at a time at high altitude, beaming internet down to the more than 1.6 billion people who are currently offline. I think this use of drones is simply amazing. The internet alone has done wonders to bring the world together and combat social and political issues. What more could be done if everyone on earth had internet access? I believe this technology will be a major force for change in the world today, and that is why I think it is the most promising new use of drones.
Drones are pretty astounding. The fact that you can make a small helicopter fly all by its self and do things like map land or deliver packages is pretty amazing. There are hundreds of other uses for drones, but I believe these ones are some of the most promising this year. The new tech involved, regardless of the actual use, is a good sign for drones in the future. Even if the uses I’ve stated here today don’t come to fruition (but believe me, they will), the new tech will foster countless other new uses. Drones are becoming a part of daily life, for better or for worse, but I think it will be for the better. They don’t have to be all about dropping bombs and killing people; they can instead clean up bombs and connect people. Soon, drones will make the world a little smaller once again, just like the telephone and the automobile, and we are here to watch it happen.