Title: The Future Use of Drones
Thesis: Key areas that drones could be effectively utilized in future are disaster and aid relief, natural science research, journalism and photography, advertisements and deliveries, farming activities, and expansion of internet access.
- Disaster and Aid Relief
- Natural Science Research
- Journalism and Photography
- Advertisements and Deliveries
- Farming Activities
- Expansion of Internet Access
The Future Use of Drones
Drones can be defined as being Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS) that are operated by controllers on the ground who adhere to a pre-programmed mission. There are different types of drones that can be classified into two broad groups. The first group is drones that are utilized for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. They are meant to view basically and record the activities taking place in a specified vicinity and convey the same message to some other location for appropriate action to be taken. The second group often contains ammunition or might have missiles and bombs that have to be launched in military attacks. The usage of drones has been on the rise currently essentially because drones can fly for a longer time as compared manned aircrafts (Strawser, 2014). Furthermore, they are much cheaper to maintain and can be flown remotely without posing any danger to the flight crew since they are not aboard.
Drones have been utilized by the military for decades now in warfare and surveillance activities. However, the potential of drone usage has not been fully exhausted, and there is huge prospective for the extension of the use of drones given the technological trends that are taking place. Advances in technology will make drones much smaller and increase their accessibility to the populace. They could even become cheaper, and proper regulation would ensure that they can be utilized for just courses that are meant to add value to human life. For instance, Amazon Corporation through its founder Jeff Bezos has proposed that drones can be created that would deliver goods to online shoppers (Lee, 2014). The drone is known as Prime Air and is being developed in such a way that it will offer same day delivery services. Conversely, there is a myriad of challenges that increased drone usage for commercial purposes might have. For instance, if the proposal by Amazon is allowed and not properly regulated, then there might be hundreds if not thousands of drones constantly in the air delivering goods thus creating a menace in the sky. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has forbidden the use of drones for commercial purposes but this is bound to change in future and could give ground to a multi-billion industry that can develop custom drones to facilitate the provision of services. Key areas that drones could be effectively utilized in future are disaster and aid relief, natural science research, journalism and photography, advertisements and deliveries, farming activities, and expansion of internet access.
- Disaster and Aid Relief
The logistics of emergency response is often characterized by many physical factors that make it quite difficult to offer the necessary response that is needed when disaster strikes. It is quite difficult to search for survivors when there is flooding, nuclear fall outs, or even wildfires. This is because the emergency situations in these cases often require that aid workers put their lives at stake in order to save another. However, drone technology could come in handy in improving the success rate of such occurrences at zero cost to human life. Drones that are meant for rescue operations can be built to withstand radiation and extreme temperatures. In addition, they can incorporate the use of cameras to offer effective perspectives for search of victims essentially in areas where there is a low visibility or there is much debris (Lee, 2014). Drone technology will ensure that the victims can be safely airlifted from the scene of the disaster in a manner that does the least extent of harm to them while ensuring their lives are saved.
Drones can also be commissioned to deliver medical facilities and care packages to the scene of the disaster. This can come in handy essentially when the disaster has immensely affected the physical terrain so much that it cannot be accessed by vehicles. This might be the case during volcano eruptions or hurricanes. This approach is being investigated on currently by researchers at Harvard in the MIT division of health sciences and technology. The division has been able to develop drones that can facilitate the delivery of vaccines and critical medical supplies to remote locations often found in developing countries. The project has been quite successful, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $100, 000 towards it. If the drones are fully developed and allowed to function by the FAA, then it will greatly revolutionize the approach towards disaster management (Chow, 2014).
Drones can also be utilized as early warning systems and designed in such a way that they can alleviate the effects of such calamities. The drones can be attached with sensor swarms that are capable of detecting any changes that have taken place in the atmosphere. Through research and detailed programming, the swarms can detect when a catastrophe is bound to occur and carefully mitigate against its occurrence. Such could include the earthquake warning networks, impeding flood alert systems, tsunami forecasting systems, tornado warning systems, and forest fire preventers (Frey, 2014). Emergency services when such disasters occur could involve the use of eyes on the problem drones where a city administration could launch a drone to observe the problem on the ground carefully before determining the best sequence of action to take. In the future, drones will ensure that the risk of physical disasters occurring is at their minimum and that their negative effects are substantially mitigated.
- Natural Science Research
The major advantage of drones is that they can be built to be small enough to make space a non-issue while navigating the environment. Drones have the ability to fly through tight locations that are not accessible to humans. Wildlife enthusiasts who are renowned for producing documentaries on the characteristics of the lives of animals could find the usage of drones quite fascinating and make their activities less risky. Such documentarians are known to chase specific animals that often are dangerous for months on end in an effort to get amazing shots that may appeal to their audience. These animals often run away due to human presence and the images captured are often not clear because human beings are prone to error essentially while capturing an image while moving (Boon & Douglas C Lovelace, 2014). Drones designed for such actives can quietly track the movements of such animals and take quality images of it in its natural habitat.
Drones in the future will be able to monitor environmental details that are beyond the reach of human beings. For instance, NASA has been involved in drone development that can monitor the activities going on around the world. The corporation has already sent a test drone into the atmosphere that is expected to examine interactions between the ozone layer and water vapor. If such studies continued being carried out and drone technology is thoroughly invested on then, drones will be sent into the depths of the other and monitor the activities that take place in such a location. This has been put to the test where a team of archeologists has been able to uncover structures that are said to be from an ancient Native American village in New Mexico. They utilized drones that were equipped with heat-sensing cameras. The thermal images formed enabled the archeologists to view beneath the desert floor and locate the buried structures (Chow, 2014). Through the use of drones in archeological research, more can be discovered and at a lesser cost.
- Journalism and Photography
Journalism and photography often demand the physical presence of a journalist to record and document actual events that are taking place in a vicinity. Reporters that look forward to getting close to crime scenes or taking video footages of raging wildfires might soon need to invest in drones that would facilitate the capture of such images. Drone journalism is expected to be massive and in demand in the coming years essentially with much emphasis being laid on the significance and relevance of a story. The University of Missouri in Columbia has already begun offering drone journalism classes to its students. These students fly drones known as the J-bots and utilize them effectively when reporting stories (Curry, 2013). They are encouraged to master the art of drone based photography and video coverage as this is going to be quite valuable in future. Though the course is regulated by the FAA and can only be utilized in rural areas in stories about agriculture and conservation, such laws might be softened in future and drone journalism will be practiced in urban areas to analyze key issues that affect the public.
The leaders in drone journalism envisage a situation when it will be less costly to gather quality aerial images. Right now, media houses have to invest in helicopters and pilots who can fly over an area in order to gather quality images that can be conveyed to the public. With drones, it will be cheaper to get close to weather stories and uncover more investigative pieces that might not be quite visible from a helicopter (Boon & Douglas C Lovelace, 2014). It is better to utilize drones as first respondents when there is a terrorist explosion as compared to sending reporters to a scene and have a second bomb go out on them. Drones will expand journalism since it is a tool that will allow journalists to get new information and report it to the public. However, many people are quite concerned about the usage of drones in collecting information about their homes. They sense that this is a breach of their privacy rights that have been established by the Constitution (Melzer, 2013). These drones can snap photos and would lead to an upsurge of drone paparazzi. In the future, drones could be utilized by paparazzi to follow celebrities and report on their daily routines (Curry, 2013). This might be a huge problem that drone technology might introduce, and there is a need to create laws that stipulate the boundary between drone journalism and privacy infringement.
- Advertisements and Deliveries
Businesses are quite keen on the technological trends currently taking place that involve drone usage and are strategically eying the potential for such technology on business operations. One key sector that the drones will have an impact on is advertising. Drones in the future will be designed in such a way that they can carry banners around to attract customers to purchase the commodities on offer. Real estate agents have been among the few people who have experimented with drone advertising where they fly around high-end buildings taking images of the building and its environs in a bid to advertise it effectively to potential clientele (Frey, 2014). Sports advertising will also be revolutionized since drones will project commercials on sidewalks in front of target audiences. If drones can have access to customer preferences and utilize facial recognition tools to identify potential clients, then the business could develop unique advertisements that appeal to such clientele so as to woo them into buying their products. The drone could also capture their facial reactions to the advertisement and review any changes that might be needed in order for the advert to appeal to their customer base. Grandstanding drones and flying strobe drones will be utilized effectively in future by business to do spectacular things and draw crowds in a bid to raise awareness about a product in the market. This will have a huge impact on prospective clientele and might convince them to consume the product.
Delivery of products to customers is a significant aspect of the business since it is the facilitation of the transportation of a purchased product to the consumer. Most times customers need their products delivered immediately, but this has not been the case. Drones provide business with an opportunity to embark on sufficient technology that would ensure that their customers get their products with the least amount of time after payment. The shipping industry could benefit a lot from the usage of drones since they will be able to facilitate the transportation of commodities within a short time frame. A startup company known as Silicon Valley has already announced plans to utilize drones in the delivery of tacos to its customers. Their customers in the Bay Area rejoiced at this announcement since it was guaranteed that could receive their tacos in less than thirty minutes after online payment (Chow, 2014). The FAA has blocked the usage of that drone that is known as the Tacocopter, but it is speculated that its usage will be allowed in future. Amazon in 2013 developed a drone that could be able to deliver products to online shoppers at the shortest interval possible. In future, legislation could facilitate the provision of such services, and the skies might just be full of drones that are duty bound for deliveries all over the world.
- Farming Activities
Human beings have been farming for thousands of years and have constantly embarked on research that could facilitate better harvests and yields of farm products. Drone technology offers a sufficient alternative in this venture since it can be utilized in agricultural expositions. When drones are successfully utilized in farming, they could be a huge contributing factor towards better yields in the future. This is because drones promise farmers cheap aerial photography characterized by regular and infrared cameras that stitch together photos and analyze them (Atherton, 2015). This technology ensures that farmers have access to information that was previously unattainable and too costly for them. Such technology has been utilized in farming before by a vineyard in California that was able to investigate its farm to find a section of the vineyard that was ripening earlier than the rest. That section could be harvested earlier than the rest thereby reducing on the rot that would have taken place on that farm.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is keen on researching on other farm uses that drones can be utilized for. One such use can be in the sugarcane plantations where Stevia, a giant corporation in sugar alternative considered flying drones with light over its crops to facilitate more growth. In Maryland, drone designs emerged from a student contest that were meant to protect corn from insect predators. In addition, there were drone designs that could land on corn stalks and pick grubs off by utilizing mechanical arms (Atherton, 2015). These are just but a few opportunities that drones offer to the agricultural sector.
- Expansion of Internet Access
Many places around the world do not have access to reliable internet amidst the established theory that the sphere has been reduced to a global village by the World Wide Web. There is a need to ensure that every part of the world has a fast and reliable contact to the internet and social media corporations have embarked on a strategy to ensure such a connection is possible. Facebook in 2014 purchased Ascenta Corporation, which is a solar power corporation that is based in the United Kingdom. It is anticipated that this syndicate will be able to develop a solar powered drone that can extend the reach of internet connectivity across the entire planet. This will involve the creation of high-altitude flyers with linked drones, satellites, and lasers that are capable of beaming the internet to remote locations from the sky (Chow, 2014). Google Company has also purchased Titan Aerospace to embark on the same course. Such ventures could even lead to the establishment of floating drone cities essentially in a world that is constantly being overpopulated, and yet the land surface is not increasing. The future uses of drones are without limits, and it is upon the FAA to develop a proper regulation that will ensure drones are not misused.
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Chow, D. (2014, April 30). 5 Surprising Ways Drones Could Be Used in the Future. Retrieved from Livescience Website: http://www.livescience.com/45152-drones-surprising-uses.html
Curry, C. (2013, March 22). Drones Eyed by Paparazzi, J-School Teaching Reporters How to Fly Them. Retrieved from ABC News Website: http://abcnews.go.com/US/drones-eyed-paparazzi-school-teaching-reporters-operate/story?id=18782432
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