5 Future Uses for Drone Technology
Standard photographic UAVs will make record sales during the holiday season. But we think it would be a good idea to look into the future of the industry that might come in the next few years. So, in addition to conventional UAV aerial photography, what are the five UAVs’ future uses?
At CES 2016, Ehang reveals 2016, the personal traffic unmanned aerial vehicles, looks like a Star Wars. If it seems to be just a huge four-axis aircraft, as it is. The only difference is that there is a small space for travelers to design.
The idea is simple. You order 184 and tell it where you want to go, allowing the pilot to fly you to your chosen destination. Ehang has been testing 184 already in Nevada, but we do not know how long it will be available.
But how realistic is it to imagine a world in which personal transport drones are the norm? Well, with other tech giants such as Uber also investing heavily in aerial transport, it’s a matter of when, not if. But let’s get one thing straight first of all: This kind of drone isn’t going to come cheap. It’s far more likely that if and when they are introduced to the public, it’ll be either as playtoys for the super-rich or as part of an exclusive on demand service.
Whether or not the technology is sophisticated enough to transport passengers safely in the near future remains to be seen. But the biggest hurdle facing Ehang’s big project will be one of regulation. Autonomous, beyond-line-of-sight flight is restricted by regulatory bodies around the world, while there are also weight restrictions placed on the use of commercial drones. Another issue is liability. Presuming passengers will relinquish all control to the autonomous flight system, exactly who is responsible in the event of an accident?
Verdict: Personal transport drones are a long way off, perhaps not in terms of capability, but certainly in terms of regulations.
Several companies’ advances in drone delivery have been well publicized. Whether that’s because they are a viable business opportunity or simply free marketing material we’re still not sure. As part of its proposed aerial delivery service it has been testing drones in the UK.
To a large extent, as with personal transport, technology is to achieve unmanned aircraft delivery. The line with the legislature’s problems remains uncertain as the line between public safety and innovation. Should a pilot be allowed to operate or manage multiple UAVs from a remote location? Will the public tolerate the sky full of autonomous flight objects?
Another problem with the delivery of unmanned aircraft is one of unavoidable human interference. How long is it until someone decides to sabotage the Amazon deliveries of unmanned aircraft at the final stage of delivery? What will happen then? What’s more, when things go wrong who is responsible for? There are also infrastructure problems that could limit supply , At least initially, in more rural areas.
Verdict: Until a bunch of fundamental questions are answered convincingly, large-scale drone delivery in urban areas will remain grounded. In the long-term future, who knows?
Drones are increasingly being used for the purpose of entertainment. Recently we saw a swarm of Parrot drones taking part in a UK talent competition as part of a dance act. But the most obvious use for swarms is for light displays – technology’s answer to fireworks.
Two companies pioneering in this space are Intel and Spaxels. Spaxels, from Austrian tech company Ars Electronica, are drones fitted with tiny LEDs. Intel programs them to perform synchronized performances and autonomous light shows.
These can be used for marketing and promotional displays or just straight up entertainment. Sure, they don’t have that wonderful post-firework smokey haze, but they are still pretty impressive. Intel recently broke the world record for the number of autonomous drones synchronized at once, with a whopping 500.
Verdict: Drone fireworks / light shows are happening right now. In many countries, you’ll be required to get special waivers to pull them off, but in the near future they could be more commonplace than you might expect.
Combine unmanned aerial vehicles and fire when your brain may flash back to these rogue story pilots to interfere with the firefighter’s efforts. Well, the fact that can actually use UAVs in the event of a fire,.
There are two types of UAVs that we see that could revolutionize the way emergency services handle fires in the future.
First of all, we have the law, that fire air robot system. The law is being developed by the Institute of Advanced Science and Technology of Korea. Take a look at the video below. This smart UAV is designed for autonomous navigation through fire, looking for those who may be trapped in buildings too dangerous to send firefighters.
As well as streaming back a live video feed, FAROS can literally climb along walls and is completely fireproof.
Second, we have a drone that’s been designed to stop wildfires in their tracks instead of emergency services. This is a UAV under development at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (below). It carries several small spheres full of an extremely flammable chemical powder, which are released and set off as the drone flies along a designated route. The result is a controlled burn that stops wildfires from spreading.
Verdict: Firefighting drones have the potential to change the way we deal with blazes and emergency situations. If the technology can be proven to be effective, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t see a widespread adoption of firefighting drones.
Search and Rescue
As camera drones and autonomous flight continue to progress, bespoke UAVs could have a genuinely transformative impact on the way emergency services handle search and rescue missions. One example is the drone developed by Flyability, Elios. It’s been designed to literally bounce off walls, in the same way that an insect might. It’s an aerial photography camera packed into a roll cage, able to stream a live feed from hard to reach places, such as from within the crevasse below.
Verdict: Search and Resue operations have the potential to be revolutionized by drone technology in the future. As well as allowing rescue teams to get a birds’ eye view of hard-to-reach locations, clever, durable drones such as those designed by Flyability promise to make search and rescue missions safer for all involved.