What are Drones ?
Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), are aircrafts that fly autonomously either via remote control or with an onboard autopilot system. In the past, drones as a concept have been extensively used in the military but were more expensive machines than the consumer drones that were no more than toys . Small battery, powerful cameras and cheaper parts have made consumer drones very popular and a serious tool in varying fields. Outside of the realm hobbies, drones have demonstrated great potential in various domains such as packages delivery, scientific research, cinematography, real-estate surveying, etc..
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay
Types of Drones
Drones are classified into two categories:
- Autonomous Drones
Autonomous Drones are only controlled by an onboard computer and do not require the intervention of an operator to function. Currently this type of UAV is not allowed to fly due to legal issues.
- Remotely Piloted Aircraft
Remotely Piloted Aircrafts (RPA) are aircrafts without a human pilot inside and that are flown via a remote control or station. The Commercial or military use of RPAs /drones requires a pilote license or certification whereas none is required for their recreational usage.
Some Interesting Ways Drones are utilized
Lately, drones has been serving a lot of purposes and proving to be very useful, not only in military activities, but also in civilian activities like weather watch and aerial photography. But lets talk about some interesting ways in which Drones are being used currently and might not necessarily come easily to mind:
Since it can be quite hard and expensive to monitor whales using conventional aircraft, a trend is growing among marine enthusiasts to use Drones to follow and capture amazing footage of these mighty creatures. So when whales are spotted, a drone can be launched to follow them, this would be impossible with a manned aircraft. The drone can follow ,circle and hover about 100-120 feet above the whales and captures images which are used in scientific research to track their movements, spot if any whale is pregnant and to monitor general health conditions of the whale population.
Delivery of Pizza
Pizzeria owners are looking into the new drone technology to improve their service as well as their sales numbers. No more issues with traffic and having a reliable drone insures that deliveries are always made on time and having an amazed customer doesn’t hurt.
Recently Domino’s Pizza has started testing the uses of drones as a viable delivery option. They found that the drones could deliver within 10 mins to any place within a 3-4 km radius. Soon we can expect to be receiving our hot pizzas from a flying unmanned aircraft.
In order to predict the destructive path of tornadoes, scientist are using drones to study and collect data. It has been hard to effectively study tornadoes since its very dangerous for humans to observe them up-close. Tornadoes researchers from the Universities of Colorado and Nebraska are flying specialized drones in to the storms of US midwest. These drones can cover 47,000 square miles and collect data from up to 2,500 feet while transmitting this information via wifi to researchers on the ground. They can be quite expensive ($30,000 to $50,000) but nothing can match their usefulness in the study of tornadoes.
Farmers are increasingly adopting drones as a way to monitor for crop damage and increase their crop yield. With drones equipped with high resolution camera farmers can monitor daily, weekly or monthly the state of their crops. With the images captured with the uavs they can create picture animation of every day and detect any suspicious changes, allowing for improved management of crops. It is a cheaper and more effective alternative to satellite imaging which, when compare to over the shelf drones, is substantially expensive.