In recent years, organisations such as Amazon, Meta and Alphabet have tried to use drones with mixed success, but recently, the UK government has announced that a new drone “superhighway” is to be built. This superhighway, named Project Skyway, will create a 164-mile network over a period of two years. The aim is to create an automated superhighway for drones.
If the UK government are willing to invest in this new superhighway, then the potential is obviously still there for drones.
What are Drones?
- Drones is another name for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
- They are controlled remoted by a pilot
- Or they can be preprogramed to fly to a set location
They have been used for a number of reasons, such as –
The Pros and Cons of Drones
The superhighway shows that drones are having an increasing impact, not just in the UK, but Australia, America and around the world.
What are the pros and cons of using drones?
Different countries have different laws related to the use of drones, particularly in area where there are low flying aircrafts.
To avoid crashes between drones, drones need to be programmed to avoid other drones.
Privacy – There are concerns about privacy when people can send drones to look into other people’s private spaces.
Drones can provide excellent, high quality photographs and videos in places that are too hazardous for humans to get to, such as disaster situations, views in dangerous locations, such as cliffs etc.
They can be used and deployed easily.
They vary in cost and the level of expertise required, so there is something for everyone.
They can be manoeuvred precisely, which is useful in many different settings. For example, the spraying of fertiliser will need to be precise to ensure good crop health. This saves farmers time and money.
Drones can be used for security reasons, enabling organisations to provide security in areas that are hard to reach.
We’ve looked at the pros and cons. Drones are obviously very useful and beneficial in certain situations. Let’s look at the many uses of drones.
Uses of Drones
Drones are nimble and able to perform complex tasks.
- This means that can help organisations in a wide range of tasks that may be hard for humans to perform.
- They can reach places that may be difficult or hazardous for humans.
- They can get into high places and tight spaces that can be difficult for humans.
They can be useful for photographers, videographers and film makers –
- Drones have high quality cameras which can provide high quality aerial shots, shots from hard to reach locations and more unusual photos or videos.
- They can give you great, unusual shots. For example, a photographer at a wedding might film a video of the wedding party from the sky or move through the people there.
- They are cheaper. Say a film maker wanted to film over a lake. It could take hundreds of dollars to hire a pilot and helicopter, but a drone can fly over the lake much more easily and cheaply. If film makers or photographers want to take shots from high locations, they might have to hire cranes, trained staff etc. Again, the drone enables them to take aerial shots at a fraction of the cost.
- Drones can get into tight spaces, enabling photographers and film makers to get shots that they may not be able to otherwise.
Drones can also be useful in protecting animals –
- There are many endangered species world-wide. Drones enable animal experts to view and record animal numbers without entering the animals’ environment.
- They can observe animals in their natural behaviour, more easily than if a human being is nearby.
- Poaches, still unfortunately, kill animals. Drones can help to protect wildlife. They can be equipped with thermal sensors and night vision cameras to enable them to monitor the animals and help them to catch poachers.
Most people know about the use of drones for delivering packages. As we said, this has not worked truly effectively as yet, but Amazon Prime Air plans to allow people to request drone deliveries on parcels up to 5 pounds.
- Drone technology will mean that the delivery of parcels could be more efficient and less costly.
- They can mean reduced delivery times. Flying ten miles through the air will be quicker than driving ten miles on roads, particularly if there are traffic jams and congestion.
Drones can also be useful in measuring the weather. Drones can help scientists to collect research data on the weather.
- They can help scientists collect data on wind, humidity, temperature and pressure without risking their lives. This can be useful in helping scientists to develop storm warnings, giving people time to evacuate.
Emergency Responders and Health Care Professionals can also be helped by drone technology also. Drones can provide the emergency services with prompt information after a disaster.
- Drones can fly into a disaster area and get footage of exactly what has occurred, helping the emergency responders to plan.
- Drones can also be fitted with thermal imaging and night vision lens, which can help them to detect survivors who may be trapped under wreckage or rubble.
- Drones are not just help to help in emergency situations, they can also help in other ways. For example, delivering prescriptions and medication in life threatening situations, but also refilling prescriptions.
- This can be particularly helpful for people with mobility issues or those who might live in isolated and rural areas.
Drones can also be helpful in construction settings. They can provide quick and useful information on a construction project, which can help the project managers to assess how the project is going. It can also help them to develop safer buildings and ensure the buildings are built on time.
Drones are useful in so many settings and different ways –
- Natural and wildlife settings
- Delivering packages
- Health care
- Natural disasters
- Photography and film making
- Measuring the weather
We have talked about these, but these are only just a few examples. Drones have many diverse and important uses.
Environmentally Friendly Drones
As well as having many uses, drones are also environmentally friendly. Research by Nature Communications found that drones were more environmentally friendly than ground-based delivery options.
- They will potentially reduce the need for motor vehicle deliveries, which reduces the need for fuel.
- They will reduce traffic congestion as there are fewer vehicles on the roads making deliveries AND there may be fewer customers using their cars to go shopping.
There are pros and cons with drones.
Drones are –
- Environmentally friendly
- Helpful in health care and disaster settings
- Enable businesses, individuals and organisations to get footage in dangerous, hazardous, tight and difficult to reach situations
- Generally cheaper than hiring lorries, cars, vans, helicopters and cranes that can be required to reach difficult locations
As more and more organisations are developing drone technology, there is a need for trained staff to help to –
- Develop drone technology
- Fly drones
- Organise the use of drones
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