(Image Credit: 123rf.com / ken226)
Everyone knows about drones, officially called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs. Although you’ve probably heard that one day a drone may deliver your pizza, you may not have any idea of how these versatile flying tools are currently being used by various businesses and what plans there are for future uses. Here are just some of the business areas where drones are taking to the air right now.
Drones save farmers time and lots of it. They can scan a large acreage in minutes to inventory crops, monitor animals, or plan irrigation systems. Drones can also be turned into mini crop dusters – they can spray fertilizers, pesticides, or water.
Environmental Monitoring and Conservation
Just as farmers use drones to monitor crops and livestock, drones can monitor wildlife and plant populations without disturbing them. They can provide important insights into conservation efforts, habitat management, and migration paths. Their unique ability to easily travel to hard-to-reach places is especially valuable.
Architecture and Construction
Architectural firms are using drones to gather data on building sites to create 3D renderings of their designed structures. Drones are indispensable in helping to create accurate design drawings which are then accessed by construction companies tasked with bringing architectural designs to life.
Engineering firms are utilizing drones on infrastructure projects like transmission cables, oil pipelines, and road construction, as well as for maintenance inspections. Using drones for surveying saves time and increases efficiency. Drones have even been flown underground to survey mines.
Before the drone age, aerial shots were available only to large news corporations that could afford a helicopter. Now, small-scale media outlets and local journalists can compete with media giants by capturing aerial news footage with drones. Drones are much more agile then helicopters – they can get into tighter areas and fly lower to the ground. And, if they crash, no one gets hurt.
What’s Next for Drones?
- Deliveries – Some have questioned the feasibility of drone-based deliveries, but they are especially applicable to remote locations or areas where conventional travel is difficult or dangerous.
- Wireless Internet Access – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is working with several drone builders on a plan to bring internet access to the developing world.
- Search and Rescue – Drones are beginning to be utilized to save lives. With proper training, a drone pilot can quickly search a wide area for a missing person.
Some FAA Recently Approved Drone-Testing Programs
- North Carolina Department of Transportation will use drones for medical deliveries.
- Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority will monitor the airport’s perimeter fence, check runways for debris, and deliver aircraft parts to maintenance crews.
- In Reno, Nevada, UAVs will deliver defibrillators in response to 911 calls.
- In North Carolina, life-saving blood will be delivered by drones.
- North Dakota will test the feasibility of drone flying at night.
- Kansas will research how rural districts could benefit from drone usage.
- Florida’s Lee County Mosquito Control District will use drones to control mosquitos and other winged pests.
The Future of Drones is Certain
The drone industry is only just beginning to take off (pun intended) but drones are flying into our future at an increasing rate. The adoption of aerial drone use for business is truly taking off.