The past few years led to some big developments in the application and use of drones. We’re seeing them used in ways that seem like something from a sci-fi movie. Today, drones are the rising star of consumer electronics. From Amazon Prime Air to charity relief, these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are changing the world as we know it.
We know drones can be used for deliveries and for aerial photography, but what else are they good for? There are more uses for drones than you’ve ever thought of. The reality is that different industries are starting to adopt drones in new ways and push the boundaries for what these aerial vehicles can do. Here are 5 interesting uses you’ve probably never considered.
1. Humanitarian Relief
That’s right, drones are helping to save the world. Drones are being used to distribute supplies and materials in remote parts of the world that need assistance. Previously, these areas were either difficult to reach from a lack of roads or a natural disaster. Yet, thanks to drones, these areas are finally able to safely receive relief.
The best example of this is Zipline, a start-up in Silicon Valley who’s using drones to deliver blood. In Rwanda, blood for transfusions is difficult to come by. Not only is it a long journey from the bigger cities to remote villages, but it’s costly. Thanks to Zipline, blood can be brought in as little as 15 minutes. This is simply one example of UAVs being used to bring medical supplies or other necessities to remote areas. In the next few years, this technology will only be pushed further.
2. Accident Scene Mapping & Forensics
Forensic investigators are looking to the sky for help solving accident scene incidents as well as crimes. Crime scene measurements need to be accurate, but professionals usually have a limit amount of time to review the scene themselves. Think of your favorite police drama. These shows are filled with police tape, chalk marks, and roller wheels. As you can expect, none of these measures are particularly accurate.
Drones are filling in the gaps in forensics. Police agencies are turning to drones to do this work for them. Because drones can quickly take accurate, high-resolution photos, they keep first responders and investigators out of harm’s way at the scenes of these incidents. These photos are then used with a program like PhotoModeler to create a 3D rendering with accurate measurements that can be used in a court of law (source: https://www.photomodeler.com/pm-applications/pub-safety-forensics/drone-ar-mapping/). This technology will become more widespread in the near future.
Nowadays, we have 24-hour news. This brings new challenges, and journalists are looking to drones for help. While it’s not always possible for journalists to appear at the scene of developing stories, drones offer the ability to get in on the ground level and offer accuracy in reporting.
The term for this is known as virtual journalism. It’s a way to bring the audience into the action to watch the new’s story unfold. Soon, we won’t be passive spectators in the news. We’ll be there in the middle of the action. With the help of virtual reality, we’re seeing even more advancements in this area.
4. Weather Tracking
You’ve heard of storm chasers who ride vans into the biggest of storms, but what about drone weather tracking? Sending drones into storms is obviously the much safer option since human researchers don’t have to put their lives at risk to get accurate measurements. This technology is already in full swing. NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel is already hard at work trying to understand hurricane formation by sending drones into these weather systems.
As you can imagine, these UAVs that are surviving storms are more robust than your standard consumer drone. These drones boast a powerful 116-foot wingspan, and they’re able to cover a flight range of 11,000 miles. When they reach a storm, they’re able to collect location, humidity, temperature, pressure and more. Thanks to these drones, weather scientists can learn valuable information about potentially dangerous storms.
5. Wildlife Conservation
Finally, another way drones are changing the world is through conservation efforts. Because drones can easily and quietly enter the most remote areas, they’re being used to help with conservation efforts in parts of the world like Indonesia and Malaysia. One way they’re being used in this way is by helping track orangutans that are threatened by poachers and land development.
Since the cameras on drones hover above the ground, they’re not at risk of being destroyed by the very animals they’re trying to help. This is much more affordable than sending in human scientists. Governments around the globe are seeing the benefits of using aerial vehicles to monitor animal species.
Drones are becoming an integral part of today’s technology. They’re versatile, safe, and easy to develop in unique ways. This list is just a few of the ways UAVs are being used today. Who knows how they’ll be adapted in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.