What is a Drone? What You Need to Know!

Drone_vs_cow

Credit: Lima Pix / flickr.com/photos/minhocos/13950908853/

As technologies advance rapidly, new and fascinating gadgets emerge on the market.

You’ve probably heard about the drone but are you wondering about what it really is and what it’s capable of doing?

Here’s a brief history of the technology, as well as its most common uses.

Definition

Drone is, technologically speaking, an unmanned aerial vehicle navigated manually with a remote control or operated with software that works with a GPS system.

This aircraft is probably the most advanced human invention in the field of robotics and is continuously being developed and improved.

Many countries have tried to build drones for military purposes but failed because of poor technology.

So far, the US and Israel remain the leading manufacturers of unmanned aircraft but India and Britain are also joining the race.

Military and Government Use

Military aircraft

The Global Hawk military drone – Credit: Renett Stowe / flickr.com/people/tomsaint/

Until recently, drones have been most commonly associated with the military and have also been widely used for traffic and weather monitoring, search and rescue operations and firefighting.

This technology, however, has recently started to step into other areas of human life. They have become part of the entertainment industry and are being considered for a wide array of commercial applications, as well.

Commercial Potential

In the end of 2013, Amazon announced its idea to start using drones for delivery in the near future. The company’s plan was to introduce the Amazon Prime Air service to deliver orders of up to five pounds within a 10-mile radius in as little as 30 minutes.

aerial photography

Great potential for wildlife photos and conservation.
Credit: Tom Koerner USFWS / flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

Amazon states that using drones will not only make the company’s services faster but would also be a way of delivery that is much more environmentally-friendly than using trucks.

More and more businesses see the huge commercial potential behind them. The Wired magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, for example, decided to retire from the media and dedicate himself to the business of manufacturing unmanned aircraft.

In 2012, Anderson founded 3D Robotics, his personal drones company.

Anderson believes that drones can be hugely beneficial for a number of commercial uses. The entrepreneur said that camera drones are about to become an essential part of agriculture.

Food suppliers embrace this technology because it is unparalleled when it comes to determining seeding and harvesting periods, monitoring livestock, crop damage and water supply.

What gives drones an advantage over satellite imagery is the ability to fly under clouds and take clear images.

Quadcopter

Quadcopters and UAV:s can monitor livestock, crop damage and water supply.
Credit: ackab1 / flickr.com/photos/ackab/15712761628/

The Entertainment Industry

Camera drones are also becoming a huge part of the news and entertainment industry lately. These flying devices are used for news gathering, advertising, media, filmmaking and photography.

The fact that a number of Hollywood directors are eager to implement this technology suggests that drones might soon revolutionize the entertainment market.

Offering a unique point of view, unmanned aerial vehicles have gotten photographers and filmmakers from all over the world interested.

Surprisingly enough, while the US is far ahead in using them for military purposes, the country is still lagging behind Europe when it comes to taking advantage of their commercial value.

The reason why is that government regulations concerning drones are still being defined. The US Federal Aviation Administration already allowed six movie and television production studios to use unmanned aerial vehicles and now dozens of other entertainment companies have filed similar applications.

The Future of Drones

The future

Credit: Colleen A Bryant / flickr.com/photos/hatwoman/

 

There is a lot of work ahead of those who want to introduce drones on the commercial market.

Manufacturers strive to develop a wider variety of aircraft to match different customer needs and to offer them at more affordable prices.

Still, one thing is certain: unmanned aircraft as a commercial and entertainment tool are here to stay.

A unique combination of mechanical, electronic and software technology, the many uses of drones are yet to be discovered.

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