9 Amazing Uses For Drones

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DJI Phantom 2 with GoPro Hero 3 in flight
Image: Don McCullough / flickr.com/photos/69214385@N04/8725078749

It would be difficult not to remember the hubbub surrounding Amazon’s announcement of plans to use drones to deliver packages to customer’s doorsteps last year.

This was met with a mixture of amazement, skepticism and consternation all at the same time.

While one person looked forward to the convenience offered with great expectation, another expressed fears that something untoward could follow.

It is not unusual for new uses of modern technology to stir a vast array of emotions, but given enough time things can change and greater acceptance of the use of drones is sure to be seen in the near future.

The public may not be ready for the routine use of this delivery system in the shipping industry just yet, but the increased efficiency and reduction in costs is sure to see them in wide use soon.

Here are some other future uses for unmanned aerial vehicles:

1. Advertisement

An Asian restaurant in Russia recently made use of personal drones to increase profits.

Equipped with advertisement fliers, operators flew them around Moscow at just the right time to entice office workers to order or eat in.

This campaign was so successful that ‘drone-vertising‘ is sure to take off in the Russian market.

In Russia you can now also get your pizza delivered by a drone!

2. Aerial Sports Photography

Helicopters and airplanes have been used for a long time to get up-in-the-air photography and video shots during sporting events, but they cannot match the angles and heights made possible by drones.

Personal GoPro cameras are perfect for capturing that first-person perspective, but just watch what happens now as closer angles allow that up close and personal aspect to watching favorite sports.

Aerial photography
Credit: Jason Thien / flickr.com/photos/thienzieyung/16130057207/


3. Journalism

Students at the Missouri Journalism School are now being taught how to operate drones as part of their information gathering training.

Crime scene investigation, natural disaster and other here-to-fore hard to document events are just some of the applications J-bots will be used for in the future.

4. Racing and Combat

Drones offer some entertainment value of their own. A number of groups today are creating sporting events with these devices by pitting them against each other in races or fighting arenas.

While primitive and in the early stages of development, the next few years should provide increased excitement as more interest is stirred and additional innovation is brought to the scene.

5. Wildlife Documentaries

It’s often impossible for humans to get that perfect close-up shot without spending months stalking a specific animal and dangerous situations can arise while doing so.

Through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles a fraction of that time is required and dangers eliminated because close proximity to humans is no longer part of the equation.

Wildlife documentaries – Credit: USFWS / flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

6. Hunting

Hunters are always looking for ways to make locating game easier and Cy Brown, and engineer from Louisiana devised a heat-sensing camera to help find feral hogs that ruin crops at night.

No more wading through muddy fields searching for the right target when the Dehogaflier is at work.

7. Animal-rights Activism

Animal-rights activists want to make catching criminals in the act easier. The League Against Cruel Sports in Britain uses video camera equipped drones to spot illegal hunters and bring them to justice.

8. Highway Surveillance

With more than 4 million miles of roadways in the United States one wonders who could keep track of them all.

Maybe someday that task will be given to drones.

A grant of $75.000 was recently given to a project designed to study the feasibility of using them to inspect roads and bridges, alert officials about accidents and traffic jams along with laser mapping and land survey.

Highway surveillance
Highway surveillance – Credit: Hamed Saber / flickr.com/photos/hamed

9. Aid and Relief During and After Disasters

One of the most beneficial aspects of drone technology could be realized in the future as part of disaster relief and aid.

Searching for survivors following floods, earthquakes, wildfires and other natural disasters is not easy since such situations put the lives of aid workers at risk.

Drones can be used to survey the areas and help plot or plan rescue and recovery attempts.

They can also be used to deliver much needed supplies to those in need when other delivery systems cannot be used.

Unmanned aerial vehicles  are not inherently dangerous or evil as some may believe. It is how humans use them that make them either useful or ominous to society.

Only the future can tell us how they will evolve, and what other uses for drones will be revealed. What is sure is that we will be hearing more about them in the coming months and years.

Jesse Young