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Drone technology has advanced rapidly, and its progress seems to be perpetual. It is deemed a new generation of aviation technology deployed to promote public safety, enhance scientific research, and create jobs, among other functions.
This revolution of drone technology has also provided better methods of garnering information, acquiring accurate scientific data, and convenient transportation methods.
Future projections suggest that these technologies can generate over $82 billion for the United States in the next decade. Also, there is an estimate that by 2025, the drone sector may have created more than 100,000 new jobs.
In this article, we will look into what the future holds for drone technology.
Table of contents
- Rules Governing the Use of Drones:
- The Future of Drone Technology:
- Bottom Line:
Rules Governing the Use of Drones:
One of the areas that would use a change is the drone regulations. Currently, some regulations have been established to ensure that these technologies operate responsibly.
Such kinds of policies have been implemented by Federal agencies, which include the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of Transportation.
Further steps such as educating pilots and companies have also been initiated.
Additionally, there have been reviews on unmanned aircraft systems and the registration process. This initiative is to enhance privacy protections and reinforce standards in the certification process.
These rules are vital as they will tame violations that may occur due to drones’ vast applications. They include:
- Every drone must fly below 400 feet. This rule will ensure that there is a safe distinction between manned and unmanned aircraft.
- Drones are not permitted to fly in restricted places. These zones include near airports, over a group of people, stadiums and sports events, or near emergency response areas.
- Non-recreational remote pilots should undergo a written to attest to their security parameters. The vetting process is similar to the one conducted on traditional manned-aircraft pilots.
- Remote pilots should ensure that they maintain the unmanned aircraft at a visual range.
However, there’s still a gap in the regulations that prevent them from being fully utilized. Below are some changes that we can expect to see.
Advancements in Drone Technologies:
The Covid-19 pandemic spiked up the need to engage drones in day-to-day activities. This was due to imposed measures such as social distancing and minimal human contact.
As more need arises on the use of drones, several protocols have to be addressed. Such factors are articulated below:
Remote ID Sensing Technology:
This new security system will register aircraft while consolidating information in the drone’s Remote ID system. It will function similarly to a digital license plate.
Remote ID Technology is a vital security step as it will identify and monitor all drones operating in the national space. Thus, it will be easier to differentiate between authorized and malicious flights.
Aircraft Traffic Management:
In 2021, there are over 873,000 registered UAS in the United States. According to prospects, more drones are yet to flock to the airspace.
The big question is, how will these changes impact life and safety? NASA’s research claims that the UAS Traffic Management will design a system that will enhance safe and effective traffic flights.
There will be a distinction in traffic between drones delivering food and goods, safety drones that help save lives, and big aircraft such as helicopters and airplanes.
For this to be effective, every drone user will share their flight details. Also, each user will have similar situation awareness towards flight traffic.
This will mandate robust safety that will uphold a harmonious operation in the future.
Flight Beyond Line of Sight:
One of the biggest challenges in delivering packages, safety, and other drone uses is flying within line of sight regulation.
According to Miriam McNabb, FAA is partnering with companies in the private sector to formulate regulations that will allow drones to fly beyond the line of sight.
According to her, for this to be possible, there needs to be a way to maintain safety on the ground and in the air. That’s where the air traffic management and remote ID come in handy.
Urban Air Mobility:
Once the airspace has been made safe for drones and aircraft, we can expect to see autonomous vehicles or drone taxis utilizing the same airspace. This may reduce the traffic congestion we have in most cities.
The Future of Drone Technology:
As stated earlier, drones are creeping in and becoming part of our everyday life. Though they are in the early stages of inception, unmanned aircraft are aggressively dismantling traditional barriers and taking over technological innovation processes.
Over the past few years, drones have proven to be a stronghold and beneficial in various businesses and governmental organizations.
They provide efficient and timely performance, and they can deliver in stringent conditions where human labor is impossible to maneuver.
Despite that, they will escalate productivity, boost accuracy, enhance customer relations, and solve security concerns. Let us look at the major areas that have and will massively embrace drone technology:
Journalism and Film:
This industry has evolved over the years, and the adoption of drones will take it to another level. Initially, most people and companies used to deploy helicopters when taking shots.
The incorporation of drones will provide safer and cheaper alternatives than the traditional techniques. Additionally, the drone is overtaking the camera and is becoming an integral tool for filmmakers.
These technological improvements will also uplift the imagination in the film industry.
As the adoption goes on, better cameras, durable hardware, and unprecedented software technologies will push the limits for the aerial film industry.
Flying cameras can be utilized in high heights, which makes it convenient to take aerial shots. The use of drones has replaced cranes, dollies, and jibs initially deployed when taking high-altitude shots.
Technological advancement has resulted in companies building drones that are resilient to conditions such as extreme weather, heat, and crashes.
This is essential in taking the film industry to unimaginable levels. Companies such as DJI, the leading manufacturers of drones, have added features that enhance a seamless operation. For example, the Vision Positioning System (VPS) enables a steady drone movement even when you are off the controls.
This feature also ensures that the drone is steady in windy conditions.
Drones have become stable and easier to fly, making them applicable in a wide array of sectors. They have also become relatively cheaper. This has resulted in a surge in usage by geospatial personnel.
Drones have been used to survey the varied landscape. They have also been projected to be imperative tools for people who will be conducting case studies.
These unmanned aircraft grasp photos and videos that provide first-hand information for geographical research.
Some natural systems will require the use of UAVs in collecting information. This includes the gradual alterations in vegetation coverage that happens over time.
Also, other physical landscape changes such as eroding regions, dunes, and changes that happen to water bodies and channels will require unmanned aircraft.
Some regions are totally out of reach due to their geographic locations or security. Unmanned aircraft have provided risk assurance. They have also made it possible to evaluate these areas from a safe location.
Photos and videos taken from high altitudes are essential in compiling maps and contour lines. Field trips that are conducted virtual using a drone are also key in exploring a location.
The drone technology is being deployed in generating 3D copies of landscapes. This is because drones can take photos and videos from different dimensions. With software such as Agisoft Photoscan, these photos can be stitched together to produce a clear final file.
Drones have provided a substantial impact in executing agricultural activities. They are becoming effective in increasing productivity by maximizing yields.
Though they have not been fully adopted, these technologies have provided numerous applications in the agricultural sector.
Also, as technology advances, there are specific drones that will be built for specific agricultural purposes. Further progressions in drone technology are expected to serve agricultural functions such as:
Surveying- Drones have provided a straightforward process of surveying crops on the farm. More evolutions are expected that will ensure that drones come equipped with advanced flight planning software.
Drone Surveying will ensure that users cover the intended areas at ease. Also, the drones will have automated flights that will prepare camera shots by themselves.
Some drones have been fitted with in-built cameras, sensors, and GPS that make them autonomous when taking shots. These automatic features will enhance agricultural surveys in the future.
Crop dusting and spraying- The first drone to ever execute crop spraying was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2015. It was the Yamaha RMAX that weighed approximately 55 pounds.
They used the drone to carry fertilizers and sprays that were sprayed on the crops. Such kinds of unmanned aircraft provide substantial results as opposed to traditional tractors and human labor.
Additionally, they reduce costs, enhance convenience, and reduce the risk that humans are exposed to due to inhaling and contact with agricultural chemicals.
Security and Surveillance:
Nowadays, security is important in day-to-day life. UAVs are becoming responsive in surveying larger areas, curbing intrusions, among others.
Aerial drone services have become the face of reinstating the security forces. They can access a remote area effectively and veer over obstructions that may hinder security operations.
Also, their ability to operate on rooftops and other aerial views make them ideal for consistent surveillance.
The deployment of drones in security has made it possible to oversee possible problems on an early note. Thus, it provides insights into security forces that enable them to act and enforce security measures before going haywire.
Technological advancements have made it possible to install thermal tracking software, an essential step that can track intruders.
On major occasions, drones are becoming a dominant security consideration. They provide a venue survey and relay crucial data on the areas that require immense security prioritization.
These technologies also help the security teams familiarize themselves with the routes and escape plans in a disaster.
Tethered drones have also been built. They are an important security tool as they provide a 360-degree view.
Additionally, they are vital in enhancing investigative security. Other detective features such as alarms and cameras have reinforced security operations. These features have helped in identifying and combating intrusion activities.
Tracking and Mitigating Calamities:
Though drones have gained mixed reviews in recent years, their assistance in attenuating calamities cannot be taken for granted.
Natural and man-made disasters have negative impacts on the environment and can make life quite difficult.
For example, chemical spills take place in industrial plants. These chemicals are hazardous to life. Drones can access these remote areas that require prompt intervention.
Additionally, they can also reach out to areas that are lethal to relief workers.
Also, in case of an earthquake, drones are effective in estimating the range of destructions perceived. They are also utilized in monitoring the disaster scene while minimizing risk to relief workers.
The drones also capture the mapping of the disaster region. They are relatively cheaper than compared to manned aircraft.
Satellite mapping does not match the resolution capacity provided by drones. Also, satellites are not quick to respond as required in emergencies.
Drones also assess the regions that have perceived maximum damage. They then provide feedback for measures. Some areas, such as collapsing buildings and bridges, are extremely risky for emergency workers.
UAVs can reach out in such areas and provide consistent feedback. Technological advancements have seen drones been installed with sniffers that can be used to scrutinize gas lines.
They can be used on lines that carry flammable gases such as methane and prevent leakages that may lead to explosions.
When calamities occur, they may lead to distortion of communication and transport infrastructure. To prevent further damage, drones can be deployed to deliver essential commodities and restore communication.
Also, in areas that power and basic needs are limited, drones can play a major role in mitigating the menace.
Shipping and Delivery:
There is a growing demand for shopping and transacting online. UAVs are creeping into the e-commerce industry, but their roots are not yet fully established.
Amazon, a renowned online franchise, has been the first to project the use of drones in making deliveries. Also, others such as drone pizza delivery and drone burrito delivery are following suit.
Not only will these deliveries be based on foodstuffs, but also other essential humanitarian purposes. For instance, UNICEF collaborated with Matternet in delivering blood samples to Malawi.
This drone delivery ensured that children were tested and received medical drugs on time. In such operations, a drone is quite effective.
This is because it is time-saving as there are no chances of encountering traffic jams. It is also cheaper than compared to a manned aircraft.
It also has a precise delivery, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Thanks to Amazon, people are now changing their mindset towards drones executing delivery services.
There were claims that they may use them to collect confidential information as they fly over the public and people’s homes.
But with the strict rules that are being imposed on the usage of drones, unmanned deliveries will be effectively executed by drones.
There are no autonomous drones. This means that remote pilots operate drones. Also, a pilot can only operate one drone at a time.
When you want to fly your drone at night, a night waiver permits such activities. All in all, a waiver is required when operating a drone.
The world is constantly changing, and it has become inevitable for people to isolate themselves from such changes.
Though they have not been fully embraced, drones are the next movers and shakers in the world’s economy. Their impact has already been witnessed, and as per the progression, more is yet to be unleashed.
UAVs are becoming dominant in almost all types of economic and governmental operations. They have proven to be effective, especially in security, film, research, mapping, and surveillance.
Also, other areas such as agriculture and delivery services are creeping in at a high rate. This has resulted in continuous advancements in software and features that enhance a seamless drone operation.
The substantial efforts have been applied to the hardware to ensure that they are accountable when operating in unfavorable conditions.
We don’t know how long it will take for a full drone manifestation, but with the current results, the future is bright. Also, there are existing and new laws that govern the use of drones.
They have been put in place to minimize the violations that may arise with the freedom of drone usage.