The word drone itself is synonymous to strife, war, misery, misdirected weaponry amongst other evils. The military industrial complex and drone technology are often viewed as an evil axis made to annihilate mankind. If the international news is anything to go by, drones have the infamy of not being accurate and often at times targeting innocent civilians. It is against this backdrop that sanitizing the image would range from being named Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (perhaps giving it a more appealing look) to being used for peaceful purposes.
The origin of UAV can be traced to Venice balloon bombings, and subsequent United States bid to avert pilot loss in the Vietnam War move to have unmanned crafts. The advantage of this was perceived to result to few human fatalities. Perhaps the cold war era played a bigger role in the development of drone technology for reconnaissance of perceived enemy states.
However, behind all the negativity lie the advantages of drone technology; to bring out the best out of mankind. One can however not deny the domestication of a drone is synonymous to it being used in civilian fashion and not state, military or governmental cross-purposes.
For any movie enthusiast, one cannot deny the need to employ this technology to improve motion pictures. A perfect indicator of such is the petition by American film makers to the relevant regulatory body to allow drones with cameras to be used in film making. The need for clearer and better angular shots is inevitable. The cable cameras sure do give good angles but the panoramic views of a UAV are unrivalled. The level of flexibility and the remote control or the artificial intelligence employed would definitely give better insights than the rather predetermined cabled camera.
In a world faced with security threats lurking all the time anywhere, one cannot afford to take risks. The fixed CCTV camera is slowly being out- smarted by criminals. A foreseeable future is the vigilant neighbourhood watch being replaced by a neighbourhood drone. This would is able to give live feeds on the happenings around a block and double up as an alarm in case any unusual activities are detected.
Equally several fields employ the use of drones especially in the medical sector. The far flung areas that are inaccessible can get medical supplies using drones. Medicines San Frontiers (Doctors without Borders) are an other case in point. Having the problem of working in areas that are hard to access, drones have been used for medical supplies in war ravaged areas, unfavourable terrain or where fixed winged lanes have difficulty of access.
The biggest beneficiary of drone technology however would be cartographers, surveyors or mining firms. The ability to have cameras on drones to have aerial view gives an accurate picture. Equally vital measurements can be used to estimate size, topographical mapping on terrain, or analysis of mineral composition of a particular area. Considering the ease of mapping using computer software one can in real time do analysis from live feeds obtained from the drone.
Another key use of drones would be search and rescue. Recent reports in the US where a man with dementia who was lost for 3 days being located using a drone are still fresh. The drones, as opposed to manned craft and looker trying to find a person are more efficient. Picture a search and rescue operation in the deep sea, computerized body heat scans fitted in a drone can locate a person in real time with pin point precision.
Agriculture is another field that would gladly employ the technology. Consider a ranch owner having computers fitted in his living room and using a drone to get a clear picture of the happenings in his ranch just as he would do receiving information from a foreman. The low altitude drone would be efficient, perhaps hand held and thrown into the air to commence survey. The relevance of drones to the modern society is undeniable. The capabilities are immense and yet untapped. The need to explore other peaceful, constructive options is paramount. There is so much an UAV can do in terms of improving livelihoods, lifestyle and productivity of people. This comes with a caveat too, the risk of this technology being misused is equally high. However, the likelihood of future parcels, and newspapers being delivered by drones seem real. Perhaps even Santa Claus will even start doing deliveries using Santa drones with red nosed beepers !!