7 Innovative Ways Drones are Being Used in Industry in 2018
Flora from Fat Lama takes a look at 7 ways that drones are being used innovatively in 2018.
The concept of delivery drones seems impossibly futuristic, yet it might not be as far off as you would think. New developments in technology (‘beyond visual line of sight’ for one), have made the possibility so close that Amazon have already began to advertise ‘Prime Air’ – the drone based delivery service that can get your items to you in less than half and hour.
The food industry is also jumping on this bandwagon, Dominoes have promised a similar service to Amazon, and, most significantly of all, an Icelandic food delivery company, AHA, have already made their first deliveries (although this is restricted to a small area of Reykjavik). Nevertheless, pizza delivered by drones is, at the very least, a concept to get excited about!
In many ways the cutting edge of the tech industry and the agricultural sector seem a million miles apart, however, they find their common ground when it comes to drone technology.
The uses for drones here are both diverse and highly beneficial for the environment. For one, drones are being used to plant trees at a rate that far surpasses human planting (120 trees per minute) helping fight deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. They can also be used to apply insecticides and fertilisers with far more precision using on average 20% less chemicals than tractors distribution.
Finally, drones can be used in their traditional capacity as flying cameras allowing farmers to keep track on the movements of livestock across large areas and also to monitor crops for any sign of disease or damage.
As I touched on above in agriculture, there are many ways that drones can be used to help to help the environment.
The thermal sensors installed in some drones enable park rangers to identify poachers in game reserves, protected areas and even at sea. They are especially effective because the thermal imaging allows them to find poachers at night and they can cover a large area much faster than a truck or a boat.
In terms of conservation, drones truly come into their own as a non-invasive way of monitoring animals or plants in remote places or harsh terrains. Allowing conservationists, previously unattainable footage of areas to hostile or unsafe for humans to venture into.
Military and Police
Drones, in their most basic form, were initially developed entirely for military purposes in the 1930’s yet, as we have seen, they have been adapted in many ways since then.
That being said, drones still have a valuable role to play in police and military activity. The same thermal imaging used to prevent poaching can also be vital to assess hostage situations. In the same vein, they can even carry precision guns for extreme incidents.
In more day to day way situations, drones can be used by the police to monitor traffic incidents and record crime scene incidents – providing valuable live footage that can be used as evidence later on. More recently, they have been deployed in anti-terrorism measures to monitor events with large crowds. For example, the French police used two at the 2016 Euro football championship for surveillance in the wake of the November terrorist attacks that year.
We have seen the adoption of drones more and more in cases of emergency responses of late. New technology allowing them longer flight time and more agile movement (and the aforementioned thermal imaging), makes them perfect for search and rescue operations in conditions too unstable for rescue teams to access. What’s more, drones are far more cost effective than other emergency response flying at just a fraction of the price of helicopters.
In addition, drones can be of great use in both the prevention and aftermath of natural disasters. Last year, we saw the use of drones to fly into a series of hurricanes (including Harvey, Irma and Jose) the to monitor their strength – information that helped inform evacuation policies. Finally, in the wake of disaster, 3D imaging can be vital in the reconstruction of damaged areas.
Maintenance and Construction Drones
Just as in emergency response, the primary benefit of maintenance drones is that they can perform jobs that are too hazardous for humans to undertake safely. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in construction and maintenance of industrial buildings – oil rigs being the prime example. Not only can drones access their upper reaches but they can also be used underwater to check the base of the structure is secure.
Many drones are so advanced now that they can actually perform targeted repairs themselves once they have identified any weaknesses. Alongside assessing buildings that are hazardous for their extreme height or depth, drones also come into their own for checking the workings of constructions that cover a large area – solar panels, desert water pipes etc.
Coast Guard Drones
Drones have been deployed in Australia to act as coast guards in rough conditions. Obvious advantage of speed and height allow drones to identify distressed swimmers far more efficiently than a lifeguard on a chair. What’s brilliant about this, is that drones can also drop floatation equipment accurately next to the swimmers as soon as they find them.
Though drones are highly clearly useful for Australia (they can also be used to spot sharks entering swimming bays). They have been deployed by coast guards all over the world, with the coast guard in Cornwall, UK using them successfully to rescue a woman in the Plymouth area.
Alongside rescues, drones have also been used by the US coast guard to prevent illegal drugs smuggling via the coast. In 2015, a drone identified a semi-submersible boat off the coast of Mexico that was carrying nearly $200 million worth of cocaine.
Flora Dallas is a content writer for Fat Lama a peer-to-peer rental platform that allows you to rent almost anything – from drones to cinema cameras and campervans – cheaply from people nearby. On the flipside, the platform also allows lenders to monetise their seldom used possessions by listing them for rental (fully insured) to local people.