Drones most certainly are not the exclusive use of western governments. They have been used for a large variety of applications in recent years. You'll probably be able to think of several uses off the top of your head, but some listed here might come as a surprise. Drones have an interesting set of uses from art installations to property surveying and even might produce the future of the paparazzi, which is a little disconcerting. There is no doubt that they provide fantastic opportunities for businesses and recreation but what else are they being used for?
In the following article, we'll look at sixteen examples of the current uses of drones around the world. This list is by no means exhaustive and is in no particular order.
[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]
1. Delivering stuff
Nowadays, next day delivery is a part of online shopping, but the use of drones could mean "same day delivery" and in style. Domino's and Amazon have seen the potential of this kind of application for the tech which might very well become the norm in the future.
2. Crime fighting
Crime is the bane of any society, but crime fighting, primarily investigation, could be improved with drones. Forces across the world are starting to use them to gain intelligence on potential leads and threats. Private citizen privacy may well be threatened but perhaps it is a price worth paying? We'll let you decide.
3. Protecting national borders
Immigration, specifically border security, is a rather emotive issue but it is incredibly important to a nation state. Border control agencies are now using drones to patrol borders and coastlines for potential breaches. The Australian Government, for example, have recently adopted drones to step up their border security.
4. Changing journalism
Journalism has been enhanced in the past with developments in video and imaging but could drones become the new norm for coverage? The concept has been endorsed by many schools of journalism. Students across the world are being taught about the viability of using a drone in high-risk areas like war zones to get up to the minute footage, whilst protecting the operators from harm.
5. Life support
Somewhat similar to the previous application, a graduate has developed a method of delivering defibrillators to heart attack victims. This application would work, in theory, with a medic placing the device onto a drone and directing its flight path to the victim. This could also work to deliver the required medication in other life threatening situations like, say, snake bite victims.
6. Inspecting buildings
Building surveyors are increasingly appreciating the use of drones to inspect normally non-accessible parts of buildings for stock condition and other specialized building inspections. The use of drones saves time and money on specialist access equipment and also keeps the inspectors "out of harm's way", especially at high levels.
7. Estate agency
Somewhat similar to the number 6 above, letting agents have started to use drones to record overview shots of properties for particular details. Some of them are even recording footage of the surrounding environment to create a virtual tour for potential clients.
8. Transporting medicine/aid
There are many cases where an emergency supply of medical supplies or aid is required, wars or natural disasters for instance. Drones could be used to replace more antiquated methods like Brandy barrels and St. Bernard dogs. Matternet, for example, is an aviation company who are developing a network to transport medication to high-risk areas. A good recent example was by the US Government who used drones to look for survivors and transport medication, protecting its troops from any danger.
9. Assisting search and rescue teams
Search and rescue operations often occur in rural settings with varying degrees of terrain which can be very dangerous or inhospitable. It usually takes the team a while to reach the victim. The virtual "eyes" and "ears" of a drone could be used to direct a team to their target much more efficiently, perhaps even supplying first aid on the scene.
10. Monitoring wildlife
Wildlife, especially endangered species, could be monitored from a distance using drones. This concept has put to the test by a team of Indonesian scientists. The team used drones to spy on a group of endangered apes to check on their state of being and habitat.
11. Assisting farmers
Farmers have an incredibly tough job working in all weather conditions and needing to grow and harvest crops on top of long working days. Their lives could be made a lot easier with special drones that use infra-red technology to monitor farm estates. It could also help show them how well crops are growing.
12. Protecting the environment
Believe it or not, drones have started to be used by authorities to catch environmental criminals in the act. Environmental agencies have adopted drones to catch polluters red-handed in the act of dumping or fly tipping. NASA have also started using drones to monitor the ozone layer and environmental consultancies have started using them for air pollution sampling.
13. Covering sporting events
Journalists aren't the only guys who benefit from drones. Drones can even be used to cover sporting events anywhere in the world. Drones can provide unique perspectives and views for spectators and they are a great source of PR. This tech even made an appearance in the Olympics, which is pretty cool.
14. Getting snaps of celebrities
Celebrity coverage, for some, brightens up an otherwise dull day. For those who like that sort of thing, drones are fast replacing the paparazzi. One particularly intrusive photographer managed to grab footage of Tina Turner's wedding to Erwin Bach. The future use of drones for capturing footage of otherwise exclusive and private events is likely to boom. This might very well be the most worrying use of drones on our list.
Have you ever thought of using a drone to create unique and strange art pieces? In 2012, a Dutch Artist made the headlines after turning the corpse of his dead cat into a drone. In case you care, the cat's name is Oliver and he sadly died during a car collision. Thank you Oliver, your sacrifice won't be forgotten.