Miniature, pilotless aircraft are on the verge of becoming commonplace
THE scale and scope of the revolution in the use of small, civilian drones has caught many by surprise. In 2010 America’s Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) estimated that there would, by 2020, be perhaps 15,000 such drones in the country. More than that number are now sold there every month. And it is not just an American craze. Some analysts think the number of drones made and sold around the world this year will exceed 1m. In their view, what is now happening to drones is similar to what happened to personal computers in the 1980s, when Apple launched the Macintosh and IBM the PS/2, and such machines went from being hobbyists’ toys to business essentials.
That is probably an exaggeration. It is hard to think of a business which could not benefit from a PC, whereas many may not benefit (at least directly) from drones. But the practical use of these small, remote-controlled aircraft is expanding rapidly. After dragging its feet for several years the FAA had, by August, approved more than 1,000 commercial drone operations. These involved areas as diverse as agriculture (farmers use drones to monitor crop growth, insect infestations and areas in need of watering at a fraction of the cost of manned aerial surveys); land-surveying; film-making (some of the spectacular footage in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was shot from a drone, which could fly lower and thus collect more dramatic pictures than a helicopter); security; and delivering things (Swiss Post has a trial drone-borne parcel service for packages weighing up to 1kg, and many others, including Amazon, UPS and Google, are looking at similar ideas).
The drones’ club
Nor is commerce the only area in which drones are making a mark. A glance at the academic world suggests many more uses await discovery. Because drones are cheap, geographers who could never afford conventional aerial surveys are able to use them to track erosion, follow changes in rivers’ sources and inspect glaciers. Archaeologists and historians are taking advantage of software that permits drones fitted with ordinary digital cameras to produce accurate 3D models of landscapes or buildings. This lets them map ancient ruins and earthworks. Drones can also go where manned aircraft cannot, including the craters of active volcanoes and the interiors of caves. A drone operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, has even snatched breath samples from spouting whales for DNA analysis. And drones are, as might be expected, particularly useful for studying birds. A standard shop-bought drone can, for example, be used unmodified for counting nests high in a forest’s canopy.
Public servants, too, are putting drones through their paces. In the case of nest-counting, the idea is not to disturb the wildlife in question. In Ottawa officials have taken the opposite approach, with a “goosebuster” drone that is fitted with speakers which play the calls of birds of prey. This has kept a city park on Petrie Island free from the hundreds of geese whose droppings were causing problems. Police in Michigan are considering using drones for mapping the scenes of accidents, so that roads can be reopened more quickly. And drones can save lives, as well as keeping parks clean and traffic moving. In June, for example, Frank Roma, a fireman, rescued two boys from a river in Maine with the help of a drone. The boys were stuck on a rock in the middle of a powerful current. Mr Roma employed a drone to carry a line out to them, along which he passed life jackets that they were able to put on before an inflatable boat went out to perform the tricky manoeuvre of picking them up.
Other roles for drones are more questionable.
The Latest on: UAVs and Drones
[google_news title=”” keyword=”UAVs and Drones” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: UAVs and Drones
- Moscow enhancing Iran-made Shahed drones with Russian weapons, modifications: UKon December 6, 2023 at 9:50 pm
Russia most likely has been supplementing Iran-supplied Shahed kamikaze drones with Russian weapons and modifications since mid-2023, British military ...
- Explained: How Army's New Lens For Drones Can Deceive Enemy Air Defenceon December 6, 2023 at 9:48 pm
The Indian Army has developed an all-weather, all-terrain, special lens that can used to deceive the enemy air defence systems during wartime, helping in the suppression and destruction of enemy air ...
- Armenian company AirWorker displays AW5R UAV at EDEX 2023 exhibition in Egypton December 6, 2023 at 12:50 pm
Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX) international exhibition of defense and security technologies got underway Monday in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. At this exhibition, 12 companies from Armenia present their ...
- US warship shoots down drone launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemenon December 6, 2023 at 10:00 am
A US warship shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Wednesday in the southern Red Sea, a US military official said.
- Nighttime drone attack: Air defenses destroy 10 of 17 Shahed UAVson December 5, 2023 at 8:57 pm
Ukraine’s air defense forces intercepted 10 out of 17 Russian combat UAVs in various regions across Ukraine. — Ukrinform.
- Photos offer an up-close look at how Ukrainian soldiers rig their drones with deadly explosiveson December 5, 2023 at 2:28 pm
Ukraine has shown astonishing precision with its drones, flying them into open hatches of Russian tanks and dropping bombs on unsuspecting troops.
- Iran Releases Threatening Drone Clip of USS Eisenhower, US Responds with Pic of Machine Gun Behind UAVon December 5, 2023 at 2:06 pm
An Iranian drone flew over the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier strike group last week as it was operating in the Persian Gulf. But what the Iranians probably didn't know is that the drone ...
- UAV Market Analysis: Growth Catalysts Behind OEM Dominance on December 5, 2023 at 5:30 am
The acceptance of UAVs Market Size or drones has steadily been increasing across the world for use in law enforcement and commercial applications. UAVs are witnessing increased demand owing to their ...
- Cabinet minister says UK military is flying ‘unarmed and unmanned drones’ over Gazaon December 3, 2023 at 9:33 am
Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has admitted that the UK is flying ‘unarmed and unmanned drones’ over Gaza to ‘search for hostages’.
- Cheap and easy-to-use drones are making wars deadlieron December 1, 2023 at 4:00 pm
The 75 or so Iranian-made drones (also called unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs) dropped explosives or exploded upon impact, terrifying residents and causing at least five injuries as well as serious ...
via Bing News