Unmanned flying crafts, drones, have been used by the military for years in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or impossible. Like most military technology, it has been expanded and drones are now being used in daily life in order to make tasks easier.
- Amazon’s Delivery Drone
Amazon has already tested and revised its first prototype, making progress towards their goal of using drones to make small deliveries to their customers. Each drone would be able to carry 5lbs in packages and deliver them directly to customers’ doors, within 30 minutes. Normally a pilot is only able to control one drone at a time, but amazon has improved on this, making it possible for one pilot to control multiple drones simultaneously. Amazon hasn’t given a date when they will start using the drones for delivery, but continue to test them in several different countries.
Japanese company Prodrone knows that the more a drone can do, the easier it will be to integrate it into people’s lives. Keeping this in mind they have invented the PD6B-AW-ARM which is able to lift items that weigh up to 22lbs, with its 5-axis grasping arms. The drone is specially stabilised during flight in order to be able to transport the objects. Fully charged it will be able to fly up to speeds of 37mph and heights of 16,404 ft., for a maximum of ½ hour. It has also been designed for use in and around the home, including improvement projects, as it can turn on and off switches, cut cables and join items. This technology would also be greatly beneficially to people that have limited mobility, allowing them to become more independent.
- Facebook’s Wi-Fi Wonder
The internet is a major part of both our business and personal life, but over 2/3 of the people in the world are still living without access to Wi-Fi. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has embarked on a project to bring the internet to everybody using solar powered drones. Each of these environmentally friendly drones would be about the size of a 727 aircraft, but weighing significantly less and able to hover between 60,000 and 90,000 ft. They would be able to stay airborne for up to three months, with each providing internet access across a 50 mile radius. The long term goal is to have enough of them working side by side in order for the entire world to be able to access the internet.
In both military and civilian life one of the first uses of drone technology was to enable us to view and take pictures of previously inaccessible places. They have been used in order to capture spectacular images of plants, animals, the inside of caves, underground havens, the earth from different angles and many more images that we would otherwise never have seen. This has started a new era in photography and more powerful drone cameras are being designed all the time. They are also used by the military and law officers in situations that may be dangerous, e.g. when trying to rescue hostages, in order to save lives and make a record of what is taking place.