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[AOPA drone] 38 ways drones affect the world: gradually changing everything from food delivery to space exploration
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[AOPA drone] 38 ways drones affect the world: gradually changing everything from food delivery to space exploration

2019-01-29 00:00

[AOPA drone] 38 ways drones affect the world: gradually changing everything from food delivery to space exploration  

Research organization CB Insights released 38 ways to use drone technology. From military, commercial to civilian use, this new technology can play an important role, ranging from food delivery to military defense and weather forecasting and disease control. With the continuous improvement of drone technology, it can replace many of the most dangerous and highest-paying jobs in the commercial field, and the time is ripe.

This safe, cost-effective solution has a wide range of applications, from data collection to delivery and transportation. With improvements in autonomy and collision avoidance technology, drones are also improving their ability to perform increasingly complex tasks.

According to forecasts, the emerging global commercial service market using drones is worth more than 127 billion U.S. dollars. As more and more companies hope to take advantage of these business opportunities, investment in the field of drones will continue to grow.

UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) usually refers to an unmanned aircraft operated by a combination of technologies, including computer vision, artificial intelligence, and object avoidance technology. But drones can also refer to machines that can be automatically operated on the ground or at sea.

The following are 38 ways companies use drone technology in various industries:

1. Defense

Although unmanned aircraft have been used by the military for more than a decade, the ground forces now regularly use this small portable drone.

It is expected that military expenditures for this technology will grow, and expenditures can account for a percentage of the total large military budgets, such as the US$64 billion defense budget of the United States, providing huge opportunities for professional drone manufacturers and software developers.

Many drones are specifically designed for surveillance, and there are also drones designed for offensive operations. Prox Dynamics, a military-grade drone manufacturer acquired by FLIR Systems in the fourth quarter of 2016, has supplied one of the reconnaissance drone products used by militaries around the world, including the US Marine Corps, British Army, Australian Army and Norwegian Armed Forces force.

In addition to using new aviation technology, the military continues to use unmanned ground vehicles (or UGV) to deploy tactics. Startup Clearpath Robotics produces UAVs and UGVs. Customers include the US Department of Defense, US Army and US Navy.

2. Emergency response

The innovation of camera technology has greatly promoted the use of drones. UAVs equipped with thermal imaging cameras provide an ideal solution for emergency response teams to identify victims that are difficult to detect with the naked eye.

In 2017, Land Rover worked with the Austrian Red Cross to design a special combat vehicle with a top-mounted thermal imaging drone. The car includes an integrated landing system that allows the drone to safely land on the roof while in motion. This customized Land Rover "Project Hero" is designed to reduce emergency response time and save lives.

Various start-up companies and universities are also designing systems for search and rescue. Flyability is a development company for anti-collision drones. Its products perform particularly well in narrow areas with limited visibility, and this is an environment often encountered by emergency response teams.

In addition, Delft University of Technology has tested an ambulance drone that can provide defibrillators on demand. By expanding the existing emergency infrastructure, drones can greatly improve the rescue survival rate in rural and urban areas around the world.

3. Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

In addition to emergency response, drones are also useful during natural disasters. After hurricanes and earthquakes, drones are used to assess damage, find victims and provide assistance. In some cases, they can also prevent disasters completely.

In order to help monitor and prevent forest fires, surveillance drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras have been put into use to detect abnormal forest temperatures. In this way, the team was able to determine the areas most prone to forest fires, or identify them within 3 minutes of the fire.

Although it is strictly forbidden to use recreational drones in areas with active forest fires, the team operates properly and it is proven that drones can play a big role.

4. Wildlife conservation

Poaching and climate change have had a huge impact on the health of wildlife around the world. Fortunately, conservationists are adopting innovative methods to protect and study global ecosystems. Combined with geospatial imagery, drones can now monitor and track animals, and can also be used to mark animals and collect samples.

DJI UAV has always been a leader in the field of conservation, and its products allow conservation teams to conduct research without affecting the natural habitat. The Ocean Alliance is one of the organizations that uses drones (such as the Ocean SnotBot) to collect samples, such as whale mucus. In addition to promoting ecosystem research, drones can also allow conservationists to track and imprison poachers.

5. Disease control

In addition to tracking animals, drones can also allow researchers to track diseases. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine uses drones with thermal imaging cameras to track the activities of macaques in Palawan Province, the Philippines, an area with a high incidence of malaria.

Tracking these animals further gains insight into the direction in which infectious diseases may move, and the spread of diseases from animals to humans. Similarly, Microsoft is also using drone technology to capture and test infectious diseases caused by mosquitoes.

Ideally, this kind of intelligence can be used to protect local residents, and it can also be used to prevent epidemics in the future.

6. Health

Modern medicine has had a profound impact on preventing diseases, extending life expectancy and improving general living standards. However, in many rural areas of the world, access to modern medicine is quite difficult.

Although medical supplies can be provided through traditional means, in some cases fast transportation of drugs, blood and medical technology is required, and these drones can fill the gap.

Zipline International is one of the most famous venture-backed medical service companies. Zipline has launched drone services in rural areas across Africa and continues to expand its coverage. Flirtey drones can also transport drugs.

7. Agriculture

In essence, our health is closely related to the food we eat, and agriculture is an important component of human well-being. In addition, farmers are working hard to reduce costs and expand production.

Using drones, farmers can collect data, automate redundant processes, and maximize efficiency.

Raptor Maps is a leader in the field of agricultural analysis, relying on drones to help farmers better understand their potential crop yields. After cultivating healthy crops, the harvesting process is repetitive, time-consuming, and different details must be taken into consideration.

In order to solve this problem, the equipment manufacturer Case IH has launched an automatic tractor, and Abundant Robotics is developing a product that automatically picks crops. Growing crops may also be a tedious and energy-consuming process, but DroneSeed can solve the seeding problem at a speed of 350 feet per second.

In terms of research capabilities, drones have also been used to pollinate flowers. One day this method may effectively compensate for insufficient pollination caused by the decrease in the number of bees.

8. Weather forecast

Climate change continues, and scientists are also using new forms of hardware and software for data collection. Today, most data is collected through stationary structures or geospatial imaging solutions. However, drones provide a versatile solution that can actually track as the weather changes.

In addition to aircraft, unmanned surface vehicles (USV) are also changing the way data is collected. Saildrone has developed an autonomous sailboat that can collect ocean and atmospheric data from the sea. The data collected can already allow us to better understand changes in the environment and weather. Atmosar will collect and analyze weather data to maximize drone flight duration and stability.

9. Maritime

Currently, the number of people working on international merchant ships is estimated to reach 1.65 million, and they need a lot of supplementary expertise. But with more and more marine data and independent innovation, unmanned maritime vehicles may become the standard for maritime transport. Rolls-Royce has completed a series of remotely controlled unmanned boat trials.

Inspecting ships is also an important and routine part of the industry. Although Rolls-Royce plans to use smaller drones to inspect ships on the water, Orobotix has designed an underwater drone that inspects the hull from underwater.

10. Waste management

Recycling and biodegradation have greatly improved global waste management. And innovative ways of waste collection are still emerging. UAVs play a leading role in this regard, helping us clean up the ocean.

RanMarine operates an unmanned ship similar to Roomba that can be used to collect waste at the port, while RedZone Robotics focuses on wastewater management.

11. Energy

Although alternative energy sources are becoming more and more popular, fossil fuels are still the world's main energy source. Checking the infrastructure for extracting, refining and transporting oil and gas is an important aspect of the industry. Supervision will propose certain standards to minimize the risk of damage to the environment.

Using drones, most inspections can be done remotely and safely. Sky-Futures is an unmanned aerial vehicle company focused on oil and gas detection, used by many of the world's largest oil companies to inspect offshore drilling platforms.

SkyX Systems also focuses on oil and gas inspection, as well as pipeline assessment. At the same time, Cyberhawk Innovations provides solutions for fossil fuel energy and alternative energy suppliers.

12. Mining

Mining is a capital-intensive business that requires continuous measurement and evaluation of physical materials. The stock of ores or rocks or minerals is difficult to measure. However, through a unique camera, the drone is able to capture the volume of inventory data and investigate mining operations from the air. This reduces the risk of personnel measured in the field.

Airobotics provides industrial-grade on-site drone solutions that can be used by mining companies to measure materials, operate, and inspect general safety. The system is completely autonomous, stored in the field enclosure, and can automatically replace the camera and battery.

Mining can also use autonomous vehicles, such as the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) designed by Komatsu. Similar to many other drones today, these vehicles can be controlled remotely and the controller does not need to be on site.

13. Architectural planning

One of the most popular commercial use cases for drones is building planning and management. Software developers have developed solutions that can be used to capture data on a regular basis. Although ground surveys are still a key part, drone data is becoming more and more important.

Camera technology can be used to monitor buildings and measure topography and soil types throughout the construction life cycle. Skycatch has launched a monthly software subscription service, which can be used with the self-made Skycatch UAV or with multiple DJI drones.

Dronomy provides a set of similar software solutions aimed at enhancing project monitoring and site management.

14. Infrastructure development

Although UAVs play an effective and direct role in building planning and management, they may also be used to develop physical infrastructure.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, in collaboration with robotics expert Raffaello D'Andrea and construction company Gramazio Kohler Architects, created a building entirely constructed of drones.

By programming the drone, moving and building thousands of polymer bricks, the team was able to build a geometric structure nearly 10 meters high. This finished product conforms to the concept of a "vertical village", which uses a similar structure, but can be built with a larger drone.

15. Insurance

Insurance inspection is a core area that insurance companies can use drones to complete. Traditionally, property insurance inspectors and appraisers will conduct manual inspections of property, but now drones can use high-resolution cameras for the same detailed evaluation.

Although damaged or defective properties still require on-site inspection, drones are also beginning to have an impact.

UAV companies that focus on the insurance industry include Converge Industries, which eases the job of insurance inspectors. Kespry partnered with Farmers Insurance to expand its products in this area.

16. Real estate

Drones can take photos of high-value properties, which shows that the real estate industry can also be subverted by drone technology. DroneBase provides on-demand photography solutions for many different industries, including residential and commercial real estate.

Although low-cost aerial photography technology can be used to take pictures of the exterior of the property, the interior of the home can also be taken with a small and flexible drone.

Zaw Studios is a media company near Los Angeles that can use drones to take immersive 360-degree photos and videos in large houses. The finished product provides potential buyers with a perspective comparable to field trips.

17. City Planning

Urbanization continues to accelerate, and cities have to face the problem of more population and chronic congestion. Urban planning is becoming more and more important, and to plan well, you need to thoroughly understand the rhythm and flow of people in a metropolis. Using drones, city planners can better understand the environment and implement data-driven improvements.

The engineering consulting company Arup can use drones to collect data in densely populated areas and let users understand the city. Due to the limited budgets of many cities, drones provide a low-cost way to obtain city data. Specifically, drones help city planners determine which areas can be converted into green spaces without causing further congestion.

[AOPA drone] 38 ways drones affect the world: gradually changing everything from food delivery to space exploration

18. Personal transportation

Yihang has developed an autonomous aircraft (AAV) that uses four rotors for vertical takeoff, similar to a quadcopter. Even in cities with a lot of obstacles, machines can transport passengers to and from their destinations. AAV takes fewer passengers and is equipped with a fail-safe function or built-in system to safely land in the event of an engine failure or collision.

Lilium Aviation also plans to build an autopilot that will undertake passenger transportation, but its design is more similar to Harrier Jet or F-35 than a quadcopter drone.

19. Aviation

Compliance is a challenge faced by many industries, and the aviation industry especially needs to comply with particularly strict regulatory standards. The comprehensiveness of FAA inspections varies, but basic inspections of aircraft are conducted after every 125 hours of flight time. In addition, airlines should conduct their own routine inspections before each flight.

In order to improve this process, Intel cooperated with Airbus to conduct external aircraft inspections with drones. Intel provides drones. The company entered the drone field after acquiring Ascending Technologies in 2016. The products are equipped with cameras that can collect images and data and can provide detailed 3D models for the Airbus fleet.

Airbus also launched its own drone subsidiary Airbus Aerial, hoping to provide detection solutions for all walks of life. At the same time, Canard Drones provides detection solutions for airports.

20. Telecommunications

Telecom towers need frequent inspections to ensure smooth service. After Hurricane Harvey, AT&T and Verizon used drones to inspect their telecommunications towers in Houston, Texas. This process was originally a very dangerous and time-consuming operation and required manual completion.

These drones can quickly assess damage and can deploy maintenance teams to restore service. In many cases, the service can be restored within a few hours, before it took a few days.

Skyward is a detection drone company acquired by Verizon in the first quarter of 2017. It provides a drone-as-a-service software platform to help drone operators in all walks of life. Judging from the recent natural disasters, Verizon has reached a particularly profitable acquisition.

21. Internet access

The world's large technology companies are competing for user time and attention, so global Internet access is becoming more and more important.

Facebook tried to use Aquila’s solar-powered drone, which plans to provide Internet access to rural areas of the world. Before development stopped in mid-2018, Aquila was a core component of Facebook's Internet.org plan.

Google initially acquired Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered drone company, to provide drone-driven Internet (similar to Aquila), but the project is extremely challenging. Since then, Google has turned to a weather balloon-like design (Project Loon), which will provide stratospheric Internet access services.

22. Outdoor industry

In the consumer field, drones were early used as entertainment tools for outdoor activities, such as aerial landscape photography and extreme sports lenses. Drones have changed the way people experience the earth.

Today, drones can be used to take breathtaking photos and award-winning movies. Parrot acquired SenseFly, whose product can create 3D rendered images of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland.

UAV can map the entire mountain surface in less than 7 hours, so mountain climbers and skiers can better understand the terrain.

23. Tourism and Hotel

Drones have changed the way hotels do marketing and may also change our concept of luxury accommodation. Design company HOK envisions drone hotels that can go to specific locations on demand, such as flying to remote locations or locations that are difficult to access with traditional technology.

Traditional hotels also use drones to provide services. For example, Unsupervised AI uses drones to quickly and autonomously provide package and room service.

24. Live entertainment

UAV can be used directly in the entertainment field. Disney is one of the most active companies in this field and has applied for a series of drone patents focused on entertainment. The entertainment giant has considered synchronized light shows, floating projection screens and drone puppet shows. Verge Aero allows individual users to create real-time, synchronized drone performances.

25. Sports

Skycam is a robotic camera that can be hung on a cable-driven computerized transportation system. It has changed the way viewers enjoy live TV sports. The camera provides close range and personal perspective, which are lenses that traditional still cameras cannot capture. Today, Skycam is a must for professional stage and sports broadcasting.

However, drones are also becoming more and more popular in professional sports outside the stadium. For example, AeroCine (or Aerobo) provides live sports broadcast services, which are broadcast on major TV broadcasts.

In addition to traditional sports, drones are also affecting the form of human movement. The UAV Racing Alliance is a global drone racing series that uses cutting-edge technology to transmit data and share content with millions of people.

26. Hollywood Movies

The first batch of industries to adopt drones is the film industry, which can capture dramatic aerial perspectives without using helicopters. This had a huge impact on Hollywood and pushed the limits of cinematography.

As this technology continues to be adopted, the FAA and MPAA have worked together to establish a regulatory process for the use of commercial drones in space.

Aerial MOB, which was acquired by 5D Robotics in the second quarter of 2016, used drones to shoot movie content, such as "Circle of Life", "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "City of Philharmonic". They also use drones to shoot various commercials, including Apple Music.

27. Advertising

In addition to shooting commercials, drones can also be used as a physical medium for marketing. In live events or high-traffic locations, aerial advertising can be realized by drones. DroneCast developed a banner advertising service to provide customers with samples of the Ford brand at car conferences. Similarly, Hoovy.co also focuses on banner advertising services.

28. Retail

Drones can transport goods to and from local retailers and logistics centers. Amazon's use of space is extremely innovative, focusing on logistics, and the company frequently applies for drone patents.

The private market is also booming, with investment activities aimed at improving the efficiency of land and air delivery. Matternet is trying to combine delivery trucks with aerial drones, while Starship Technologies is building a fleet of self-driving robots aimed at delivering local goods within 30 minutes.

29. Manufacturing and inventory management

Robot technology plays a vital role in today's assembly line. Although drones perform best in unstructured environments, they also play a unique role in modern manufacturing.

From raw material discovery to assembly line inspection, unmanned aerial vehicles may complete tasks that cannot be completed by large pre-programmed robots, dangerous to humans or complicated tasks.

In addition to manufacturing and delivery, drones can also be used in warehouses and logistics centers for inventory management. Recent MIT research outlines an inventory system that uses drones to communicate with battery-free RFID technology. UAVs can locate and measure the containers around the facility or the inventory in various sensor networks in the containers.

30. Underground Economy and Fighting Crime

Although drone technology has many positive uses, a small number of criminals will also use it for illegal activities. In particular, drones have been used to transport drugs across borders.

On the contrary, drones will also be used by law enforcement agencies to monitor and prevent crime. Large drones, such as the DJI Matrice 600, have a span of nearly 5.5 feet and are designed to carry heavy Hollywood cameras. The flight time is 18-40 minutes, depending on the weight of the payload, and the top speed is 40 mph. Can well help law enforcement agencies complete related tasks.

31. Fitness

From wearable devices to 3D body scanning devices, fitness technology aims to make training and exercise programs more personalized through tracking physical activity and biometric technology. However, the implementation of tracking is turned to guidance, and some new devices are emerging to provide users with feedback and guidance.

Drones can track user exercises and collect video data to enhance the digital coaching experience. There are already several consumer drones on the market that can be programmed according to the owner, including FlyPro's XEagle Sport drone, DJI's Mavic Pro and Yihang's Ghostdrone 2.0.

For the visually impaired, drones can make exercise planning easier. In 2015, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Nevada in the Human Laboratory at the University of Reno created a prototype to guide blind people to run.

The runner is guided by sound. The device is also equipped with a camera that follows the lines around the track and a camera that focuses on the marks on the runner's shirt. Fly about 10 feet in front of the runner, which can be adjusted according to the runner's speed.

32. Food service industry

Online food ordering and delivery services enable fast casual restaurants to shrink physical locations and reduce real estate expenses, but the cost of delivery commissions is still driving down profits. Some restaurants hope to use drones to deliver food faster and cheaper.

Iceland-based AHA is an e-commerce platform that can provide food delivery services. In August 2017, it cooperated with the Israeli drone logistics company Flytrex to establish a small delivery route in Reykjavik.

AHA and Flytrex use hexacopters to deliver food directly to the North Atlantic Gulf, greatly shortening the delivery time. The company plans to add more delivery routes in the future.

Drones seem to be used more and more to deliver pizza. Domino cooperated with the startup Flirtey in November 2016 to launch the first drone commercial pizza service. In 2018, HBO partnered with brand delivery agencies Fooji and Drone Dudes to deliver pizza in Silicon Valley.

Drones may also change the way food is delivered in restaurants. In 2015, Infinium Robotics developed an Infinium-Serve drone attendant to solve the shortage of service personnel in Singapore.

These drones can carry food and drinks weighing up to 4.4 pounds. Similarly, in 2016, a university in the Netherlands opened a pop-up cafe that uses drone attendants to receive and deliver customer orders.

33. News and news reports

News media are also using drones to increase news value and improve documentary stories.

According to reports, CNN has the most advanced drone program in the US news media industry, CNN Air. This project has completed hundreds of missions in more than 20 countries. The footage collected by the drone fleet can complement CNN’s core news reports, the Great Big Story project dedicated to producing miniature documentaries and short films, and other projects by Turner and Time Warner.

Using drones to overcome problems such as safety, high cost and physical obstacles, the crew can collect rare shots.

CNN's senior director of national news technology and aerial imagery and reporting, Greg Gravin, explained that drones can allow the team to “capture works that you can’t get from a helicopter. The helicopter is noisier and more expensive.”

CNN is currently working on using the data collected by the fleet to create a digital model of the area that drones fly over. It also adds temperature detection cameras to some drones to locate people who use thermal imaging, and plans to use virtual reality cameras and on-site graphics overlays with drones.

34. Air travel

Airbus uses drones in routine aircraft inspections to capture aircraft data and images to help analyze the situation. But drones are also affecting other aspects of air travel.

Passengers traveling with drones must comply with the storage rules for sharp parts such as lithium-ion batteries and propellers. Travelers cannot simply put their drones in their suitcases to carry them, but need to transport them safely and legally.

UAVs have also created other safety issues. In late December 2018, London’s Gatwick Airport was closed for 36 hours due to the use of nearby drones.

British authorities stated that they believe that these drones deliberately interrupted flying traffic, which violated English law. Nevertheless, how to distinguish whether it is intentional is also a difficult problem in the use process.

35. Game

Drones now play a dual role in the game, game components and development tools. Drone n Base sells game packages that allow players to compete with drones and participate in high-tech battles through augmented reality.

In addition, since 2012, the Air Sports League has started the field of drone games. The company organizes drone combat and racing events, some of which provide major monetary prizes.

Video game production companies are also using drone technology to develop ultra-realistic maps and other parts for their games. UAVs provide the company with the opportunity to enter a large area of ​​terrain and outdoor elements, so as to obtain richer and more complete game visual effects.

36. Space exploration

NASA announced in May 2018 that a robotic helicopter will be used in the Mars 2020 mission to determine whether there has been life on Mars. This helicopter will act as a scout for the rover, collecting data on the planet's terrain and survey areas that the rover cannot reach.

This small device (weighing less than 4 pounds) is experimental. If it proves useful during the mission, it can open the door to other aerial devices for space exploration.

37. Education

Drones may soon appear in the classroom because they can teach various skills and supplement more traditional courses.

For example, math teachers may use drones to help students understand proportional relationships, while English teachers can use drone photography to stimulate children's language skills and practice writing.

The introduction of these devices can create a unique and tangible experience, allowing students to participate and obtain information in new ways.

38. Security

Security companies are using drones to provide more comprehensive monitoring systems for industrial, commercial and residential properties.

Nightingale Security's drones allow customers to build daily repetitive route models and monitor critical safety areas. After the alarm was triggered, the service


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