How drones are set to become a regular sight across our day

Guest post by Dr. Shaun Passley, Founder of Zenadrone

As drone usage and adoption across sectors continues to increase, the sky is the limit, provided public trust and safety issues can be adhered to. Generally, the public are still hesitant on drone use because of its perceived privacy breach and surveillance issues. However, some sectors of society are gradually adapting to its benefits and uses. Commercial companies, farmlands, institutions already use drones to assist them in their daily operations, and as the technology continues to improve, so too will these industrial drones’ capabilities.

Recently, we know many online businesses use drones to deliver parcels in nearby locations. Farmers have used drones to analyse crop health, to increase harvest yield. The film industry heavily uses drones to capture scenic images. Police and military perform covert missions to acquire information on crimes and criminals. While all of these applications certainly still have a certain amount of novelty to them, there’s no question that the technology is here to stay. To put it another way, I believe that before long, it will be out of the ordinary for drones NOT to be in use for most industries, one way or another.

What further potential exists in drones’ capabilities?

Innovation within specific industries as well as in how drones are designed and built is what drives the evolution in drone capability. Precision manoeuvrability and intelligence is enhanced through sophisticated software that is constantly being adapted and built on. Naturally, drone delivery is an area where there is most competition at the movement; this will inevitably lead to autonomous flight planning, innovative new robotic arm attachments for repair and maintenance, and robust hardware to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

For me, however, the most exciting innovations are taking place in drones for heavier industry and enterprise. Where commercial delivery is mostly focused on speed over lift capability, larger, heavier drones are being developed with sheer strength in mind. These will be at home on building sites, power plants and other industrial zones, and will be invaluable in areas like site safety, mapping, and more.

Legislation

As with any vehicle, there is legislation – existing and incoming – that will govern the use of all types of drones. They may be unmanned but for me that’s even more reason to legislate now, while we are still in the early stages. The new FAA regulation mandates drone users and owners to incorporate in the drone internet-of-things capabilities. This will allow the government agencies or third parties to recognise drone ID and their flight path for greater accountability and increase safety in drone use.

Also, another regulation is mandatory drone registration for drones over 100 grams weight. Again, I believe that the larger industrial drones will eventually have the strength and capability to replace helicopters for a lot of tasks, so naturally anything that should and will be tightly monitored and licenced.

It seems much of the suspicion and resistance to drone use from the public centres around privacy and surveillance issues. Nobody wants to feel like they live in a world where floating CCTV drones are found hovering over every street corner. With effective lobbying from drone manufacturers, operators, owners and pilots, as well as the public and interested politicians, these challenges can be overcome, paving the way for a great leap forward in UAV applications across the entire landscape. But first, public doubt must continue to be

The fear and resistance of the public regarding drone use centres around privacy and surveillance issues. If drone manufacturers, operators, owners, and pilots sort out these issues, public information regarding UAV use will be easier to disseminate. Promotion of drone use must centre on eliminating public doubt and concerns and sustainability of drone use.

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