Drones are making many things easier for humans and organisations globally. These advanced machines are involved with multiple operations in various domains. From exploration to deliveries, drones are capable of it all. Drones can be controlled remotely by humans or they can also be automated with the help of Artificial Intelligence. This provides an ample amount of flexibility for organisations planning to incorporate drones into their operations. Also, with the ability to carry weight and do more advanced tasks, these machines are being used for many new strategies. Drones have capabilities that can enable these machines to do things that humans cannot directly do. For example, drones can fly or they can stay submerged underwater without oxygen support(ROVs). Similarly, they can also function in space with only minimal protection from occurrences such as solar flares.
Drones are incapable of making rudimentary mistakes and do not take days off like humans are known to do. These machines only need maintenance and occasional upgrades or repairs. Drones also are not affected by emotions or biases and do not require incentives or motivation. Human lives are also put at less risk when drones take care of dangerous tasks by enabling humans to carry out specific unsafe operations (or tasks that are hard or uncomfortable) by not being on-site. The benefits of using drones for day-to-day operations has been especially noticeable during the pandemic, during which the use of unmanned systems have proven to be safer and more sanitary. According to the World Economic Forum, many companies have already started adopting unmanned machines for deliveries and pickups.
Drones are being used by giants such as Boeing, Airbus and other companies to test out how aerodynamic newer designs are and how fuel-efficient they will be with payloads. Also, drones help scope out air traffic as well as flight paths. These unmanned machines have a huge number of uses in aeronautics research and especially in unmanned flights where simulations just are not enough to understand how aircraft will operate when being affected by random variables such as thunderstorms, magnetic fields, air pressure and wind velocity.
Drones will have a huge part to play in future space exploration projects and transportation or delivery operations in outer space. These unmanned machines have come a long way, now capable of moving around in space with thrusters and even conducting recon on the surface of planets such as Mars. UAV or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are capable of carrying payloads (For example, Ingenuity, the robotic Mars Helicopter) that humans are not capable of and in environments where it is too dangerous (solar radiation, temperatures, pressure) for human beings to exist, even with protective suits.
Drones have been used to explore environments even on Earth that humans cannot access easily. For example, active volcanoes or jungles with poisonous snakes. Submersible ROVs or submersible remote vehicles are underwater drones that allow us to dive into the depths and explore under the seas or oceans. Drones make it easy to fly over areas that have difficult terrain or unsafe roads such as mountain tops and avalanche-afflicted areas as well.
Media and Entertainment
UAVs have been used in the entertainment industry for quite some time now, with many action sequences being filmed by drones. For example, high-speed car chases would require the assistance of helicopters to film, however, with drones, directors can now simply chase the action with capable drones.
Hotels in Silicon Valley have already started adopting robots for serving their guests and delivering necessities such as towels or brushes. It is only a matter of time before hotels and offices start adopting drones for this purpose, especially for scaling high rises faster or for inter-city operations.
E-Commerce and Deliveries
Drone deliveries are already live and accessible to customers who need fast and autonomous deliveries. As a matter of fact, Amazon itself has invested a lot of capital for Amazon Air, a project that will focus on drone-based deliveries. Companies have already started adopting autonomous vehicles for e-commerce or for sending groceries to consumers, so drones are one of the more effective unmanned or autonomous options that are available for companies. Especially with the ability to fly, UAVs are probably the most effective at deliveries. Drones can also deliver payloads vertically and scale heights that most delivery services cannot handle, thus, being highly efficient. Drones can even deliver payloads such as pesticides and insecticides in agricultural land after identifying infected areas with the help of AI.
Sorting and Cleaning
Drones can carry payloads and can help clean roads and environments from a very effective height. During the pandemic, drones have also been used for sanitisation operations as well. Not just that, drones can be used with the help of AI for organising items or for ‘sorting’ activities as well. According to a report by CNBC, Walmart has already been using robots for cleaning activities and for even identifying empty or unorganised shelves. Drones can be trained to identify unorganised environments or locations that need cleaning and then conduct cleaning operations. Various government buildings have also incorporated unmanned cleaning machines and robots thus, drones will soon be noticed in this sector as well.
Defence and Security
Drones have been used for Defence and military purposes for years now, especially with the ability to remotely destroy targets or monitor suspicious activities. Drones have also been used for delivering payloads and weapons. Advanced UAVs can follow enemy vehicles and launch missiles to obliterate them. Drones have also been used for refuelling military aircraft. Similarly, in the sector of public security or private security, drones can be used for surveillance and for monitoring suspicious activities. These machines can be trained to identify targets and then chase after them (tracking systems) while alerting the authorities.
Surveying and Weather Reporting
Drones can be used for urban landscape analytics and for surveying. Even though one needs humans to conduct analytics and gain cognitive results from the data, drones can help fetch valuable data from aerial perspectives. This data can be used for city planning, traffic updates and even spatial analytics. Or, these UAVs can help in analysing how concentrated areas are with people or vehicles. The same can be applied for vegetation, terrain and other land-based data. Drones can even help in volumetric analytics of land or even water bodies with the help of additional sensors such as LiDAR sensors and laser systems. Drones can even assist in weather reporting with the help of various sensors and by being present in various locations and even altitudes.
Drones, robots and other machines powered by Artificial Intelligence are faster and more efficient, thus offering better solutions for various kinds of operations. Also with eVTOL(electric Vertical Take-off and Landing) aircrafts gaining mainstream attention, it will not be long before drones get used as unmanned transportation systems and for space exploration.