A Look at the Future of Drone Technology

Written by Jonathan —  February 12, 2015

the dawn of drones

Radio controlled vehicles have been around us for many years, but as the technology become more accessible, it goes mainstream.

This is the case of the drone technology, that is filling our news feed with new models and applications. In the following decade, they may boost a substantial change in our lives, from transportation to warfare.

drone vr

With drone sales estimated in billions of dollars over the next decade, tech giants and investors like Amazon or Google Ventures are pouring tons of money in the ecosystem, betting that current implementations are only the beginning of a new era.

investing volume drones

Tomorrow’s Transport

Drone skyways, ships sailing the oceans without crews, automated cars — driverless transport is no longer just sci-fi.

‘PrimeAir’ delivery system by Amazon was one of the first announced. The idea of an army of bots delivering goods from the logistics center directly to your door seems promising, but there are still load’s of possible issues that in the road, such as the government regulations. But according to Jeff Bezos –CEO of Amazon–, the message was simple and clear: “Get ready. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

amazon prime air

Other companies like Service Drone are already working with models to cargo small loads.

See this example of workers lifting high voltage cables by using drones.

“At the latest in the first half of the next decade driverless cars will become a reality under business-as-usual-conditions and after clarification of legal issues.”

Stephan Rammler,
Director of Braunschweig’s Institute of Transportation Design

Construction Work

Japanese construction company Komatsu has started to let drones and automated bulldozers do part of the work.

Akinori Onodera, manager of Komatsu, said that the use of drones will boost productivity and mitigate the fact that Japan’s aging workforce is leading to a shortage of qualified workers.

In the other hand, Minibuilders is producing drones that work in conjunction with a 3D printer. Will it become the way to build our homes in the nearly future?

Minibots work the same way as their crane-sized counterparts, but they use 3D printing techniques to deposit the build material layer by layer.

Mapping & Data Capturing

Companies like Skycatch are developing drone solutions to analize surfaces from the heights. This could be a replacement to costly airplanes or other equipment to inspect surfaces, make calculations or even detect fires in forests by equipping a heat camera.

Drone Mapping

“Skycatch is pushing the boundaries of realtime mapping with their automated and autonomous UAV solution. We have never seen anything this scalable, and are excited to have them integrated into the ArcGIS suite.”

drone

An Unmanned Army

To the military, drones are called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems).

UAVs are used in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult. They can provide troops with a 24/7 “eye in the sky”. Each device can patrol for up to 24 hours, sending back a real-time streaming video of the situation on the ground.

uav-military

The military has been blowing drones out of the sky since the Second World War for testing purposes. It’s a convenient way to try new weapons against moving targets. Now its former passive role has become more than active: it’s an essential part of the war machinery.

An eye in the sky

Expect reduced privacy. Aerial monitoring makes it easy to capture images of everything, follow celebrities anywhere, and enter in your courtyard to spy your intimacies.

They’ve been up close with Selena Gomez or Miley Cyrus, invading her back garden who tweeted about it.

Baywatch 2.0

Developed by RTS Labs in Iran, PARS is an autonomous eight-rotor drone designed to quickly deliver flotation devices to people struggling to keep themselves above water.

drone beach

In recent head-to-head tests conducted in the Caspian Sea against a human lifeguard, PARS was able to deploy floatation rings to a dummy drowner 250 meters from shore in just 22 seconds — 50 seconds faster than the human swimmer. Definitely, drones like this could be the best way to keep swimmers safe.

Super Fast Ambulance

This Ambulance drone designed by a TU Delft Student is able to bring a defibrillator to a patient within a 12 square kilometre area within a minute, raising the chance of survival from 8 to 80 percent.

A solution for fast-response medical actions like the ambulance drone could drop immensely the fatalities.

The drone tracks emergency mobile calls and uses the GPS to navigate.

You, Drone

The team at Intuitive Aerial has built an application to control a quadcopter using the VR Glasses such as ‘Oculus Rift’. The possibilities are infinite. Imagine experiencing a drone’s-eye-view around your favorite spots in your town.

The pilot controls the drone with a gamepad and receives real-time images via the built-in camera.

Images: Andrew Turner, Bit Boy.

Jonathan

Jonathan

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Building Megafounder and Backercamp in Barcelona. Engineering, ancient history and sushi lover.