We’ve all heard of drones, they’re a household term now. No longer conjuring images of stealthy US attacks on foreign soil, drones have become somewhat of a play thing for electronics enthusiasts (move over Xbox.) While, unlike the smartphone, we don’t all have one of these sitting on the kitchen table yet—ready at a moment’s notice for emergency selfies and bird’s eye footage of our front porch—most of us have at least seen them in action. So, other than capturing Insta-worthy images of breaking waves and taking the occasional real estate brochure shot, what are drones being used for in 2017? Here, we take a look.
1. Surveying hazardous areas
From monitoring blast zones on mining sites to checking out offshore wind turbines, drones are really coming into their own in terms of risk-prevention. Many a situation that would previously have required a human presence is now tackled with a simple flick of the remote control. Drones are able to venture further, more quickly and without risk, than we can.
Pop Quiz: How long does it take a man to reach an offshore wind turbine and check it for possible faults?
Answer: Ages. That’s how long.
These little gadgets can make quick work of tedious tasks, and keep things safer for the mortals among us.
2. Delivering pizzas
Some of the major pizza franchises in Australia are already testing drones for delivery, and the results are promising. In a claimed world-first, Dominos New Zealand successfully executed their first drone delivery in November last year. As Business Insider put it (and don’t we wish we thought of this line…)
“One small step for mankind, one giant leap for pizza.”
If you’ve never watched a pizza be delivered by drone—it’s nothing short of magical. We’d be giving the bloke high fives, if he hadn’t ordered a cranberry chicken pizza. Weirdo.
Amazon have also started delivering small items via drone. Soon, we’ll be receiving all kinds of things in this fashion. Now, when they can bring us a butter chicken, a 6-pack of beer and a Cornetto, we’ll die happy.
3. Monitoring cattle
For farmers, keeping track of their cattle and addressing any health concerns is just about a full-time job in itself. Thanks to the advances in drone technology, farmers are able to download apps which work in collaboration with their drones to not only locate their animals (and detect any who have left the herd), but also monitor their temperatures to detect sickness or tell when a cow is in heat. Neat, huh?! Furthermore, this monitoring tech can be used to predict the best time to water or fertilise crops, helping farmers to take some of the guesswork out of their day-to-day operations.
4. Reanimating dead pets
What?!! Yes, you read that right. It started in 2012 when cat owner Bart Jansen lost his beloved ‘Orville’. Named after one of the Wright brothers, it was only fitting that Orville should find some way to take to the skies after his death.
Nope. Nope nope nope. That’s just not a sane thing to do…we can’t pretend it is.
Nevertheless, Dutchman Jansen decided to taxidermy his cat and turn him into the ‘Orvillecopter‘. Presumably to terrorise the local kindergarten, who knows? He and his partner have since created an ostrich drone and are working on a cow drone. Other than the fact that it might give passers-by a heart attack, we presume they’re being held up in their endeavours by weight issues. And possibly government regulations against scaring people do death.
5. The stuff of nightmares
If the flying cat/cow/ostrich wasn’t enough to scare the bejesus out of you, how about fighter pilots flying their very own armies of drones? Well, you’re probably fairly safe unless you’ve got a summer home in Aleppo, but it’s still a fairly hair-raising concept. The military are always the first to try and turn nifty new technology into weaponry, but in the case of drones, they really had the jump on the rest of us already. Drones have been used by the military, especially by the USA, for decades now. The latest incarnation could see fighter pilots controlling armies of the little things; deploying them for everything from surveillance missions to weapons delivery.
6. Saving lives
Imagine you’re miles from the nearest hospital and you’ve suffered a snake bite, or a heart attack (damn you, ostrich drone!) Your life depends on the speed with which medical assistance can arrive. Drones are being tested around the globe for their capacity to deliver aid to patients in both remote and built-up areas, where distance or even traffic congestion can play a part in the arrival of emergency services. From delivering antivenom, to carrying on-board defibrillators, the possibilities are seemingly endless. While they’re yet to make their way into most of our hospitals, before long this technology will be commonplace from your local pizza store to emergency departments all over the world.
Do you have an army of your own drones, or tinker around on the weekends? We’d love to hear how you’re using drones (and what dastardly deeds you get up to with them.)