The changes may be more realistic than science fiction, but they’re still effective.
When Amazon announced plans last year to launch delivery drones within just five years, everyone rightly scoffed.
When Google revealed similar plans with Project Wing, people saw the firm was working on a more realistic basis, admitting the dream was a long while away from reality, but still, we did scoff a bit.
However, while legislation governing how high drones can fly, and technology dictating how they avoid objects, remain major challenges, few would quibble that drones will sooner or later play a part in our daily lives.
Here’s five ways they will affect us.
Providing internet access
Google is already pioneering in this space with its acquisition in April of Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered aerial vehicle manufacturer.
The company it bought is busy building satellites that could rise up to 65,000ft and remain in flight for five years, supplying remote locations with internet access.
Facebook is also working in this space, and the cost of providing internet access via drones is much cheaper than via space satellites.
Drones are already guiding new students around at MIT, thanks to one of the university’s research groups, Senseable City Lab.
Users hit the ‘call’ button in a dedicated app to get the drone’s attention, and over it flies to shepherd them to a pre-determined destination or one of their own choosing in the infamous labyrinth that is the MIT campus.
Imagine this technology one day taking tourists around the Tower of London or braving the mean streets of Covent Garden. God help us all.
Yeah, ok, we used the word ‘scoffed’. Twice. But Amazon and Google aren’t investing big bucks into drones for no reason: one day they may well be able to carry out last-mile deliveries to our homes.
In fact, Amazon plans to start trialling drone deliveries for products purchased on its website in India this year.
The trial is set to start this October in two cities – Mumbai and Bangalore – according to the Economic Times.
Hey, what if we started getting our Indian takeaways from a drone? Well, you wouldn’t have to tip…
Forget Internet of Things (IoT) traffic lights, drones could be a more responsive way to reduce road congestion. Flying overhead, drones could relay images and videos of congestion points back to traffic controllers, who could use the information to better regulate traffic flow.
This could also help co-ordinate emergency response units as they respond to traffic accidents.
Okay, maybe not everyday life for most of us, but drones might well free up farmers to do more on their land. A dozen drones could take over dull but time-consuming tasks like spraying crops with pesticide, and checking on flocks of sheep.
Perhaps they could even help herd the sheep, while experts reckon they could scan crops to tell farmers exactly how much water and pesticide they need, making use of such resources more efficient.