Drones have been primarily used for leisure, hobbies, or even for capturing bird’s eye view of sceneries or extremely wide angle shots by people who work creatively such as for video editing.
In early 2018, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) announced that drones had topped over 1 million for the first time. As of then, most of the drones were owned by hobbyists. However, with the idea of commercial drones in development, the agency expects that this number would quadruple by 2022. The future holds a sky full of drones by the hundreds, or even thousands flying in the air, at the same time, to perform duties from different companies and individuals.
Companies like DHL, Alphabet, and Amazon have recently tested their innovative rendition to the drone to meet people’s needs — for drones to function in highly commercialized markets such as food and other goods deliveries.
Notably, Amazon — the world’s largest goods provider and carrier — has been developing the idea of a high-speed delivery system since 2013. The Business Insider reports that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will be looking to support companies in developing aviation innovations known as an “Innovation Sandbox,” where a group of companies would have the chance to “discuss, explore, trial and test emerging concepts.”
According to the report, Amazon would be able to develop their drone carriers, which they claim that would be able to bring packages to customers in as little as 30 minutes. Moreover, they plan to include drone features that can scan houses through AI technology.
On other news, drones are also seen to assist in the medical and emergency response industry.
Paladin Drones is developing their high-speed emergency response assistance drone that would lessen the gap between a 911 call and response. They aim to provide information to responders by flying ahead to scope the location.
Generally, rescuers rely on 911 calls for any information regarding the response-needing situation. However, information that rescuers receive is often limited and unreliable — making response and rescue take additional time. Moreover, people making 911 calls are usually in a state of panic that only further delays.
With drones, such as from Paladin, equipping rescuers with fast and reliable information on-site; time for response and rescue can dramatically lessen.
Meanwhile, a drone was used to successfully transport a kidney to a Maryland patient needing the transplant.
The New York Times reported that a team from the University of Maryland School of Medicine pursued the idea of drones transporting organs due to the implications of long-transport times that causes organs to potentially fail once transplanted to a patient.
Moreover, the drone used in the historic first test had “backup propellers and motors, dual batteries, and a parachute recovery system — to guard against catastrophe if one component encountered a problem 400 feet in the air. Two pilots on the ground monitored it using a wireless network and were prepared to override the automated flight plan in case of an emergency. The drone also had built-in devices to measure temperature, barometric pressure, and vibrations, among other indicators.”
The team’s leader, Dr. Joseph R. Scalea, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine called the flight “proof of concept that this broken system can be innovated.”
However, it is also important to note that drones won’t only be able to bring forward a positive impact on society. On August 8th last year, Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro was a target of an alleged assassination attempt during his address to the Bolivarian National Guard at Caracas.
During his speech, which was televised on national television, explosions can be heard that speculatively came from drones exploding. Times report in the video above that the very same drones were caught in civilian footage moments before it exploded.
Moving forward with the future where drones are slowly becoming an everyday part of life, governments are now tasked of better enforcing and policing laws in the sky that would monitor drone movement.
However, with how the current legislation is still struggling to keep up with innovation such as social media, it is unclear how drones would be policed especially when they are pegged to be in the millions 2 years from now.