From virtual reality headsets to potentially self-driving cars, technology has produced some crazy cool innovations in recent years. And it’s not stopping anytime soon! You could probably find a new article everyday about a technological advancement. One neat gadget that has increasingly been gaining attention are wireless drones.
What are wireless drones?
As the Internet of Things defines, a drone, formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASes), is basically an unmanned aircraft. You could also call it a flying robot. Both work. Check out the picture for this blog – that’s a drone.
These drones don’t just fly on their own though. They can fly one of two ways. One way is autonomously through software-controlled flight plans. These are programmed into their system and use onboard sensors and GPS. Another way they fly through remote control. Remember that toy plane you had as a kid that you controlled with a remote control? It’s just like that, except these drones are the adult version.
What are they made of?
Since drones are aerial devices, they’ve got to be light. They consist of light composite materials which reduce their weight and make it easier to maneuver. They’re also pretty high-tech, containing high-tech infra-red cameras, GPS, and lasers. Where are all of these located on that compact design? In the nose! That’s where all the sensors and navigational systems are. If you’d like to learn more about the technical aspects of a wireless drone, click here.
What are they used for?
Originally, drones were used in the military for target practice and as weapon platforms. Now however, drones have become increasingly popular and accessible with civilians. What do they use them for? Well, for fun of course! And also commercially, which is a growing field.
In the recent years, wireless drones have gained quite a lot of commercial attention. Mainly, in photography. With a drone’s ability to fly and maneuver around, you can capture all kinds of images and videos from breathtaking heights and angles. For example, think of a wedding, or a cruise, or hiking up a mountain. There’s only so much you can take with a selfie stick. A drone will let you see the world in new, fascinating ways.
In addition to photography, The Mercury News lists the following ways Southern Californians have been using drones:
- Examining the health of crops
- Surveying electric wires, pipelines, railroad tracks, dams, and canals for damage
- Monitoring the progress of construction projects
- Making maps and movies
- Recording events
- Exploration into hard-to-reach areas
Amazon is also considering using drones to deliver its packages. Google and the Chipotle Mexican restaurant have actually begun using drones this fall by delivering burritos to students at Virginia Tech. Imagine how delivery services will change if this turns out to be successful.
Of course, rarely has a new invention gone smoothly right off the bat. There are always difficulties. For example, there have been numerous instances where drones have interfered with helicopters or planes. This can be very dangerous for a helicopter fighting off a forest fire, or a plane trying to navigate. Because of this, on August 29, 2016, the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) began issuing drone-pilot licenses to commercial operators. This is separate from those that just own drones as a hobby. The FAA also laid out certain rules for those that own drones. For example, the drone must remain within the visual line-of-sight of the one controlling it, you can’t fly the drone under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle, you can only fly it in the daylight and twilight times, and it has to yield the right of way to other aircrafts.
Potential for the future
Even with these complications, wireless drones are only getting better and improving day by day. Their potential for commercial is very promising. As with all technology, there will undoubtedly be a few bumps in the road, but if you can overcome them, it’s smooth sailing from there!