The Use of Drones

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Updated: Nov 24, 2019
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Drones have been in development for over two decades. They were thought up in World War I when both the United States and France decided to create airplanes that could fly without pilots. The last few years have been the most successful in the production of the drone. Not only have they been used for the military but for filming and photographing, geographic mapping, enforcing public law, forecasting the weather, assessing crops, monitoring wildlife, and construction. Drones are becoming popular products.

The government has found many uses for drones. They are studied and tested to improve or design new drones. In the past couple of years, drones have been equipped with perfect flight stability and cameras of all types. “The use of drones has not been a secret within the military, even arming them with missiles to attack enemy soldiers and terrorists (Smith). The drones are used to target decoys. Once familiar with the aerial vehicles, the military will send them out on combat missions. Drones “will continue to be applied in various military operations due to their high convenience in reducing losses and enabling the execution of high profile and time-sensitive missions (Joshi). People are buying drones because they have proved to be useful.

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Drones have become popular in the filming industry. They are used “in order to capture aerial shots (“Drones and Their Impact in the Film Industry). Drones are a faster and better solution to riding in a helicopter or airplane to capture footage. They are lightweight and easy to use making it ideal for taking pictures and videos. Using drones for this purpose has reduced costs. Before drones were used for filming, multiple people were assigned to a variety of locations to film one scene for a movie. Costs went up because each camera man had to be paid. Videos and pictures can be taken from any height more efficiently and at a cheaper price.

Taking photos with drones has become extremely useful. People used to rely on their surroundings to create an accurate map. Once equipped with sensors and cameras, drones are sent out to collect data. “It soon became obvious that drones could optimize workflows, improve safety, project results, and realize considerable cost savings (“How Drones Can Optimize Surveying and Mapping Products | Droneblog). They make surveying projects easier in dangerous areas where earthquakes and other natural disasters are fairly common. Drones help keep people out of harm’s way.

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to drones to help in their line of work. Drones have received the most public attention since police have started using them. “It took about two years for the idea to become a reality, but the drones since have proven their worth (“Taking to the Air: Drones and Law Enforcement). They have been used to provide aerial photography of crash sites and crime scenes as well as monitor crowds. “”The objective is not to be noticed” Hermance said. “But it gives us an idea of what’s going on, on a large scale (“Taking to the Air: Drones and Law Enforcement). Drones have also been used to monitor correction facilities and track prison escapees.

Another use for unmanned aerial vehicles is weather forecasting. Kites and balloons were used to make predictions of the weather “but the August Global Hawk mission was the first time a drone helped make a national hurricane prediction (“Need to Know: Weather Drones). Weather predictions and warnings have improved since the use of drones but “agencies such as NASA and NOAA are investigating in a range of initiatives to gather better forecasting data and contribute new knowledge to pressing climate questions (“Need to Know: Weather Drones). Smaller drones can operate in the lowest boundary layer in the troposphere. The lower level of the troposphere is the first several hundred feet above the ground. Because it is too low to the ground, it cannot be studied accurately or safely by an aircraft flown by man. Larger drones can operate for long periods of time especially since they do not have onboard human crews. Drones are also inexpensive compared to boats, airplanes, and satellites.

Drones have different uses in the agriculture industry. They can be used for soil and field analysis, planting, crop spraying, crop monitoring, irrigation, and health assessment. Drones are important at the start of the crop cycle. “They produce precise 3-D maps for soil analysis, useful in planning seed planting patterns (Michal Mazur, PwC). The drone-planting systems have an uptake rate of 75 percent and decrease costs by 85 percent. “These systems shoot pods with seeds and plant nutrients into the soil, providing the plant all the nutrients necessary to sustain life (Michal Mazur, PwC). Drones have the technology to care for crops by “scanning the ground and spray the correct amount of liquid, modulating distance from the ground and spraying in real time for even coverage (Michal Mazur, PwC). Aerial spraying has increased efficiency in the reduced amount of chemicals being deposited in the groundwater. Spraying crops with drones can be much faster than with regular machines.

Farmers have a hard time monitoring their crops. The fields are too big and this creates an obstacle, especially with the unpredictable weather patterns. Weather can damage crop fields and increases maintenance costs. Satellite images offered the best view of the crops and was the best way to monitor. Farmers had to order the images in advance but the quality of the picture made it hard for farmers to look at. Drones can “show the precise development of a crop and reveal production inefficiencies, enabling better crop management (Michal Mazur, PwC). Drones that have certain sensors show farmers where their crops need improvements. When crops start growing, “drones allow the calculation of the vegetation index, which describes the relative density and health of the crop, and show the heat signature, the amount of energy or heat the crop emits (Michal Mazur, PwC). It is important to be able to assess crops to see if they are healthy. Drones are equipped with different lights, a visible light and near-infrared light. Devices use the reflection of the light on the plants to determine the health of the plant and record any changes that may occur. If a drone discovers a sickness, farmers are notified, so they can apply remedies. “These possibilities increase a plant’s ability to overcome disease (Michal Mazur, PwC). Even though farmers could use machines to get the job done, drones have proven to be faster and more accurate because of their newer technology.

Studying animals in the wild can be dangerous. “Between 1937 and 2000, 91 biologists and other scientists died in the field (“Drones Take Off As Wildlife Conservation Tool). The leading cause of death is not because of animals but plane and helicopter crashes. Drones offer a safer way for scientists to study their subjects. Scientists are interested in studying the animals in their natural state and how their behavior changes. The animals may not appreciate scientists sneaking up on them or using a huge aerial vehicle to fly over them. Because drones carry cameras, scientists can catch things they might, otherwise, miss if they were to climb or fly themselves. “Drones can be less disruptive than approaching animals on foot (“Drones Are Setting Their Sights on Wildlife). The data that they gather can be run through certain programs to improve the accuracy of population counts. Scientists are looking into using drones to monitor how diseases spread and fire tranquilizers at the animals that researchers want to tag or collect samples from. This reduces the risk while on the job.

Construction has become a primary user of the drone. They survey the land and allow someone the general knowledge of the landscape and surrounding areas. To market and promote the business, drones film the area before construction begins. This allows companies to show three-dimensional models to help potential clients visualize the transformation of the land. Safety is important in construction. Drones can find out if things are done properly and can remedy any issues before it becomes a liability. They can also film the progress regularly, so the clients who can’t visit the site get updated and other clients don’t have to interfere with their work schedules. Contractors with a lot of business rarely stay on-site throughout the period of construction. They have to rely on inspectors and co-workers for updates. Drones allow contractors “to monitor multiple job sites without having to travel excessively (Lawson). They can film their inspection of the entire site so commercial building inspectors can deem the building as qualified. Drones can patrol the site to monitor the crew and be sure everyone is safe and productive. “Today camera-equipped drones can be one of the strongest allies (Lawson).

Jobs have been made easier since the invention of the drone. They record data accurately, are time efficient, and reduce risk in the workplace. Many businesses have had costs decrease because drones can do many things in a certain amount of time whereas it takes people longer to get things done.

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The Use of Drones. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from