Drone technology has certainly revolutionized the way military intelligence and modern combat is performed. A drone is an aircraft which doesn’t have an onboard pilot. It can be operated through remote control or perhaps an onboard computer which can be pre-programmed. Some of them may look like toys, but these are real aircraft packed with numerous capabilities including the launching of missiles and other weapons.
These unmanned aerial vehicles are originally used in the military. In fact, the term “drone” itself will already suggest military intelligence or spying. But did you know that drones are now used for civilian and commercial purposes? Some examples include the following:
-For law enforcement. This purpose is somewhat related to a drone’s military/intelligence use but it can benefit civilians in many ways. Police have been using drones to conduct surveillance of drug traffickers, gangs, criminal rings, hostage situations, and when serving arrests warrants to armed and dangerous individuals*.
-Search, relief, and rescue. In case of accidents, especially in areas where access is limited either by geographic location or the situation itself, drone technology can aid in search and rescue. An example would be the search for missing individuals in cases of sea accidents, wild fires, flooding, etc**.
-Aerial photography and video shooting. Drones are very popular in the film and TV industry, especially commercials, since a single drone can replace multiple cameras, the need for helicopters, and equipment just to take a photo or video in a birds-eye-view perspective. Drone technology is a cheaper alternative which can be used in live concerts, movie-making, commercial shoots, leisure/professional photography, etc***.
-For agriculture. Drones are very useful in agriculture. In Japan, UAV helicopters** have existed for about 2 decades and are used for watering, spraying, and surveying fields. They are needed in large acres/hectares of fields especially in steep terrains where conventional farming equipment can’t be used with the same ease.
-Weather monitoring. In developed countries like the U.S., there’s a dangerous job for meteorologists called storm chasing. They ride in specially-designed aircraft and travel close to or even in the eye of a developing storm or hurricane. Drone technology can help change this and make weather monitoring much safer.
-Wildlife protection**. When protecting wildlife areas, minimal human interference is a must. Drones can let environmental advocates or agencies monitor huge remote forests or oceans more cheaply, and with better results. This technology can also limit wildlife disturbance since drones are smaller and quieter than manned surveillance craft.
-Surveying and exploration. These remote aircraft are also excellent substitute when surveying or mapping huge land or water areas. Mineral and oil companies have also started using drones in their search for new mineral and oil deposits.
-For goods or medical delivery*. The potential of drone technology in the provision of faster and more efficient goods and medicine delivery is also on its research/study stage now. In fact, a popular pizza company has already entertained the idea and used such possibility in a video commercial.
Aside from the uses listed above, drones will continue to add a long list of civilian or commercial functions. The limit is usually dependent on the user’s creativity and imagination.
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