life with drones

Day-to-Day Life with Drones

Tim Takeoff
07.03.2018
6 minutes

Our daily lives are dominated by a number of “modern” obstacles. Our world has been changed by the influence of new media, and we are seeking increasingly efficient solutions to our problems.

Not only is this both a blessing and a curse; it’s also a perfectly natural phenomenon. Every new idea was once implemented, tested, further developed and made socially acceptable. The human race must adapt to new ideas, and either accept them or ultimately reject them as worthless.

Any new development or technical innovation must, of course, prove itself to the sceptics, the visionaries, the authorities and the experts (and those who believe themselves to be experts), as well as to the “man in the street”. Nothing is set in stone and, if it is to endure in the long term, everything must prove its usefulness by running a protracted gauntlet of pros and cons.

“If you don’t move with the times, you’ll get left behind.” – Carl Josef »Necko« Neckermann.

Drones can save ressources and lifes

Manned flight has assisted us in every aspect of our lives for decades. But the danger to life and limb, as well as the minimum size requirements of aircraft designed to carry humans, makes it impossible to use manned aircraft in many situations, for a variety of reasons.

Why, for example, is it necessary to use extortionately expensive helicopters in daily traffic monitoring, merely to assess and broadcast the latest traffic jams? Police and rescue workers put themselves in grave danger when planning and implementing any number of operations, and we roll out the heavy artillery in order to secure our borders on all sides. Ultimately, all these things are paid for by the taxpayer.

Like most technological achievements, the solution was provided by the military, who decided years ago to tackle the problem. The resulting unmanned aircraft, better known to us all as “drones”, are slowly but surely pervading our everyday lives. Perhaps it’s time to open our minds to this topic and form at least a general opinion. After all, dispelling existing prejudices is never a bad thing.

Drohnen von DJI auf dem Vormarsch

The military’s civilian cousins – the authorities, police, border security forces and fire brigades – are already working with this type of aircraft. Drones are small, effective, and economical to operate. Fitted with task-specific sensor equipment, they can be deployed in all kinds of scenarios.

Fast and easy delivery with flying helpers

These devices are, however, not just useful for monitoring purposes. Used judiciously, this innovation can also benefit the general public in multiple ways. Drones could, for example, considerably reduce transport times in all supply chains. Even if safety requirements mean that goods are ultimately delivered to customers in the conventional manner, short-notice items may be flown from suppliers’ premises to retailers’ shelves or parcel sort centres. Several major providers, like Amazon, for example, have been running a wide variety of tests in this field for quite some time.

This technology can also be used to improve links between less accessible regions and trade networks. We’re not even talking about remote mountain huts; just average rural areas or places in developing countries where conventional ground transportation is associated with considerable difficulties. Filtering this type of ad-hoc delivery out of our congested cities would tremendously ease our traffic burden.

As well as transporting physical goods, drones can also be used to resolve other bottlenecks. Facebook, for example, plans to offer a proprietary wifi service in more remote areas. The concept involves keeping the networks running using self-sufficient, solar-powered drones, whose storage batteries can keep them airborne for up to five years. The scheme is intended to connect more than 5 billion people worldwide to the internet.

About day-to-day life with drones and multicopters

In Dubai, for example, a startup company has been granted permission to transport passengers using a driverless, multiply redundant vehicle known as a “multicopter”. It flies from A to B with no restrictions, and it does so autonomously, electrically, independently and fast. The foundations have been laid.

Such solutions could considerably optimise traffic, providing both environmental and economic benefits. Staff, emissions, time, (inter)dependencies and – last, but not least – the general burden of traffic on our roads, would all be considerably reduced.

Life with drones in the area of measurement technology

life with drones in industries

Aerial photograph by a drone

Drones are already being implemented in metrology, where they are, for example, being used to determine the best way to strip an open-cast mine, to calculate volumes and to predict melting glaciers. Planning, implementing and supervising the construction of a new building, right down to the smallest corners and most complicated angles, is no longer the stuff of science fiction!

There is still a lot to change

Private and industrial drone development can even be seamlessly integrated into our efforts to achieve electromobility. As with any other means of transport, this involves tackling obstacles on many levels. Implementing a workable, everyday solution not only involves getting the authorities fully on board, but also creating completely new traffic concepts and networks.

The thought of having your weekend barbeque on the neighbours’ patio interrupted by a swarm of electric flying objects cannot, naturally, be entirely ruled out. By the same token, most people would be less than thrilled to be informed of the current TV schedule by a flying billboard while they are doing the washing up, or to learn that the new smartphone they ordered has been intercepted by a “pirate drone”.

The dangers of the abuse of drones

One very recent example is the new drone ordinance drafted by the German Ministry of Transport. It categorises both private and commercially used drones into weight classes and application areas. Pilots of drones above a certain threshold must be certified, and flying them over other people’s property or outside specially designated zones requires the permission of the property owner. Piloting drones close to critical areas, such as airports, streets and railway lines, as well as cities, crowds of people, and many other hotspots, is already strictly regulated, and conflicts with existing air traffic must be avoided or controlled. Drone owners are required to place fireproof ID markings on their devices so that they can be traced immediately in cases of technical failure, while those wishing to use their drones for commercial purposes, even just for taking wedding photos, must apply for the appropriate permits.

The opportunities offered by drones seem endlessly varied, and crime can never be ruled out. Completely limiting flexibility, however, would naturally stifle a great deal of development. Finding a happy medium is presumably the best approach, and one which will give these state-of-the-art assistants a chance to improve our daily lives.

Which benefit can the use of drones bring for our future

Who knows? Perhaps we will find ourselves sitting in self-driving cars, completing a variety of errands without lifting a finger. Whether these tasks are carried out by land, air or even sea, will ultimately be of no concern to the consumer. Practicality, however, must always be a consideration.

In the end, it is up to us to decide whether to continue along our old, familiar pathways or to allow ourselves to be assisted in our daily duties by unmanned machines. Whether those machines are fully automated kitchen appliances or delivery drones from the nearest supermarket, time will certainly tell.

On WingMag we keep you posted about news concerning drones, new drone models and volocopters.

life with drones - aerial photopraph
day to day life with drones

Picures Unsplash – dose-media, Sorry imKirk, Mariusz Prusaczyk, Anthony Intraversato, João Rocha

by Tim Takeoff

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