There’s no question about it: there is a lot of stigma surrounding drone technology. It’s not difficult to understand why. Until recently, they’ve been used primarily for military purposes. However, more and more businesses are demonstrating that drones have humanitarian applications also. As the technology becomes more readily available, and significantly more affordable, both commercial and not-for-profit organizations are quickly adopting drones to work in their respective fields. Here’s a look at some of the most impressive non-military applications of drone technology.
Drones can be used to respond to localized emergencies. The German company Height-Tech has been working with medical supply company Schiller to develop drones that can deliver defibrillators. Their system uses a smartphone app, which can be used to signal to a drone in the event that someone nearby has suffered a heart-attack. Using GPS technology, a drone is then deployed to the location carrying a defibrillator, which can be used to treat the patient while they wait for emergency medical services to arrive. It’s an idea that could potentially save thousands of lives.
Lian Pin Koh: A drone’s-eye view of conservation
The conservation and preservation of wildlife habitats, forest, and other areas of land untouched by man is something that is becoming increasingly important to environmentalists and regular folk alike. In an effort to protect these areas without having to physically disturb them, a company called Conservation Drones has developed drones for the shockingly affordable price of $2,000 that can be used to survey and collect data from various locales all around the world. The company attracted the attracted the attention of Mongabay, a non-profit tropical forest conservation news service, whose funding helped Conservation Drones establish themselves as a non-profit organization.
Introducing Project Wing from Google[x]
Amazon made headlines when they first announced they were testing their Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery service. Many assumed it was a joke or marketing ploy, but the concept proof to be viable as internet shopping continues its rapidly growing numbers. Hot on the heels of Amazon is the world’s largest parcel service, UPS, who has stated they too are researching the use of drones for package delivery. For both companies this system could completely transform their business structure and dramatically reduce transportation expenses. Of course, there is a lot of logistical issues that will have to be resolved before regular drone delivery becomes a reality, but it’s an exciting idea nonetheless.
Also joining the drone delivery world is pizza chain Domino’s, who last year shared a comical video of their DomiCopter drone, which they propose is a viable way to deliver pizza. While it’s not clear if the video is a joke, or something they’re actually looking into, it’s a surreal look into our possible future. I’ve heard of people ordering pizza with wings before, but this is absurd.
While many people take the infrastructure of their country for granted, there are millions of people who don’t have the basic groundwork in place to be able to connect online with the rest of the world. For many rural residents and those living in remote areas, connecting to the internet is something they, traditionally, have only been able to do with satellite services provided by companies like HughesNet Internet, or they simply haven’t been able to connect. That’s where Matternet comes in. They are a company that is proposing a “physical internet” using drones. In addition to this, the company has also used their drones to deliver medical supplies and other essential items to people living in remote third world countries. Their new brand of philanthropy and medical aid is easily one of the most exciting prospects of commercial drone use out there.
As you can see, the idea of drones being only used for military purposes is quickly becoming a dated one. With more and more research and testing happening every day, the skies could soon be filled with hundreds of drones doing everything from delivering life saving medicine to fulfilling your secret junk food addiction. It’s an exciting idea that we might possibly see happen within our lifetime.