Seems like a week doesn’t go by without the word showing up in the news channels. The tech, previously associated with only military operations, has become one of the buzzwords of the 21st century. This is because of the increasing number of uses civilians are finding for it.

Here’s a look at the real world uses of drone technology, as well as what the future may hold:

1. Warfare

Drone technology started in the military, and they still have the most cutting edge features till date. The military uses them in war situations for surveillance, to gather intel covertly, and for airstrikes.

2. Policing

Believe it or not, you may soon be getting tasered from above. In a classic case of the powers that be striking you with lightning, police drones in North Dakota can now use tasers on culprits as well as deploy tear gas, in the state’s efforts to crack down on crime.

3. Firefighting

If you were thinking, the drone drops loads of water onto bushfires, you’re a bit off. Drones are being used to drop fire onto bushfires (no, that’s not a typo). It’s called controlled burning and it prevents wildfires from spreading any further by burning off any bushes they could feed on as fuels. It is also used to maintain biodiversity.

In 2007, drones were used to in a coordinated effort to fight the South California wildfires. The drones were able to use sensor technology to penetrate through smoke and detect the actual size of the blaze.

4. News gathering machine

News agencies have bought into the promise of the “eye in the sky” reporter as drone technology is being grafted into the newsroom cycle.

5. Oil exploration

A lot of big names in the oil and gas industry have already voiced their support for the use of drone technology in the search for new oil deposits. At the moment, the only places these kinds of aircraft are currently cleared to operate commercially — the most remote places in the U.S.

6. Selfie Bot

Trust the millennials on this one. I don’t think there’s any technological trend they can’t adopt in their selfie obsession. Basically, you strap a mini camera on a drone and let it loose in parties, press conferences etc. They seem to hit it off at the New York Fashion Week this year. If Nokia can have a 41MP camera on a sub 5-inch screen phone, then better believe this is going to be a popular thing very soon. Also expect the design to become more sleek, minimalistic and streamlined (what is jokingly referred to as the Apple effect).

Other uses

A while ago, Amazon found its way into the news headline again as it announced its plans to make deliveries using drone technology. It was only a matter of time before someone extended that proposal to the snail mail delivery system.

In the future, we can look forward to drones playing a larger role in air refueling processes, remote tour guides and rescue missions (especially after natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and avalanches).

Photo Credit: Cargo Cult via Compfight cc

Ibukun Taiwo Author

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