This article is available also in spanish here

Eight innovative ways in which drones are already being used

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Author | M. Martínez Euklidiadas

The use of drones goes beyond taking spectacular photographs or using them for commercial purposes. These unmanned aerial vehicles are being used to search for taxes, deliver medical material or for research. New innovative ways in which drones are already being used.

Sending objects by drone

The energy cost of sending objects by air (including by plane) is such that, at the moment the delivery of objects by drone focuses on sending critical material to very specific areas. For example, the delivery of urgent medical equipment by drones is being tested in Israel; and drones have been used for quite a while now to deliver vaccines and even to measure heart and respiratory rates.

UAVs to improve scientific research

Drone technology has been used for some time in a whole host of scientific fields, notably reducing the price of some lines of research. It is used in areas including water sampling for analysis, drones with thermal imaging cameras to measure retreating glaciers or to monitor biodiversity. There are even specific guides on this subject.

Window cleaning with drones

A small army of drones is capable of cleaning the entire facade of buildings, including the windows. The main advantage is that it eliminates the need for scaffolding managed by operators on the ground, and the risks this entails. Regulating these vehicles is undoubtedly complicated.

Drones in search of taxes

As part of its initiative to combat tax fraud, in 2016 the Government of Spain deployed a fleet of drones with the aim of identifying discrepancies between the actual floor area of properties and the declared area. Villas and terraces had been extended and swimming pools had even been built, thinking that nobody would notice. They identified 1.69 million infringements, and netted an extra 1.25 billion euros.

One cow, two cows, three cows: counting livestock

They fly, they have a camera and there are programs designed to count objects. Drones are perfect for monitoring livestock and acting as herdsmen in areas with difficult access.

Drones for bird hazard control in airports

Drones are being used to prevent flocks of birds congregating aroun airport runways where, apart from putting themselves in danger, they could damage the aircrafts and even endanger the lives of passengers. Years ago, in Southampton, United Kingdom, they starte using falcon-like drones. Recently an algorithm has been designed to optimize these flights.

Drones to rescue people

Given their rapid takeoff and versatility by incorporating a whole series of sensors, drones are rapid response elements in the event of natural disasters such as flooding. These machines can be managed remotely or be programmed in survivor search and rescue missions, damage assessment, the identification of hazardous materials, etc.

Crop pollination

There are drones that are helping to pollinate flowers. Their artificial intelligence and camera technology make them ideal for this work. Obviously, this does not resolve the problem of declining insect populations, but it could prevent the loss of biodiversity while we clean the air.

Image | Goh Rhy Yan

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