Drones can sometimes get a bad rap for the conventional and widely held association of the technology with military initiatives overseas, as well as increasing unease about drone use and the implications on privacy.
Some people feel that local drone flight could present issues that break, or at least bend, privacy laws surrounding personal property. But with the FAA's rules around how drones can be used, what is public airspace, and the stipulations for flight that require licensure, these concerns are fading.
Soon, the apprehension surrounding drone use will be another page in the history books of a society defined by its ability to work out the bugs, making cultural innovations that facilitate technological ones. Outside of a few known applications that have become mostly normalized, there are still few people that realize the massive benefit drone technology presents to the world.
Here are three somewhat unconventional ways drones are used for good you likely have not considered:
A Life Saving Tool
Gone are the days of news teams, police, and first responders risking chopper pilots or waiting on available flight in order to respond in a crisis.
Let’s go to Chopper 6, followed by a fuzzy feed as the news cast switches to the eye in the sky, will forever more be a phrase dripping with nostalgia. Many news channels are already employing smaller, unmanned aircrafts to serve the same purpose as the old helicopters making this footage much more accessible.
There are also cases where drones have been used to bring in emergency goods to isolated areas in natural disasters and even to fight large fires. As time is critical in situations such as these, the drone, which can be deployed at any time, is a tool whose value is unmatched.
High Tech Farm Hand
Drones are also used in agriculture all over the country to make food production more efficient and minimize waste. Drones outfitted with various hardware and software systems can map farmland allowing farm owners to make more informed decisions about where, when, and how planting should take place. An added layer of systematization pays dividends come harvest time!
Drones on farms can also be programmed to take soil samples and provide data that informs optimal planting seasons, which do sometimes vary from what is written in the farmer’s almanac.
Farm owners can also monitor crops with greater efficacy. Using aerial imagery, farm operators ensure everything is going according to the carefully thought out planting, irrigation, and harvest schedules. And should something go awry, farm staff can respond quickly, and ultimately save crops and minimize waste.
The Best Seat in the House
Though not the most high-impact or altruistic use, no one can deny the value drones have added to show business, and especially live entertainment. Whether choreographed for inclusion in huge annual events like those held during halftime of the Super Bowl, or as a part of smaller scale, regularly scheduled programming, the drone is beginning to play an integral role in the viewing experience.
For example, the Rockettes employed drones to take lighting during the annual Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall to the next level.
Drones can also be used to capture angles of televised events never before seen. While there are many commercial uses for aerial footage, the bird’s eye view packs even more of a punch as a broadcasting tool. When drones are used in this way, home viewers are able to catch a sneak peak of performers from just above the stage or even of the live audience - a phenomenon that further closes the gap between the living room and costly ticket prices.
These are just a few examples - some with massive implications on safety and others substantially more light-hearted - of how drones are commonly used to serve the general public good.
As with anything, the more widely these benefits are reported, the faster drone technology’s ever increasing prevalence will lose its negative connotation. With this change in popular opinion, only more positive innovation will take place, solidifying the role of drone service providers and drone pilots alike as ambassadors for good.