Drone technology and its enormous future potential
Technology of unmanned aircrafts or “drones” is getting started today and has enormous potential in future. It is available in variety of sizes and types and is utilized for personal use as well as for military operations.
The drones evolved from Europe in 1800s. It was used in war in the form of balloons to carry bombs to their destinations. Since then the primary purpose of development of drones was military use. Nowadays, drones are extensively used in various private and commercial applications. These applications include insurance claims, crop management, journalism, filmmaking, disaster management and large number of other applications.
In United States and Canada, there are federal laws regulating the use of drones for recreational purpose as well as for commercial use. If you want to use drone for commercial use, you must obtain permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration or Transport Canada.
There are number of potential legal issues which are faced by both recreational and commercial operators when they fly their drones. The biggest concern is invasion of privacy. There are also chances of physical damage and bodily injury in case of drone crash. There are also issues about drones creating liability arising from nuisance, trespass and potential abuse by law enforcement agencies. In United States, if commercial operators don’t have FAA-issued certificate of authority, they face issue of monetary fine.
There are different types of drones which are summarized below:
Large fixed-wing aircrafts: examples of these type of drones are of present use drones. These include the the predator, the Global Hawk or T-Hawk. The predator was first ever weaponized drone and has been used to gather military intelligence and carry out overseas operations. It can fly upto 25,000 feet for up to 40 hours. It was recently used for surveillance purposes on US borders.
The Global Hawk is not weaponized and is primarily used for surveillance purposes. It can fly up to 35 hours and it can transmit videos to the ground during flight. It is widely used by NASA. T-Hawk has capacity to monitor items from close range and can pursue the target.
Small fixed-wing aircraft: These include aircrafts such as Boeing ScanEagle that can stay in the air for more than 24 hours and can fly at height of 19,500 ft. these are widely used by local law enforcement agencies.
Balloons or Blimps: These are not commonly thought of as drones. These are unmanned and can stay in the sky at one place for long periods of time. These are currently being used along US-Mexico border.
At least more than 40 countries have drones; USA, China, Israel and Iran have their own manufactured drones. There are evidences that some terrorist organizations also use drones. Government research organizations, universities and aviation firms design a variety of drones ranging in size from robotic moths to gigantic Boeing’s Phantom Eye.
The drones are being used in different ways including civilian and military applications. One of the industry that can benefit from drone is insurance industry. When a natural catastrophe occurs, the drone can reach much faster to remote scene than claims adjuster.
The drones are also used for research, testing and training flights purposes. This could be helpful to improve the response to emergency situations such as fires in remote areas that are otherwise difficult access. These are also being widely used for agriculture in various countries including Australia and Japan for studying crop yields, use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. These are also used in real estate industry and commercial photography. Drones are also used in sports, journalism, aerial photography, disaster management, retail and also personal use.
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