With modern day technology becoming simultaneously smaller and more advanced, people have been figuring out more advanced places to place chips and circuit boards. From behind the wheels of self driving cars to inside coffee makers, it seems like everything nowadays has a advanced processor inside. But one area that has even more recently started to explode in terms of technological innovations is that of UAV’s, more commonly referred to as drones.
The most common and easily accessible type of drone on the market today are camera drones. These drones have a series of smart sensors and a high quality video camera that all connect to your smart phone over long distances in order to allow the user to capture stunning aerial photos and video. The most prominent producer in this particular market is DJI. They make a variety of video drones ranging from their consumer friendly DJI Spark for $399 up to their professional movie-quality drone, the Inspire 2, which can cost upwards of $10,000. More recently, DJI is set to unveil their new Mavic Pro Air which is supposed to help bridge this gap between low priced consumer drones and professional video equipment. It will be a smaller foldable aircraft that boasts a 4K 3-axis stabilized camera and comes in at just $699. It will also have a series of neat features like obstacle avoidance, object tracking, and gesture control, all enabled through its various ultrasonic and IR sensors and numerous vision positioning camera.
While consumer camera drone technology has been advancing at a rapid rate due to manufactures such as DJI, that isn’t to say that all drone advancements are happening in the consumer camera space. Volocopter is taking a different approach to drone technology. At this year’s CES 2018, Brian Krzanich, the chief executive of intel, showed off the first official flight of this new drone. The Volocopter is an 18 propeller battery operated drone which is capable of carrying up to 2 human passengers. In the future, it is intended to be used as a sort of aerial taxi which would fly to you, pick you up, and then autonomously bring you to your destination and drop you off. Think of it as an aerial self driving uber!
Another cool application of this autonomous drone flying tech has been in the works by one of America’s largest online shopping retailers, Amazon. Amazon Prime Air, as they are touting it, is Amazon’s vision of their future home delivery service. They intend to use fully autonomous delivery drones to bring packages directly from their warehouses to your front door in 30 minutes or less. If implemented, this will greatly decrease the cost and increase the efficiency of their delivery service. However, this is no easy task. There are a lot of variables to consider including overhead obstacles and possible injuries that can occur due to the high rpm propellers on these drones. If successful, however, traditional ground delivery services will become a thing of the past!
Drones have also made their way into classrooms to help kids learn how to code with drones like Tello, into the military to remotely view dangerous locations and plan critical missions, and into competitions such as the various drone racing leagues that exist today. It is clear that drones have greatly advanced over the last few years and will only continue to get better and better as they become a more prominent aspect in our day-to-day lives.