In case you’ve been asleep for the past couple of years you may have noticed that we’ve entered the Age of Drones. Where once they were used exclusively by the military for reconnaissance and attack we have now reached the point at which the technology has advanced and reduced in both size and cost to such an extent that the commercial world is now very interested.
Towards the end of 2013 news bulletins announced that the online retailer Amazon was researching the use of drones for delivering small packages and on December 30th an article appeared on the BBC’s website which described the announcement by the US Aviation Regulator that six US states will host sites where commercial drones can be tested in preparation for their use in the skies over the USA. The states in question are Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. These will be coordinated tests to determine the viability of operating drones in a variety of environments both urban and rural.
As the article goes on to point out it is law enforcement and agriculture that are likely to make the most use of drones at first. We’ve already seen examples of both, including wine growers using drones to monitor the conditions of grapes in their vineyards, saving both time and effort in the process. The same method can be used by any farmer with vast acres of land to monitor and manage whatever the type of farm. When one considers the number of ways in which a camera, microphone, and other sensors mounted on a drone could be used there is no end to the possibilities.
Now that the platforms exist we really have entered the Age of the Drones.