Future of UAVs

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Mankind has always been fascinated with the ability of animals and things to fly. Centuries of evolution and decades of technological advancements, and still man cannot fly without the aid of a machine. This inability still continues to drive mankind. In our drive, we have made machines which can fly and carry a man from one place to another. We have also made machines which do not need manual supervision to fly, or as we fondly call them – drones. Inspired by the sound of the humming bees, these (unmanned) aerial vehicles add to the fascination of flight. Today, drones are as ubiquitous around us as kites were a few decades ago. Within a short span of time they are making a space of their own in various industries, showing a world of possibilities and life of simplicity which we could only dream of.

Today, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are extensively used in military for combat, intelligence and rescue purposes. It can be used to attack a remote target from miles away or can be used to track enemy movements with the precision of a bird’s eye. The fact that they can fly at an altitude high enough for human eye to not tell the difference between a bird and a machine, and low enough for radars to not detect them is what makes them lethal and dangerous. This is why, there have been concerns of them in civilian hands, with the existing fear of terrorism and abuse of technology. However, with the limited freedom they have had, UAVs have been able to leave an impact even in industrial sector. They have made plant supervision and alerting easier, cheaper and more efficient than ever. Police forces have been breathing a sigh of relief for the ease of keeping an eye during large gatherings. Agriculture sector has been revolutionized with the ease of crop supervision and survey. Similar things can be said about mining and other industries. It has also bought in a new fad of aerial photography. So, what is the future of this technology? Where does this take us? Last time a flying machine was made, it made the world even small in terms of travelling from place to place and took our generation to the cusp of technological utopia. Does this one fulfil it? Let us delve into the future and see what it has in the store for us.

1. Logistics

I see at least a 90%, if not 100% of last mile delivery being taken care of by the unmanned aerial vehicles. And not just single delivery. Multiple clusters of delivery been done in a single flight. So don’t just put those Mail boxes away. You might need it for your Prime Drone Delivery.

2. Governance

Real time update of decision impact on the ground. Specific decision for specific regions based on the impact in real time to control damage can be seen. Survey and inspection of bureaucracy might take a backseat with surprise aerial surveys of infrastructure projects, reducing corruption and inefficiency in government mechanism. It would also help accelerate decisions relating to maintenance activities by inspecting areas considered unreachable without special equipment.

3. Defence

This would definitely help prevent loss of lives as UAVs can become the first line of defence and offence in times of war, as they are currently used in remote combats. As and when the first line fails, it would become easier for the corresponding governments to realize their fatality and look for alternative means to resolve the conflicts.

4. Manufacturing Plants

They can be used indoors for aiding in manufacturing with spot inspection using computer vision and also increase productivity by helping to get the spares without the worker having to move from the line.

5. Surveillance

Internal and external surveys would be almost completely UAV based thereby helping to reduce crime and also detecting acts of terror or violence immediately to improve first response time. It can also be used in the time of disasters to identify and save as many lives as possible in areas considered unreachable without the help.

UAVs are a perfect marriage of Computer Vision, Computer Intelligence with Avionics looking to transform our day to day life. We, at ideaForge, believe in the bright side of this future and strive to achieve this with our research and development.

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