There are over 1 million drones registered with the FAA at present, as well as 272,000 drone pilots. These include both recreational drones, military drones, and commercial drones. We’re all familiar with using drones for fun flips and army operations, but why get a drone for your business?
Nowadays, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) play an important role in society, keep reading to find out some of the most common drone use cases.
1. Construction Drones
The construction industry was one of the first to embrace drone technology. It’s vital for surveying, inspections, and more in this industry.
The main ways construction companies use drones include:
With a drone, it’s easy to see if bottlenecks are slowing down your workers’ productivity. They help you keep tabs on the progress of work and streamline things where necessary.
Site inspections are a vital part of construction management. Yet, they’re difficult and often dangerous undertakings. Drones can help speed up these inspections with fewer health and safety implications.
Inspecting high roofs, bridges, walkways, and scaffolding for maintenance issues is dangerous and time-consuming. Fortunately, this is one area where high-flying drones excel.
Investors and shareholders often require progress reports and updates throughout the construction process. Virtual walkthroughs using a drone are a safe and effective way to keep them in the loop.
2. Airport Drones
Drones play an important role in airport operations. They’re used in Foreign Object Debris inspections to ensure safe passage for aircraft along runways. If an aircraft draws debris into its engines, disaster follows. Thanks to drone footage, airport personnel can remove any dangerous items before any aircraft approaches.
They’re also a useful tool for inspecting large airports for maintenance issues. This means airport maintenance personnel can ensure the comfort and safety of passengers quicker and more efficiently. Wildlife and birds can create a major problem for airports.
With drones to track the perimeter, personnel know about the presence of these creatures as soon as possible. Then they can take steps to drive them off before they cause issues.
3. Security Drones
Drones work well for security in every industry. Homeowners can use them to detect intruders if their perimeter alarm goes off. Businesses can use them as roving CCTV cameras to keep tabs on their premises after hours. Unfortunately, drones have limited battery life in this regard at present. Business owners would need to buy numerous drones working in shifts to cover their business through the night, which makes this practice too expensive.
As technologies advance, more businesses will likely revisit the idea of drone security. The police use them to keep track of criminals on the run or to help detect people stranded in hard-to-reach places.
4. Drones in Sports
Sports stadiums also use drones in the context of crowd control. These technologies can keep tabs on crowd numbers and behavior and alert security personnel about deploying extra teams where needed. One of the most effective ways drones come into play on the sports field is using videography. Drones can provide blow-by-blow high-angle footage of sports events.
They’re excellent at capturing high-speed footage, ideal for television crews to use in replays, and also for promotional materials.
Drones work very well for sports where the spectators can’t get close to the action, like water sports and some equestrian events.
5. Photography Drones
Photography drones work very well for marketing vacation properties and real estate. They’re an excellent way to show off the lie of the land, highlight nearby features, and provide touristic maps of an area. They can help promote remote areas and create maps for hiking and biking trails.
Even wedding and event photographers can use a drone to create attractive and memorable shots of the big day. You can even use a drone to record your exciting hike through the wilderness, or your latest ocean-bound outing.
Of course, you must make sure you aren’t breaking any laws before you undertake drone photography anywhere outside your home.
6. Drones in Agriculture
Drones are becoming an important part of modern-day agriculture, offering a host of services at a fraction of the usual costs. Some ways drones work in agriculture, include:
Field mapping helps farmers identify exactly how much land they have available for planting, helping them calculate cost-effective ways to cultivate their lands.
Drone surveillance can also assist with monitoring crops and determining any areas of drought, erosion, or malnourished crops.
Crop spraying is an expensive endeavor, involving hiring a private airplane and a pilot. Automated crop-spraying drones can help save farmers a lot of money when it comes to this aspect and help keep their production costs low.
This can have a knock-on effect to help bring down the cost of groceries for the consumer.
These drone sprayers can deliver precise quantities of the following to crops:
Since they’re so accurate, they help reduce wastage, decrease environmental harm, and prevent accidentally ‘over-dosing’ crops, too.
7. Delivery Drones
Increased online shopping during the pandemic meant a huge upswing in deliveries at this time, and the trend hasn’t abated yet. The trouble with deliveries is that they involve motor vehicles, and extra vehicles on the road create an increase in carbon emissions. That’s why ecologically-conscious retailers are opting for drone deliveries nowadays. Dominos is already delivering pizzas by drone, and Amazon is looking to go the same route.
Ultimately, using drones for last-mile deliveries will save retailers a lot of money, which can help them offer consumers better prices, along with faster service.
8. Medical Drones
Drones are an excellent ally to doctors trying their best to help patients in remote, rural locations. They’re ideal for delivering much-needed emergency medical supplies, snakebite serum, birth control measures, vaccinations, and even blood to these locations. In extreme emergencies, like heart attacks, a drone can bring an automated defibrillator to the scene quicker than an ambulance can get there.
In the aftermath of natural disasters, where road infrastructure incurs damage, drones can get medical suppliers and equipment to where they’re needed, fast. With drone technology, doctors can send X-rays and test samples to laboratories quickly, for faster diagnosis of cases.
9. Surveying Drones
Drone surveys capture aerial data using downward-facing sensors attached to the drone. These devices include RGB or multispectral cameras and LIDAR payloads. Drones can fly much lower than manned aircraft and provide more detailed information than satellite imagery.
During a survey, the cameras photograph the surveillance area from different angles, tagging each image with the relevant coordinates. From this, surveyors use software to create elevation models, 3D models, and geo-referenced orthomosaics of the area under study.
These maps can provide highly accurate information regarding volumetric and distance measurements.
In this way, drones provide exhaustive, accurate data, while reducing survey costs and saving time. They’re also great for surveying difficult-to-reach places.
10. Traffic Monitoring Drones
Traffic helicopters are indispensable when it comes to keeping tabs on traffic jams, assisting police with apprehending getaway vehicles, and delivering regular traffic reports. The trouble is, it’s extremely expensive to keep these large machines in the air. While small commercial drones can’t match the long-range capabilities of a helicopter, they can help keep a lookout over busy intersections and other congested areas.
Tethered drones can deliver a non-stop stream of information to traffic authorities. This helps them monitor congestion, keep statistics on road users, and plan for future infrastructure improvements.
11. Drones in Conservation
Drones are an excellent tool for conservationists. They can survey miles of land in no time at all, and collect data that would take people on foot months to compile. In this way, drones help to monitor fires, track wildlife, and observe migration patterns. They can help locate shy species of animals and help conduct counts of animal populations, without disturbing these creatures or dispersing them.
Finally, conservationists can use drones to keep tabs on poaching activities, help detect metal traps hidden in thick bushes, and even track poachers from afar, without risking the lives of game rangers or game guards.
12. Military Drones
Initially, the military used drones for target practice while training fighter pilots, but they’ve since discovered many more productive ways to use them. Drones are an excellent way to scout enemy territory without placing lives at risk. Military drones are smaller and more cost-effective for close surveillance and intelligence gathering.
They can also help designate targets to help ground-based crews fire precision-guided munitions. Drones can also fire or drop these munitions when needed. Drones can penetrate heavily-defended areas to gather information, often going undetected in the process, but they’re also employed as decoys to protect manned aircraft from fire.
Finally, drones are excellent for detecting landmines and other explosive devices, helping prevent unnecessary loss of life while crossing unexplored terrain.
13. Drones in Space
Thanks to the versatility of drones, NASA is working with engineers to fine-tune drones that can assist them with their space program. In March 2021, NASA’s Ingenuity, a helicopter drone, took to the skies above Mars to back up the Rover’s explorations.
Now, the space agency is planning to use the world’s biggest drone, the Ravn X, to deliver satellites into space. The Ravn X can fly to a specified altitude and then launch a satellite into space, using a rocket.
NASA is also designing a life-hunting rotorcraft that will embark on a photographic journey of Saturn in years to come.
14. Search and Rescue Drones
Drones can go where people daren’t venture, so they can help locate missing people in hard-to-reach areas. In this way, they can save valuable time when rescuing people. Instead of rescuers spending hours searching through poor visibility, they can send a drone up to scour the land quickly and help pinpoint the location of those in need of assistance.
Models like the Yuneec H520, DJI Matrice 30, and Splashdrone 4 feature excellent durability, lightweight portability, and even thermal imaging capabilities. That means they can locate people in the dark, or during rainy weather, too.
15. Recreational Drone Use Cases
All work and no play are not the domain of the drone. Many people have embraced drone flying as a form of RC model aircraft flying. Numerous community clubs and national organizations cater to those who enjoy these sports.
Legislation surrounding drones is full of gray areas and ambiguous rules. So, if you plan to fly a drone anywhere outside your private property, it’s a good idea to join a recognized association to stay updated on all the latest technicalities.
When you use a drone, you’re using airspace, so you must comply with federal laws and regulations regarding this. Recreational flying excludes the following:
- Flying a drone for compensation or payment
- Performing a service for any organization or person, whether paid or unpaid
- Operating your drone out of your visual line of sight
If you do any of the above things with your drone, you may require a license to do so. What’s more, you must operate your drone according to community safety guidelines.
Some fun activities you can do with drones include drone racing and obstacle courses, checking for damages to your roof, taking aerial shots of your home, or snapping unique family photographs.
Moving Forward With Drone Technology
These drone use cases are only a small sample of the things that are possible with these machines. They vary in size from matchbox-sized drones for individuals to huge contraptions weighing over 20 tons. Thanks to this versatility and variety, people are discovering more ways to put them to work every day.
Browse our blog for more information about how technology impacts our lives today.
Also read: 5 Reasons to Sell Your Old Electronics