Some call them #FlyingRobots. Science and technology refers to them as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles aka #UAVs. The world over they are famously known as #Drones. How this name came to be is something that is a story in itself, several stories in fact. Depending on which one you choose to believe there is one that says that the sound of motor on these aircrafts was similar to that of the #MaleBees. Thus the name. More plausible is the one which suggests that the US Navy gave this name to their unmanned planes as a tribute to the DH 82B Queen Bee. Which was probably the first ever remotely controlled aircraft.
Many of us do know that these remote controlled aircraft were used as targets for the aircraft guns back in the day. But very few know that it was a British actor and aviation enthusiast from the era of silent films, #ReginaldDenny who pioneered the mass production of drones in the US named the OQ-2 Radioplane. Even lesser folks know that it was Denny’s friend and future US President #RonaldReagan who had assigned a photographer to take pictures of these flying targets. But ended up photographing a young #MarilynMonroe. Who then worked as a humble assembler at #Radioplane.
From being used merely for target practice, these unmanned planes were soon used by the Air Force for missions in hostile territory. Cut to the year 2015 which is around a hundred years after UAVs first came into being. This was the year when the number of civilian drones outnumbered those used for military purposes. But how did this evolution come about? One reason is that two of the longest wars that the US waged (#Iraq and #Afghanistan) reached an end. Additionally technology improved by leaps and bounds in the last two decades resulting in manufacturing costs going down drastically. Today law enforcement agencies the world over use these drones for #Surveillance.
In the field of #Agriculture drones are being used for just about everything – crop spraying & monitoring, soil analysis and even irrigation. In places rendered inaccessible by natural calamities, drones have played a vital role in search and rescue operations. Drones are being used to supply life saving medicines and other essentials in remote areas of places like #Africa. Cameras placed in these drones have become popular with cameramen and film makers and it is not uncommon now to see these whirring about on top during high profile weddings.
#DroneRacing is an exciting new sport that began a few years ago in #Australia and we now regularly see these racing leagues taking place all over the world. In this regard one must mention that in the year 2014 drones were employed to film the Winter Olympics. For the first time ever. According to a recent #PwC global report, the market for drone powered solutions across all applicable industries is valued at over $127 billion. As developments related to software and hardware of these drones take place at a fast clip, more and more companies are integrating these flying robots into their business model.
#VCs have now entered the fray with investments upto $2 billion in drone industry startups making their intentions amply clear. Such is the impact of these drones used commercially that the aviation bodies (like the #FAA) are now mandating that new drones be registered. By the year 2020 it is expected that upto 7 million drones will be shipped to the US alone. All said and done one thing you can be assured of. Drones are here to stay. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is more to come. Much more.