Drones have already changed the world. They have become new tools for farming, given new perspectives to photography and film making, and helped everyone from architects to soldiers, from estate agents to archaeologists.
But a look to the future tells of new ways that drones will make for a safer, simpler, and more efficient way of living.
Here are some concepts on how drones will change life in the future:
1. Personal Security Drone.
A drone that follows you home on a dark night. Filled with movement and thermal imaging sensors it can detect potential dangers and assailants, alerting the owner, sounding an alarm, or contacting the police accordingly. Such a safety drone could even be armed with non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray, taser gun, sonic gun, intense spotlight, or similar device.
2. Home Delivery Drone.
While the issue of security (preventing mid-flight theft) and safety (reliable flying over densely populated areas) have yet to be resolved, the use of drones to deliver anything sold by Amazon or Domino’s Pizza would be highly cost effective and more environmentally friendly.
This concept would be life changing for the elderly or for those with disabilities. Prescriptions could be delivered, or a P.O. box could be filled with letters before being sent to the owner via drone.
Smaller companies, cottage industries, or even individual farmers would have easier, more direct access to markets with cheaper delivery costs. Customers would also benefit from an easier way to return unwanted or faulty products.
3. Selfie Drone.
Those tired of holding a mobile phone to take a selfie or to watch social media could purchase a pocket-sized drone to hold their smartphones. The drone could hover in front of them at a comfortable distance to keep both hands free. It would also avoid needing a selfie stick to capture the perfect picture – especially for group photos.
Furthermore, it would enable people to take a zoom call while still remaining fully mobile and hands free.
4. Hazardous Industry Drone.
Inspecting hard to access, dangerous, or toxic spaces in industrial complexes will be much easier and safer in the future with the development of suitable drones. These flying eyes with specialised monitoring equipment and sensors could check the condition of nuclear power stations, power cables, underwater pipelines, test air quality in mines, monitor construction sites from the other side of the world, fly through pipelines to check seals, or simply go places where humans cannot go.
5. Security Drone.
A drone that constantly patrols a home or business, looking for anything out of place and warning the owner or police of any disturbance or attempted break in.
6. Solar Powered High-Altitude Wifi Drone.
When Facebook acquired the UK-based solar-powered drone business Ascenta in March of 2014 it was aimed at becoming a high-altitude network of interconnected satellites and drones to beam an Internet connection to remote or isolated locations. Google also acquired Titan Aerospace a month later with a similar goal.
While technological limitations prevented the project from meeting its targets, the companies were able to produce ultra-lightweight drones which were solar powered and could fly high above commercial aviation traffic for a predicted five years.
Will this project be revitalised in the future? If so, how could it be repurposed?
7. Search and Rescue Drone.
Lost at sea or in the wilderness? Send a drone to find as well as drop survival kit or inflatable life raft. This application is already being used in Australia to aid beach lifeguards rescuing or tracking swimmers and surfers.
As explained, some of these ideas have already been researched, funded, prototyped, and even tested on the market. Other ideas are still only that – ideas.
But whatever the future brings – be it peace or war, famine or feast, good luck or misfortune, it is almost certain that drones will be there. Even if only just to film it.