In a short time, AI drones have become an indispensable technology that is widely used in various applications. What started as hot air balloons for reconnaissance for military purposes has grown to become a behemoth technological feat that is used for the betterment of mankind. Today, drones are used globally across various applications, from wildlife conservation to emergency response, insurance to mapping, disease control, and delivery services.
The unique character and ability of drones to safely access remote, inaccessible regions for information gathering or delivery open up a whole new world of possibilities for mankind to use drones. With the advancement of technology, today, drones integrated with machine learning solutions are capable of precisely mapping natural features, as well as, performing reconnaissance and border surveillance as well. Modern-day drones are also increasingly to monitor ecologically fragile areas and keep it safe from human trespassing.
The massive popularity of drones is predicted by the fact that global unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones are expected to reach over 125 billion dollars in the next few years. Here in this blog, we have come up with some of the more popular drone applications and use cases in 2020.
15 Drone Applications and Use Cases in 2020
1) Agricultural Application
Agriculture is yet another important application of the technology, where drones are offering farmers affordable and effective methods to monitor crops. Drones equipped with infrared sensors are especially helpful in monitoring crop health, giving farmers faster and more reliable information to take precautionary measures to improve crop conditions and yield. According to estimates, drone technology will cover 80% of the agriculture industry in the coming few years.
2) Terrain Mapping
Scientists and researchers are using drones fitted with LIDAR sensors and 3D cameras to capture 3D imagery of terrains for terrain mapping. The AI-powered drones are pre-programmed to fly over a defined course without any need for human intervention. The drone can either store recordings onboard or send live videos/images to the ground stations for further processes. This drone application is especially useful for creating powerful and precise Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of terrains, which are used in various scientific research, including remote sensing and GIS.
3) Livestock Management
Apart from agricultural management, drones are also being used for livestock management. The AI-powered drones can be pre-programmed to monitor and track livestock in the fields, giving ranchers a real-time aerial view of the livestock for better management and monitoring of livestock. Thermal sensors equipped with drones are also used for nighttime surveillance of livestock and identification of any issues in real-time.
4) Solar Panel Inspection
Solar energy has become an important renewable sector with meteoric growth and development in recent years. Countries worldwide have developed massive solar energy parks to generate clean and renewable energy. AI drone solar panel inspection equipped with multiple sensors and image detectors offers authorities reliable, consistent, and affordable technology to inspect the solar panels and identify any potential issues that may compromise the efficiency of the solar parks. The AI drones not only offer a great consistent solution for monitoring solar parks, but they are also much more affordable and reliable than manual checking.
5) Aerial Photography
Aerial photography represents one of the first applications of drones. The predecessor of drones (air balloons) was used during WW1 by various countries as reconnaissance tools for information gathering of enemy positions. Today, drones are widely used to capture footage of remote and inaccessible areas as a much cheaper alternative to helicopters. From individual Vloggers to Hollywood production houses, drones are used worldwide as the most potent, versatile, and affordable tool to capture stunning aerial photography. Even many news agencies use drones to collect first-hand information and live broadcasts.
6) Shipping & Delivery
While shipping and delivering is still a relatively new application of drone technology, it’s being taken up by some of the biggest names in the tech industry, including; Amazon and DHL. The technology enables delivery companies to fasten their delivery system and offer better customer service by taking to the skies. Amazon is especially taking drone technology to the next level by integrating the AI positioning system to deliver same-day parcels to customers.
7) Geographic Locations
Professional and government agencies increasingly use drone technology to access high-definition imagery of remote locations like rugged mountains and inaccessible mountaintops, islands, and coastlines. Modern drones can carry various imagery sensors, which may be used to create 3D maps of geographic locations or contribute towards crowd-sourced mapping.
8) Disaster Management
Disaster management is also one of the most important and widely used technology tools that have been adopted worldwide. The unique ability of drones to access disaster struck areas faster and safely makes them the most potent and affordable tool to gather information from ground zero and make relief operations plans. With special sensors, cameras, and radars, drones can assist rescue workers in getting the complete picture of the level of disaster and make any relief and rescue plans accordingly.
9) Search and Rescue
The thermal sensors onboard enable drones to become potent tools for nighttime surveillance. Drones can be used to track lost persons across forests, mountains, and rugged terrains, whereas they can be equipped with infrared and thermal sensors for equal effectivity day and night. Many modern drones are capable of operating in harsh conditions, as well, making them effective search and rescue tools. Apart from their role in search of lost persons, drones can also be used to airdrop essential supplies to disaster-struck or war-torn areas. For instance, drones can be loaded with GPS locator, food supplies, medicines, and other essential supplies to help stuck people survive until the help arrive.
10) Weather Forecast
A recent trend in drone technology is the development of special drones for weather monitoring and forecast. Weather and Climate agencies across the world are utilizing drones to monitor and track hazardous weather patterns like hurricanes, low-pressure systems over oceans, and other weather events to receive first-hand information about the magnitude, behavior, and trajectory of the event and disseminate it with the local people.
11) Wildlife Monitoring
In Africa, drones have been used for quite some time as a deterrent to poachers. The unique ability of drones to keep surveillance over large areas consistently across all weather makes them ideal technology feat to monitor wildlife in deep forests or massive grasslands. Apart from acting as a deterrent against poachers, drones are also used by scientists to track endangered animals, as well as study their behavior and habitat.
12) Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies widely use drones to maintain law and order situations. The applicability of drones becomes even more crucial during protests, where the technology enables law enforcement agencies to closely and consistently monitor the situation of protest and spot any unlawful event before it spirals out of control. Apart from its application in maintaining law and order in cities, drones are also used by border management agencies to track smugglers and illegal transportation of drugs through remote, inaccessible areas or coastlines.
Drones are increasingly used in the entertainment industry, including concerts, fight clubs, and even to capture videos and footage for videos. The AI-powered drones enable singers and Vloggers unique ability to capture the landscape’s stunning beauty or make uniquely angled videos for entertainment purposes. More recently, drones are also being used in fight clubs where two drones fight alongside their contenders.
14) Military Reconnaissance Uses
The military was the first user of drone technology, which was used to gather crucial enemy information from the battleground. Technology today has only boosted its efficiency in terms of gathering crucial information not just from the battlefield but during peaceful times as well. Today, powerful drones flying thousands of miles above the sky and equipped with the most powerful imaging tools can gather complete information about the enemy’s military presence inside its territory. Small quadcopters are also routinely used for border surveillance to get real-time information about the forward posts of enemies.
15) Military Combat Uses
Besides its role in reconnaissance surveys, the technology is also used in active combat roles. The United States, the largest manufacturer and user of military drones, has been using the technology for decades to fight combats in dangerous and hostile situations, ensuring the safety of the troops while eliminating the enemy targets remotely.
These are just some of the various applications and case studies of drone technology in the modern world. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that drones have revolutionized how humans interact with their environment. Today, the integration of powerful technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, and others are opening up a whole new world of applications for drone technology, making them a highly potent tool not just for government agencies or researchers but also for businesses; helping them to boost their efficiency and remain competitive in the industry.
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