Drone Technology Progress

Drone Technology Progress

Over the past decade, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have overcome many technological obstacles that limited their capabilities immensely. UAVs consist of many different components that are all significant to the quality of photography and videography as well as what types of shots are possible. Propeller motors have become more efficient and quiet to allow for longer flight times between charges, improve maneuverability and create less of a disturbance. Lithium batteries have become lighter and more powerful, allowing longer video recording time, flight time and new recording techniques such as time lapses. Smaller cameras and gimbals have greatly enhanced the quality of photos and videos drones are able to capture. All of these improvements in hardware have opened new doors and set new standards for the software that controls each physical part. One of the most important advances in software has been the development of GPS tracking, which allows UAVs to know their location and either stay still in one place despite wind or move in a predetermined flight path. This allows drones to include autopilot features to easily capture commonly used shots such as DJI’s “blast off” quick shot that records the drone ascending overhead. Another impressive new capability is the ability to track a moving object and follow it without anyone touching the controls. Many of the features drones have currently were not possible ten years ago or even necessary. Why would a drone need to be able to record 4k video when 4k monitors and TVs weren’t available to consumers? 

UAV capabilities are expanding exponentially, birthing new applications and services in areas outside of photography and videography. They are beginning to be used for a bunch of different uses such as insurance assessments, large equipment inspections as well as mapping geographical regions. The aerial perspective that UAVs provide can be valuable in a variety of different ways, especially when equipped with custom equipment such as thermal imaging sensors, cargo holders and other niche tools for business purposes. On top of this, accessing the view they provide is nearly effortless when compared to the methods used before drones which would require access to a helicopter, very tall ladder or camera attached to a pole. Any of those approaches would be very expensive, extremely inconvenient and require a team of specialized people. Because of these new practices and drone services, people in a variety of industries are finding it beneficial to become licensed. One aspect of UAV technology that is in its infancy stage but has a lot of potential to create new practices are virtual reality headset displays and controls. As their capabilities continue to expand more and more people will find ways that they can use drones to accomplish tasks that are not possible right now. Some areas Business Insider has highlighted that have a lot of potential to benefit from drones include: aerial photography for journalism and film, express shipping and delivery, Gathering information or supplying essentials for disaster management, thermal sensor drones for search and rescue operations, geographic mapping of inaccessible terrain and locations, building safety inspections, precision crop monitoring unmanned cargo transport, law enforcement and border control.

As drones are incorporated into more and more business functions, there will be an increase in the number of drones in the sky. It was estimated in 2019 that there were 1.32 million recreational drones in the United States. As this number increases for both recreational and professional UAVs, the likelihood of collision or damage to or from a drone will increase greatly unless technology or regulations are proactive. For everyone to be able to operate a personal drone, it is absolutely necessary for technology to continuously improve, reducing the chances of a crash. Additionally, it is necessary for everyone who wishes to fly to educate themselves. I personally think the future regulations for drone operation should require a license for both professional and recreational pilots. There are many situations and safety precautions that are learned in the process of becoming licensed that I think everyone who operates a drone should know. For instance, it's important to know the airspace that you fly in, if there are military flight routes nearby, temporary flight restrictions for sporting events and other large events. The licensing process also covers how to predict weather and how different types of winds and pressure differences affect an aircraft. It includes useful information that is applicable outside of flying drones. This would protect not only the pilot and drone, but also everyone and their property that the pilot is flying around.

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