The slight buzzing sound of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), similar to that of a bee, grows in volume until it is right at your doorstep. Opening the door, you find a package lying on your doormat, probably the book you ordered a week ago. These UAV’s, or drones as some people call them, could become the main source of package deliveries, surveillance, search and rescue or engineering projects across the world.
These UAV’s have come a long way as far as technology goes, and the capabilities are endless. Most UAV’s are controlled remotely by someone on the ground, which can pose issues in handling the flight pattern. Recently, drones have had GPS navigation software installed, creating more opportunities for these UAV’s to accomplish what had never been thought of before.
GPS is short for global positioning system, which uses latitudinal and longitudinal numbers from a satellite to pinpoint a specific location, called a waypoint. Waypoints are like the “You Are Here” dots on a map and GPS is another way to say a person is getting from point A to point B through different waypoints.
The software used for GPS navigation is up to the drone company’s discretion. Most software is available in the app store and has a self-flight feature called autonomous flight mode. For drones, that means a flight pattern will be sent over electronically and uploaded to the drone so it can fly on its own. A person can use the navigation software to set the height and path for the drone. Once everything is set and ready, all the controller has to do is press “Go” and watch the drone take flight.
Drones have other features besides the GPS software to aid in possible search and rescue procedures or engineering projects. Most of these UAV’s have high-resolution cameras built in. That means people can use drones to fly around and record video footage of a surrounding area. Search and rescue teams now have an advantage when dealing with tough-to-reach sections. Even in engineering, a drone can be used to survey land and look at architectural issues.
With powerful technology like this, people can reinvent many aspects in this world, like parcel delivery or engineering. Drones can have delivery waypoints uploaded to its system and send packages right to a person’s doorstep. The opportunities are endless. Some higher end drones even come with a feature to avoid crashing into obstacles, like trees or buildings. This could be a revolutionary time in history where people begin to see technology more as the future.
There are still concerns about using drones, like other peoples’ privacy and the environmental risks. We already see problems with flying planes and harming birds, so there is no guarantee drones will be any better.
Although there are great possibilities for the future, this isn’t to say drones are indestructible and can withstand extreme weather conditions or don’t pose risk of malfunctioning. It’s simply a promise toward a better future where drone technology can only improve with time.