Drones have been around for a long time, with the earliest reported drone uses being in 1849. The first drone uses were for military purposes as was the drone use mentioned in 1849. But today, drones are no longer just used for military purposes. In fact, just about anyone who wants can use a drone.
Today the list of drone uses can go on and on. While drones are still used by the military, and also for other security, the applications go much further. Drone uses apply to entertainment, fun, art, virtual experiences, and so much more. The many drone uses can and have been used to advance not only the quality of personal life but also the success of businesses.
If you’re interested in drones, and the useful and impressive drone uses that are commonly practiced today, then you’re in the right place. Read on for all you need to know about drones, and the many drone uses.
What Is a Drone?
A drone, technologically speaking is an unmanned aircraft or aerial vehicle. In more simple terms, a drone is basically a robot technology that can fly. Drones can either be remotely controlled or fly autonomously through software controlled systems.
Each drone has a specific and unique design that can be used in different walks of life. But one commonality between drone types is that they are made to increase safety, the quality of life, and even fun and entertainment.
The demand for drones continues to increase because of the considerable impact and benefits they have on governments, businesses, and in the lives of individuals. If you’re curious about all that drones can do and 15 incredible drone uses, then this article will give you the information you’re searching for.
What Are Drones Designed For?
While drones vary in design, most are created with light composite materials that allow for optimal aerodynamics. Drones are designed with evolving technology and include infrared cameras, GPS, lasers, and more.
If drones sound like they can only be used for high tech, complicated, or government-based activities, that’s probably because that’s how it used to be.
In the past drones were commonly used for military purposes and were used for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering, as weapon platforms, and more.
Today, drones are used for a lot more than their historical military purposes. Drones can be used for civilian needs, government uses, and for entertainment and everyday life uses too.
Drones help in many aspects of making modern life more comfortable and enjoyable, from searching for lost individuals to taking top-notch photos.
From business to personal use, anyone can enjoy the advanced technology of drones. To show you how versatile and useful drones are, we’ve got some of the most common and practical drone uses listed below.
Different Types of Drones
Whether you’ve seen a drone, operated a drone, or have never done either, if you’re reading this then you’re probably curious about drones.
Did you know many drones are used for different purposes? To help you step more into the world of drones, we will cover the most common types of drones used today.
As the name implies, a multi-rotor drone is a drone that has more than one rotor. There are drone options that have varying numbers of rotors. Some common subtypes of multi-rotors are tricopters that have three rotors, quadcopters with four rotors, hexacopters with six rotors, and octocopters with eight rotors.
If what you want to get out of your drone is a device that you can quickly get up in the air for a small period, then a multi-rotor drone is the way to go. These types of drones are the easiest and cheapest way to get a bird’s-eye view.
Multi-rotor drones are great for aerial photography because they are built to provide a large amount of control over positioning and framing. On top of being commonly used for photography, multi-rotor drones are also popular for video surveillance, surveying, and more.
While multi-rotor drones are great for photography and are easy to use, they have some downsides. Because of the way they are designed, multi-rotor drones aren’t the most effective type of drone and they require a lot of energy to stay flying.
Many multi-rotor technologies today only provide the drones with a flight time of around 20-30 minutes while holding a camera. There are heavy lift multi-rotor drones, but unfortunately, as the weight capacity increases the flight time decreases.
While multi-rotors aren’t the best option for drones that need to be kept in the air for more extended periods, technology is continuously advancing.
Fixed-wing drones are another common type of drone, and they use the same principle that airplanes use to stay in the air. These drones use a wing to generate lift instead of using vertical thrust generators. Because they use a wing instead of vertical thrust generators, fixed-wing drones only need the energy to move forward, not to stay in the air.
Drones that have fixed-wing are more efficient for staying in the air for longer periods, and because of this can traverse longer distances and map greater areas.
Not only are fixed-wing drones more energy-efficient, but they also can be powered by gas engines, giving them the ability to stay in the air for 15 or 16 hours at a time.
These drones are much more data-driven than multi-rotor drones and are about a lot more than great images. These drones can be used to analyze necessary data like tree counts, stockpile volume calculations, mapping data, and more.
While fixed-wing drones are more efficient and have longer flight times than multi-rotor drones, they are not without their flaws. One main downside of fixed-wing drones is that they can’t hover in one spot, eliminating one of the common drone uses: photography.
It can also be difficult to both launch and land fixed-wing drones, as they need a runaway or catapult to get in the air and a runway, parachute, or net to land. Fixed-wing drones also cost a lot more than multi-rotor drones.
We’re not talking about the type of helicopter you can catch a ride on, but another common kind of drone. We mentioned the multi-rotor drone before, and how it has multi-rotors, well a single-rotor helicopter is a drone that uses one rotor to hold it up and a tail rotor to control its heading. This type of drone is common in aviation but is less commonly used for civilian purposes.
Single-rotor drones are more efficient than multi-rotor ones and more efficiently generate thrust. These drones can also be powered by gas giving them a longer flight time than multi-rotor drones.
Single-rotor drones are best for uses that require a large payload, like carrying a LIDAR scanner. These drones are also useful for applications that require a mixture of hovering and long endurance and fast forward flight.
The downside of single-rotor drones is that they are more expensive and complicated. These drones also have higher vibrations and present more danger because of their large spinning blades.
When operating a single-rotor drone, it’s important to practice extra care to avoid injury from the spinning blades. Because of the increased risk of injury, these drones are not the best option for hobbies, entertainment, or fun.
As far as operation difficulty goes, single-rotor drones fall somewhere between multi-rotor and fixed-wing drones. Forward flight and hovering are pretty easy to manage, but these drones are not the most stable and do need some level of skill to fly.
Fixed Wing Hybrids
The last of the most common type of drone is the fixed-wing hybrid. These drones are a newer technology, and the purpose is to mix the benefits of fixed-wing drones with the ability to hover.
Some of these drones are simply fixed-wing designed drones with a vertical motor. Other designs involve tail sitting drones that point vertically before they take off and switch to horizontal flight.
There are also tilt-rotor designs that where rotors or the entire wing with attached propellors can swivel from an upward position for takeoff to a horizontal position for flying.
These types of drones can be useful for delivery and have been used for Amazon’s Prime Air delivery.
Some Common and Practical Drone Uses
Now that we’ve covered the main types of drones, let’s look at some of the most common and practical drone uses.
There used to be a time when receiving an item you ordered online within a week was a big deal, but now with giants like Amazon providing two-day delivery, consumers want instant gratification. Drones are an extremely useful tool in meeting this demand.
Drones can be used to make deliveries of specific sizes to locations near drone delivery stations. Not only can drone delivery speed up the process, but it can eliminate the need for a large delivery team or manual labor.
Big companies like Dominoes and Amazon have picked up on the potential for drones in the field of delivery. While mass delivery by drones hasn’t been implemented yet, drones will play a big part in the future of delivery.
Crime-Fighting and Investigation
Crime is a constant problem in society, and one of the most significant courses of action in crime-fighting is an effective investigation. Drones are great for gathering intelligence as they’ve been used in the military, and because of that, security forces around the world are implementing drones to help fight crime.
The use of drones in crime-fighting is often debated, as many civilians find it to be an invasion of privacy. We’ll leave whether or not this practice is a fair one up to you, but it’s important to note that it is a common use of drones.
Drones are also playing a role in taking news reporting and journalism to the next level. Drones help reporters and journalist portray news stories in a whole new, engaging way.
Using drones for journalism and news reporting can also help keep reporters and journalist safe. The concept of using drones to report news is up and coming, and many journalism schools are including it in curriculums.
Border control is a sensitive topic, but border protection is also essential to the safety of a nation. As with crime-fighting, drones can take border protection to the next level with no need to increase human labor. Drones can provide a whole new viewpoint with ease in monitoring borders and coastlines.
Search and Rescue
While the use of drones to fight crime and protect borders can be controversial for many people, one security component of drones that most people find beneficial is search and rescue. If a person is missing because of a wreck either on land or sea, thermal sensors in drones can be used to more effectively and clearly find the missing persons during the day or night.
Additionally, drones can completely change the game when it comes to emergency care by quickly delivering needed materials.
Using drones for life support is not commonplace yet, but the future is promising. There are also methods that have been developed to deliver defibrillators to heart attack victims via drones.
When perfected, they can work by having a medic place the device on a drone and directing it to the person in need. Another practical use of drones for life support is through delivering medicine in situations where other methods would be too slow, for instance, in the case of snake bites.
Surveying and inspecting buildings have many purposes, and sometimes parts of buildings are inaccessible by humans or are dangerous for human access.
In these situations, drones have become a huge asset to those in this field of work. Drones allow all parts of a building to be accessed and also save time. Using drones in building inspections also keeps workers safe from unnecessary risks.
Another useful purpose of drones is creating virtual tours with a bird’s-eye view. It can make a world of difference to have a tour of a place before visiting it whether it be a vacation spot or a new apartment.
There really is no better way to get a full tour of an entire property or location than the bird’s-eye perspective offered by a drone. Drones can be used to provide virtual tours by real estate agencies, travel agencies, hotels, retreat organizers, and more.
Emergency Medical Drops
We mentioned before that drones can be used to supply first aid for victims suffering from heart attacks or snake bites, but they can also be used for larger-scale emergency medical drops.
With wars and natural disasters wreaking havoc on societies, large numbers of people are often left without access to necessary medical supplies. Drones are a more effective way to provide medicinal drops than older methods like Brandy barrels or St. Bernard dogs.
There are many reasons why wildlife is monitored. Sometimes wildlife is observed to ensure that it stays away from human populated areas as is the case with sharks.
Other times, wildlife is observed for research to learn about certain animals. Monitoring wildlife, especially endangered species, is also essential to protecting wildlife.
Drones can take pictures and videos of animals in the wild far better than photographers or researchers can. Drones are also a safer method of monitoring wildlife than more hands-on monitoring.
Drones can also do more than monitor wildlife; they can also protect wildlife from poachers. In many parts of the world, poachers are a huge problem, especially with animals like elephants or rhinos. Drones can use the regular camera and heat-sensitive infrared options to spot poachers, even under the cover of darkness.
You might not think of farmers as you go about your day, but farmers are still the backbone of our societies. Without them, we would not have the resources to eat.
Farming is an extremely hard job; it involves early rises and long hours as well as large amounts of physical labor. It also includes monitoring vast areas of land for protection against weather conditions, pests, and wildlife.
Drones can take some of the stress and labor off the farmers’ backs by providing a better way to monitor farms. Drones that use infrared technology can keep an eye out for unwanted pests on the farm property and even keep farmers updated on crop yields.
The use of drones in crime-fighting and border protection might not come as a big surprise, but drones are also used to help the environment.
Environmental agencies have used drone technology to monitor and catch polluters in the act of dumping or fly-tipping. In addition, NASA has been using drones to monitor the ozone layer. Other environmental agencies and companies have also been using drones to gather samples for pollution testing.
Sports Event Coverage
We mentioned that drones can make the world of news reporting and journalism a whole new place, but drones can also be used to cover entertainment like sporting events.
Many people who follow sporting events can’t always make it to the real event, especially with events like the Olympics or the U.S. Open. In situations like these drones can be used for full coverage of sporting events and provide a perspective and view unlike any sports coverage in the past.
Whether you’re a photographer for hobby or trade, you know the effort it takes to get that perfect shot. In many situations, there’s nothing better than a beautiful aerial shot taken by a drone.
With drones for photography, you are able to get a bird’s-eye view photo of sites that don’t look the same when photographed from the ground. With drones, you can take breathtaking images without the risk, while safely standing with both feet on the ground.
Storm Tracking and Weather Forecasting
Sending drones into severe weather occurrences like hurricanes or tornadoes helps climate scientists and weather reporters learn about conditions.
This application can lead to the development of new insights, and can also help better track and inform the public of weather conditions. Drones eliminate the high risk associated with getting close to dangerous weather situations via manned vehicles.
Technology is meant to move our societies forward and make our lives easier and safer. Drone technology does just that. Drones uses can help keep communities and nations safe, protect wildlife, save lives, enhance news and weather reporting, and even provide better entertainment, among other things. In addition, the uses for drones will continue to expand in years to come.
Whatever the reason for your interest in drones, at least one of the drone uses on this list is bound to appeal to your wants and needs. Understanding the various drone uses can help you in determining which drone is best for you and keep you updated on how drones are used all over the world.