What’s in store for one of the most exciting new technologies of this century?
The UAV is a device with a chequered past. Originally developed and used by the military, UAVs were more commonly known as ‘drones’ and renowned for their destructive capabilities. The commercial sector was extremely slow to realise the lucrative potential of this technology – surprisingly, toy designers were the first to invest the necessary time, money and effort into this enterprise.
Now the commercial sector and many others besides have finally caught up. When you look at how UAV technology is currently being utilised, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the present for the distant future. For instance, Renault recently designed the Kwid, a model of car with a UAV built into its roof. When caught in a traffic jam, the driver of the Kwid will be able to deploy this personalised drone and use it to identify the cause of congestion.
There are thousands of commercial UAV applications around today, yet we’ve only scratched the surface of ‘what could be’. Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal, Programme Director at ASTRAEA and chairman of the Commercial UAV Show this week, emphasised how important it is that the world stops perceiving UAVs as nothing more than ‘robotic killers’. The Commercial UAV Show was set up in part to change that perception.
Despite the multitude of viable industries, farming is clearly going to become the most profitable sector for UAV manufacturers. The entire industry stands to be revolutionised – UAVs will soon be mapping farms, fertilising crops, planning the routes of ground-based robotic vehicles and much more.
And then there’s the emergency services. The ‘drone’ stands to make a complete U-turn in the eyes of the public, changing from the machine that takes lives away to a device that serves to save them. Unmanned Aerial Systems can traverse harsh environments and conditions that humans are unable to, making it potentially useful for all emergency branches.
Lambert rounded off his keynote speech by reminding his audience that the internet was originally built by scientists for scientists, yet now it is used universally. Initially designed by the military for the military, it is only a matter of time before the same can be said of UAVs as well.
Find out what else you missed at The Commercial UAV Show, where 1600 people attended to learn who uses UAVs and how…