For those who don’t know, a drone is an unmanned aircraft. Drones can be controlled with a remote or can fly autonomously through software and can be used for commercial or recreational purposes. There is no denying that the introduction of drones has lead to quite a bit of controversy. Blogs, Facebook comments, video blogs and reviews, are all riddled with opinions. Depending on what you read, drones are revolutionary, or an invasion of privacy, or will lead us into war, etc. People are all over the place on them.
Despite controversy and the endless debates about privacy being violated, one thing cannot be denied, opportunity. The options are endless for what can be accomplished with drones.
It’s easy to look at all the negative implications of having drones around, but let’s take a look at some of the ways we can further aid humanity with drones.
Drones have potential to be a very useful tool for farmers to utilize on their property. A large majority of farms are hundreds and hundreds of acres in size and with a drone, a farmer could keep a closer eye on it all. There is even special software available that can spot crops that have diseases, weeds, and even flooding to try to save them while there is still time.
Poaching is a big problem. Drones can serve as a deterrent to poachers as they have been proven to do so. Drones can also be used to monitor wildlife without spooking them and provide them the necessary protection.
Humanitarian aid is probably one of the greatest uses we can have for drones. They can be used for help in disaster response measuring the aftermath of devastation. The American Red Cross has mentioned that they intend to start testing drone use to assess damage after natural disasters. This can give a huge advantage to response teams and aid workers to foresee what they might be coming into and where efforts needs to focused.
It is estimated that between 1.3 and 2.1 billion people don’t have access to essential medicines. Most of these people often live in hard to reach places. Using drones, supplies can be delivered to these people.
How exactly would this work?
The company Zipline is a drone maker out of California. In February they signed a deal with the government of Rwanda to shuttle supplies to remote areas. This is the world’s first commercial drone delivery service. What exactly will they be delivering? Blood.
Blood loss is one of the reasons maternal death rates are much higher in poor countries. In Rwanda it is the leading cause of death for pregnant women. With this drone access and deliveries, the drones drop blood parcels on parachutes outside of remote health centers. Health workers can request a blood drop via text message, and it arrives about 30 minutes.
Currently, Zipline makes anywhere from 50 to 150 deliveries per day to 21 clinics in the western half of the country.
There are also efforts to provide the transfer of HIV tests to and from rural parts of Malawi.
The controversy around drones is understandable. They are a relatively new technology to the public and the potential for them to be used for harm is out there. With laws and regulations in place and safety measures accounted for, drones provide us with ample opportunity to reach our world for the greater good.