The Future of Drones

The Future of Drones & Their Uses

As reported to a great extent in the new media, drone technology has been put to use by the military in recent years. However, military usage only represents a fraction of what drones can do. Currently, the era of the drone is just getting underway, but the technology is catching on among the sectors of law enforcement, agriculture, commercial businesses and more.


What Can Drones Be Used For

Some people may hear rumors of the Big Brother factor and wonder why drone technology is something we would even want to explore. But the fact is that drones could be used by anyone to fly products through the air, gain photographs and film footage from impossible angles. Across various industries, these practices are already being put into place. However, questions on how drones are used today barely cover the topic of their full potential.

In the years ahead, drones will see increased adoption throughout the commercial and industrial sectors. Drones can be used to monitor parking lots, oversee factory operations, fertilize golf courses and aid with security and delivery.


Drones for Security and Law Enforcement

Drones could be a boon to law enforcement on numerous fronts. A drone can be sent virtually anywhere equipped with cameras, sensors and all kinds of tools, which will soon allow law enforcement to use the technology for the following purposes:

  • Inspect potentially dangerous buildings
  • Capture imagery of fleeing suspects and vehicles
  • Track the whereabouts of suspects
  • Subdue armed suspects
  • Identify vehicles in breach of traffic laws
  • Monitor restricted areas

drones-used-for-securitySince a drone can fly into high places, tight spots and other hard–to–reach areas, the technology can be used to help police determine whether the risk is even prudent. This way, police can cut down on the number of false leads and fruitless risks that often come with the territory of their work.

Thanks to their small size, drones can be sent into places and areas that are either too difficult or too dangerous for security, police and FBI search teams to enter. If a house or building is thought to harbor explosives or armed fugitives, a drone could be sent in to assess the situation with cameras. At some point in the future, advanced drones will likely be able to subdue armed suspects before officers close in. Likewise, drones could soon be used to defuse timed explosives.

As the technology improves, high–tech miniature search drones will be inconspicuous and quiet enough to enter the quarters of a kidnapper without detection. This will allow search teams to track an abductees’ whereabouts and map out the safest route of access.

Drones can also be used to help with law enforcement along roads and highways. When it comes to catching suspects in getaway vehicles, a drone could be sent to gather the license plate number and track the suspect’s route. Drones can even help with traffic safety by flying overhead to detect speeding drivers. This would make it easier for patrol departments to fine drivers that break speed limits, ignore stop signs and run red lights.

Drones are already supplementing some of the tasks that have traditionally only been handled by security officers. On secure premises or strict no–trespassing zones, a drone can be used to oversee the area 24/7 with a far greater scope and coverage than live guards alone. Best of all, drones aren’t limited by fatigue, hunger or faulty attention spans.

Soon enough, drones could be employed to stop art thefts and banks heists. Drones can be activated to fly overhead throughout the halls and rooms of art galleries. Whereas pro–burglars have long known of ways to deactivate stationary security equipment — alarms, surveillance cameras, detection beams — no burglar will be able to stop a swarm of drones 20 feet overhead that are each equipped with infrared cameras.

At the scene of emergencies, drones will allow first responders to tend to victims with greater speed. If disaster strikes in a traffic–congested area, first aid kits can be set to the scene via drones to better equip paramedics for the situation at hand.


Weather Monitoring with Drones

Drones can be extremely good for the field of weather monitoring. Because drones can fly into areas that are too dangerous for manned weather crews, drone technology makes it possible to collect weather information from far-off locations that you wouldn’t want to visit in a helicopter.

There’s an old saying that weather reporting is the only profession in which you can be wrong most of the time and yet still keep your job. As drone technology improves the forecasting industry, meteorologists are likelier to make accurate predictions on a more frequent basis.


Until recently, weather forecasters have had to rely on satellites to track weather patterns across the parts of the world that are far removed from land and civilization. Once drone technology reaches its full potential, meteorologists will be able to send drones out over the polar regions and above the deep seas. This will make it easier and less costly to gather data on cloud formations, wind patterns and storm trajectories.


Drones and Agriculture Applications

Drones can make it a lot easier for agriculturalists to cultivate healthy crops. When you can send a drone to fly over acres of crops, you gain a tremendous advantage in the maintenance and fertilization of fruits, vegetables and grains. Instead of having to go over each row of crops with a manual fertilizer, the drone can fly overhead to do the job for you.

Drones can also help the farming industry save money. With a camera drone, you can capture detailed images of row upon row of each crop. If a problem starts to spread along one end of a farming range — be it weeds, worms, bugs or spoilage — the problem can be isolated and contained before an entire crop goes to waste.

Drones also make it easier to protect crops from rodents and trespassers. If a farming area has had problems with vandalism, a drone can be sent across the acreage as a monitoring tool. Whether the trespassers strike in the light of day or dead of night, a drone could capture the suspect’s photos and even give off warning signals to leave the acreage or face arrest.

As drones become more advanced, the technology could even be used to distribute seeds and rake the fields along vast stretches of farming land. In short, drones could ultimately replace some of the manual aspects of farming.


Search and Rescue Drones

Drones will make it easier to find lost valuables, as well as missing pets and people. If a priceless necklace or ring is reported lost in a field, a drone with an infrared tracking camera can be sent to scan the area where the item was last seen to find and return said item to its owner.

Drones could also be used to solve mysteries of the rocky mountains and deep seas. As the technology improves, sonar-equipped drones could be flown over the deep sea to uncover lost ships and treasures. Likewise, drones could be sent to glacial areas to find missing mountain climbers and shipwrecked arctic explorers.

Drones could ultimately be used to perform rescues that would otherwise be impossible. If a sailor is stranded at sea, yet able to send a wireless signal to land, a drone could be sent to spot the sailor’s exact coordinates, which would allow a rescue ship or aircraft to arrive faster. A drone could even be used to send out holdover amenities in such scenarios.


In some cases, a drone could be used to physically rescue people and animals from danger. If a cat climbs up a high tree, for instance, a drone could be flown up into the tree to grab the cat and bring it back down.

On the high floor of a burning apartment building, a drone could be sent through the window of a trapped tenant to bring the person down to street level. If a child slips and rolls down a steep pit or gets stuck on a narrow ledge, a drone could be sent to bring the child back to safety.


Wildlife Preservation with Drones

Poaching is the biggest threat to the endangered species of the world. Drone technology can help conservationists protect wildlife without putting themselves at risk. On several continents, some of the world’s most beloved species are critically endangered. Drones could ultimately be used to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the slaughter of scarce pachyderm and big cat populations.

In Africa, elephant and rhinoceros populations are critically endangered. In China, the same holds true for the panda. Meanwhile, tiger populations have dropped to dangerously low levels across India and Indochina. Thus far, human conservation efforts have failed to reverse the trend.

Even though laws have been passed between nations to ban the poaching of these beloved animals, the black markets for ivory and rhino horns persists. Select portions of Africa have been designated for natural park space, where animals are supposed to be able to roam safely and freely in their natural habitat. Yet the massacre of elephants, rhinos and big cats continues.

In the near future, conservationists will be able to use high–powered drones to detect, identify, frighten off and possibly subdue poachers. Armed with infrared cameras, drones can be used to spot armed night poachers.

Drones can also be used to gain footage of animals in their natural habitat. This will be especially useful for the study of species that are dangerous for humans to approach. Drones can also aid in the discovery of species not yet known to science.


Drones for Film and Photography

Drones could revolutionize the film industry and give photographers access to vantage points never before seen. A camera–equipped drone can film or photograph a subject from virtually any angle, and this opens up a vast new range of potential for movie makers and photographers. The benefits of drone technology will also improve the quality of news and documentary footage.

Until recently, news crews have needed to board helicopters to gain aerial footage of locations and events. The sometimes dangerous option of helicopters can be cumbersome, noisy and ultimately confining, since a helicopter can only assume proximity from a limited number of positions and vantage points.


For filmmakers, footage from overhead is usually gained from camera crews in bucket trucks, or from cameras attached to suspension cables. In terms of footage variety and perspective, both options are limited without the costly practice of multiple trucks, cables and reshoots. The problem is most difficult and costly with action films, in which overhead views of explosions and chase scenes are crucial.

Over the next decade, camera-equipped drones will allow news crews to get closer and better live footage of events in the making. Drones will also facilitate a filmmaking process that is less costly, less time–consuming and far superior in quality.


Drones for Delivery

Drones are also set to help out the commercial business sector. For department stores, drones could replace UPS as the means to deliver small items to customers who live near branch locations and warehouses. For restaurants, drones could ultimately replace delivery drivers.

In 2013, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos discussed plans to launch a drone that would serve as a home–delivery vehicle for items purchased from the online marketplace. Soon thereafter, Facebook and Google began toying with similar concepts. However, the ultimate revolution in-home delivery will come as individual businesses master the use of drones.

Drone technology will eventually make it possible for shops and department stores to deliver items to customers on the same day that an order is received. A customer will be able to browse any shopping app and hit the “purchase” button without leaving home. Within minutes, that very order will be loaded onto a drone and flown off to the customer.

Over time, drones will allow businesses to save money on shipping and pass those savings on to customers. Businesses will also gain more customers, most of whom will be delighted by the new and faster shipping option. Drones will also make it possible to deliver items faster because there won’t be any traffic congestion between points A and B.


The Future of Drones


Drone technology has improved exponentially over the past decade, to the point where capabilities that would have once only existed in sci-fi movies are now becoming a reality. Already, the technology is entering its sixth or seventh generation, having already evolved beyond the basic stages of progress.

For now, the drone is a remote–operated piece of technology that can fly about 500 feet off the ground, carry up to 10 lbs. of weight and remain in flight for up to 25 minutes at a time. The next step in the evolution of drone technology is the smart drone, which will have the ability self-monitor and activate functions automatically on an as-needed basis.

For more than 60 years, CitiGlobal has been the gold standard in private security. Contact CitiGlobal for drone surveillance security services.

Page Updated March 9, 2018

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