Prepare for take-off

NB Team

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s actually a mix of both. Joe explains what you need to know about drones.

It’s 2021, you’re hungry. That pizza should have arrived 10 minutes ago. An iPhone 9S buzzes on the table. You look out of the window to see a Full House, with extra pepperoni, drop into the front garden. Just a pipe dream? Only time will tell how prevalent drones could become over the next five years. However, there’s no doubt 2015 was the year that they captured the world’s attention.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expects one million drones to be bought by Xmas shoppers in America alone. Meanwhile, investment in non-military drone technology between Jan-May 2015 surpassed the previous five years combined.

If 2015 is the year when the world sat up and took notice, 2016 may be the year when drones, quite literally, take off.

Delivery is just one of the hundreds of proposed uses for drones. Accordingly, there are countless media rumours and reports appearing every few days. Subsequently, this makes it tough to know where to begin.

With that in mind, here are five must-know stories for any drone aficionado!

  • Amazon is leading the charge in terms of a viable delivery service. However, regulations are proving tough to navigate. The success of Amazon Prime Air (NSF-those who don’t like Clarkson) could depend on the US government agreeing to reserve airspace between 200ft and 400ft specifically for drone flights
  • Google believes its Project Wing drones will rival Amazon and start delivering goods to homes by 2017. Moreover, the tech giant is also patenting technology that would enable drones to provide emergency medical services to remote locations and disaster areas
  • Taking a different approach, Facebook plans to use semi-autonomous Aquila drones – each the size of a 737 – to connect the far reaches of the planet. Flying at months at a time, these solar-powered planes will circle 17 miles above the earth and provide internet to large rural areas.
  • Microsoft’s Project Premonition proposes using drones to catch mosquitoes for testing – previously an incredibly laborious task. This innovative approach could dramatically improve the detection and prevention of mosquito-borne diseases, saving lives in the process
  • Intel recently demonstrated what’s capable in terms of drone synchronisation and control. All while setting a world record for the Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously. Who needs fireworks!