Society has a love/hate relationship with drones—those little flying robots from our imaginations. We are appalled that the little creepers can potentially invade our privacy or crash into our heads, but we are amazed that a predicted technology is finally here to allow the average person to see the world from a new perspective.
Back to the Future: Part II showed us a drone news camera, and we have arrived at the future, more or less. Every day in the news, you can find some story about drones. You may have recently seen the video of a cliff eroding into the sea, as the edge creeped perilously close to coastline apartments. A quick news search about drones reveals such stories about drones as:
As drones buzz their way into our everyday lives, we all have to navigate their use in the way we do every new technology. We address concerns while adapting to its uses and maximizing benefits. Once thought of as military tool or hobbyist’s toy, drones now have real commercial value. They quickly became a great way to capture video to be used for streaming, production, and more. They expand the reach of audiovisual capabilities in a variety of fields.
For businesses, the opportunities seem plentiful. In addition to simple video, here is a sampling of some ways people are using drones commercially: filmmaking, music broadcasting, drone racing, property inspections, agricultural surveys, performance special effects, and product and food delivery—to homes and even within restaurants as robotic waiters.
Of course, with opportunity comes responsibility. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulates the use of drones, including restricting flights over crowded venues for reasons of safety and even national security. Restrictions, licensing, registration, and changing regulations depend on the size of the drone, where it’s flown, whether it’s for commercial use (you’ll want to check the FAA’s definition of this), and more.
It is exciting to see the imaginative business ideas coming from this technology, and we are only at the beginning of seeing where unmanned aircraft will take us.