Drones or UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are being employed in ever increasing areas of life. It seems barely a week goes by without new uses for drones being imagined and realised. So here is our list. If you can think of any we’ve missed then please add a comment at the foot of this page.
If there’s one thing most people consider when they think of uses for drones it is aerial photography. It’s a huge field with lots of spin-offs and niche areas. It’s the basis of the whole civil UAV industry and the entry point for most, if not all, drone pilots. Drone aerial photography and filming is an industry and a service in itself.
Film and TV Footage
Film and TV companies were very quick to take advantage of the burgeoning drone technology. They tend to have larger budgets for new equipment and the latest gadgets. The footage and shots achievable from hexacopters and octocopters carrying broadcast grade cameras have proved they justify the investment.
Perhaps you can remember that most aerial shots on TV dramas and documentaries were either created using a camera boom or captured from the helicopter. Now, drone footage is commonplace and while booms and helicopters still have their uses the new aerial footage has added much to these programs.
There was a time when Google Earth and Google Maps was the state of the art but there is so much more to do with mapping the planet’s surface. Drones designed and equipped for mapping and programmed to fly in grid patterns are slowly building up a very detailed picture of our home planet.
Archaeological Digs & Research
It’s long been known that aerial photos can reveal clues about the history hidden in the landscape. Some sites are only fully appreciated from the air. You only have to think of the Nazca plains in Peru. One of the many uses for drones is in the field of archaeological research.
Time, weather, and budget can prohibit the use of manned aircraft at a site but a quick scan of the area from 300 feet using a small drone can be like switching on a light. Suddenly all is revealed and made clear.
Filming Marine Wildlife
No doubt you’ve seen in the press or on social media those spectacular shots of pods of whales or a mother and calf, shot from a few hundred feet. It has given us a view that was denied to most of us a few years ago.
Apart from the spectacle there are all kinds of research advantages enabled by the use of drones at sea. Drones can be launched from the shore but the real benefits are out on the open ocean.
However, drone pilots at sea need to have particularly good handling and navigation skills. There are few options for emergency landings and even if you’ve flown the UAV back to base you may have to land it on a moving vessel. Some have learned the hard way that this is not easy and watched as their precious drone lands not safely on deck but in the water.
Continued in the video. Watch the video for the full list!
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