What was relegated to the world of pure science fiction twenty years ago is today a part of our daily lives. Remote-controlled drones have evolved in a short time from government projects to something kids look for under the Christmas tree, and we’ve only just begun.
Our potential uses for drones are endless. The military was one of the first places we saw drones widely used, but today they are popular as toys and tools, even as a means of delivery for Amazon.com, where the flying robots are set to become the primary means of delivery in a few years. So what does the future hold?
On the President’s Secret Service
Of note recently is the implementation of drones as part of President Trump’s personal security detail. Testing is already underway at a golf course, no less, to determine whether the addition of an airborne camera mounted on a drone could be helpful in protecting the president from potential attack.
The drone will hover in the president’s general vicinity at an altitude of roughly 300 to 400 feet, presumably playing a perimeter reconnaissance role to inform Secret Service team members of anyone approaching the president.
Currently, this type of job can only be carried out by a helicopter or airplane, which would be too intrusive for small events and also harder to avoid than a drone.
Extreme Drone Photography
Have you ever wondered how they get those close-up shots of snowboarders and other extreme athletes pulling stunts in remote corners of the world? Helicopters used to be the only answer — and an expensive one at that. With the rise of camera-equipped drones that is all changing.
Today, photographers can use advanced tracking software to capture images and videos previously inconceivable using drones. Some systems allow an athlete to wear a homing beacon and have the drone follow at a close distance, recording their entire path. Other arrangements see the drone use a super wide-angle or even 360-degree camera that allows the athlete to move around the drone and remain in frame the whole time.
Professional cinematographers are even beginning to take advantage of drones. Specialized film crews with experience operating these flying cameras played a role in some of the most recognizable shots used in The Wolf of Wall Street, Skyfall and Jurassic World. Expect to see Hollywood using drones more frequently in coming years.
What better data collection tool could a marketer have than an eye-in-the-sky that can traverse an entire trade show floor in seconds? Drones provide exactly that capability, and you can expect to see them take a lead role in the business of marketing very soon.
If you’re imagining a drone pulling a banner like a modern-day skywriter, well you’re right, that’s happening, but that’s not all you can expect. Video is a hugely effective marketing medium today, with 90% of shoppers reporting that they find videos helpful in making buying decisions. Drones can capture video of your exciting marketing events in real-time, from unique perspectives, for much less than a film crew.
Want to deliver your special guests a meal on a silver platter? Why not bring it in at 25mph courtesy of a drone? Of course, you’ll want to be certain to use some appropriate packaging so the presentation isn’t ruined.
Drones Get the Scoop
Embedded journalism is risky business. It might send a powerful message to see someone you recognize in the field sporting a bulletproof vest, but drones can get footage no reporter should ever be asked to risk their life for.
Names like CNN and the New York Times are already leading the transition into drone usage to capture stories. Unlike people, drones can be brought into conflict zones virtually undetected. They can remain in place waiting for a shot for hours on end and can transmit footage wirelessly, possibly even in real-time.
Imagine a high-speed chase, the sound of rotor blades whooping overhead as the camera follows the speeding car. Except now there won’t be any rotor noise, and you’ll probably be able to get much closer to the car because the footage will be coming from a drone.
Facebook’s Aquila drone is intended to provide high-speed wireless internet to corners of the globe that don’t currently have it. While the prototype is still in development, Mark Zuckerberg states that the plan is to have a whole fleet of these drones able to provide redundancy for multiple points on the globe. Take that, Google Fiber.
The possibilities are quite limitless, particularly when you consider that cameras and weapons are about the only things we’ve managed to mount aboard drones thus far. A larger, stronger drone that can lift things could be another revolutionary step — they’re already working on one that will bring you pizza.
So to all you high school kids out there, don’t get lazy thinking you’ve got that delivery job locked down. On the plus side, at least pizza drones don’t require tips.