The advent of the drone has brought us to new heights in a variety of ways. From the early 1900s to now, the changes in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones has been brought to us mainly through military technologists and engineers – as is the case with much technology.
Even though drones were in existence prior – it was in 1915 when the US military created an “aerial torpedo”. Essentially a cruise missile, they attached weaponry to small biplanes such as the Kettering Bug as a kamikaze drone. However, the war ended before it could be brought into use.
Travelling forward to 1939, the first military drone, Radiophone OQ-2 was created by Reginald Denny. At 8’ 8” in length with a wingspan of 12’ 3” and weighing in at 105 lbs., this was the huge big brother of today’s drone.
In an aside – Marilyn Munroe worked in a California plant assembling these drones during the war.
Lots of changes took place over the following years bringing us to a joint project between Israel and the US military in 1986 when the RQ2 Pioneer UAV was brought to fruition. This was a medium-sized reconnaissance drone used by the US Navy.
HISTORICAL MOMENT FOR THE DRONE
It was in 1994 that drones were counted on in a very important historical play with the American military.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator; a bigger, steadier and quieter drone was used in Iraq and Afghanistan in the hunt for Bin Laden. At a cost of 40 million per drone, 1 pilot, 2 sensor operators and a full team of 55 people, it was a formidable weapon.
The MQ-1 Predator had a top-mounted cameral giving a 360-degree view with real-time information. It could fly 25,000 feet up for a 454-mile range at 135 mph! In 2001 the Predator delivered its first airstrike using Hellfire Missiles.
THE DRONES OF TODAY
Finally – moving on towards the drones of today. Drones became a vital part of research and safety from 2006 onward. This was the inception of drones being used to inspect pipelines, search for disaster survivors, herd management tools and such.
The wealthy hobbyists soon wanted in on the action – yet so did the toy industry. By 2017 $2.4 Billion dollars were spent on hobby drones out of a $6 Billion dollar market.
DRONES IN INDUSTRY
Today’s drones are used by amateur and professional photographers to capture high-quality video. They’ve actually become an extension of our smartphones.
Used by mining, agriculture, construction, media and telecommunications as well as ongoing military applications – the drone is here to stay.
Some of the more up and coming uses are being tested even as we do our research.
A SUCCESS IN HEALTH CARE
The drone uses in health care have been quite incredible. They’re used to deliver blood products from hospital to hospital as well as supplies to remote destinations. Also being used in trials as delivery of emergency services, data collection for fire, volcanic action and power plant stability, they’ve become a necessary tool.
THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
This year Sony has introduced a high-end Pro/Hobby drone – the Airpeak S1. This is the world’s smallest drone that can be equipped with full-sized cameras. It flies at extremely high speeds yet is very stable in the wind. With increased safety features like obstacle detection, it flies at 55 mph, carrying cameras installed in 5 positions, capturing a 260-degree view. The operator can even prepare flight plans in advance as well as specify the gimbal orientation.
However, the $9,000.00 cost is pretty steep for the average hobbyist.
We’ve been told that drone deliveries will increase by 19% per year, mainly through Amazon deliveries. Imagine!
AN INTERESTING ASIDE
An interesting aside – drones are being taught to listen for human screams for disaster emergency services, and a new “cocobot” has been designed to harvest coconuts in India. Maybe most exciting are the plans of the New York startup company, Kelekona to deliver on the promise of a 40 passenger shuttle drone or Air Taxi, for use between Manhattan and the Hamptons.
OUR SPONSOR – JN ROOFING
The Advent of the Drone has been brought to you by JN Roofing – Your Roofing Experts in Barrie. Take a moment and watch our drone video of the JN Roofing crews hard at it!
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Mike Fennell