Drones – a background

Drones is hot technology as well as a political and social topic. But we have a lot to work out yet. Other form of transportation have been legislated for a long time and radio remote controlled planes and helicopters too. But Drones opens up a whole new set of issues not yet covered. The area is so new we don’t even have definitive definitions of what they are or what to call them. Aerial version are often referred to as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs.  Ground based versions are often called Robots.


The key difference we have now is that a Drone is capable of autonomous flight well beyond the range of local radio remote control and as GPS path tracking and batteries get better plus stability and flight dynamics control improves, Drones can be used of amazing things.


Here is a video showing one of the established uses for an Aerial Drone, videoing some spectacular location or event.


See The Insider’s Guide to Drone Videography for the full picture.


We have also all heard of them being used for remote assassinations. And also for search and rescue as well as spying on the neighbours and even pizza delivery is being considered.


Some already established uses of Drones are:


  • Remote surveillance
  • Exploration of the moon and other planets
  • Exploration of asteroids
  • Remotely controlled  weapons
  • Autonomous weapons
  • Video and Audio surveillance
  • Real Estate Videos
  • Inspection of pretty much anything
  • Remote Delivery
  • Motion Picture film sequences
  • just having fun


The list can go on. But for the rest of this post I’m going to focus on flying drones as this is the area creating the most controversy. Mostly because the legislation and social norms are falling well behind what technology can do now.


Drones – Some Recent News

This is more a collection of articles worth checking out that a huge exposition. Over time I’ll more specific posts. But these recent articles in IEEE Spectrum all got my attention.


Here is the Flyability Gimball Drone which has a unique feature, the cage protecting the propellers can rotate allowing it to run along walls, or explore ice caves.



Here’s how to win $1 Million in a search and rescue competition for Drones. Note, the sound is pretty loud on this clip so maybe turn down a little before hitting play.



And Lily, another famous Drone Startup, is shipping flying cameras that seem to have taken the pet video market by storm.


Drones deliver

Drones can be useful for remote delivery of goods where freight infrastructure doesn’t yet exist, such as Africa.


Protection from Drones

This has several implications. The major ones are privacy and safety. Drones can be used as weapons. And Drones can be used to spy on everything from neighbours to foreign military installations and governments.


So that is a glimpse at this fairly broad topic.


Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for nearly 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.