A Drone is the colloquial term for a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is an aircraft piloted by remote control or onboard computers. (As such, a drone was the first autonomous device.) Drones are becoming the ‘flying’ companions to robots.
Originally intended for military purposes, drones are now used for wide-ranging applications in commerce, science, recreation, agriculture, policing, peacekeeping, and surveillance. Examples of use include transportation of goods (including home delivery), surveillance of remote or dangerous locations (such as pipelines or disaster management), flying taxis, and aerial photography (think real estate marketing). Domino’s claimed the world’s first drone pizza delivery in November 2016 in New Zealand. Current limitations on the expansion of the use of drones are caused by government regulation, as drones are integrated into air traffic control.
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A brief overview of the development of drone technology usage (Drone – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)
Tiny drones replacing bees as pollinators (Drone/Bess – 2018-03 – TechRepublic)
Drone technologies could increase farmers’ productivity by 500 percent (Drone/Farming – 2018-02 – TechRepublic)
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A drone has been used to deliver a donor kidney for the first time (Medicine/Organ Delivery - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)
A custom-built drone with eight rotors to ensure stability and a special apparatus to control the environment, delivered a donor kidney to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center, ferrying it from a hospital about three miles away. The kidney was then successfully transplanted into a patient with renal failure. It’s the first time a drone has been used to drop off an organ for a transplant.
Food and medication from local Australian businesses to be delivered by drone (Retail/Courier - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)
Alphabet’s drone division, Wing, has launched its first public delivery service for about 100 homes in Canberra, Australia, processing orders for food and medication from 12 local businesses to be delivered by drone in minutes. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority granted regulatory approval after an 18-month trial involving 3,000 deliveries.
UPS has started using drones to deliver medical samples in the US (Transport/Courier - 2019-04 - MIT Technology Review)
UPS has started delivering medical samples, using drones built by Matternet, at the WakeMed hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. The drones can carry up to 5lbs pounds over <12.5 miles. This is the first revenue-generating drone delivery scheme to be approved by the FAA.
Flying robot scans shelves faster than clerks or ground robots (Retail - 2019-01 - ZDNet)
Pensa is a New York company that makes an autonomous mobile perception system to track inventory in stores. Pensa uses drones which are faster, quieter and less obtrusive than ground robots.