27. May, 2016

Drones: a toy or a threath?

Aerial drones are invading the market; varying from the low priced Phantom 4 to more expensive professional models.  Most popular is the camera carrying quadcopter: a remotely controlled mini helicopter that is lifted and propelled by four rotors. Most aerial drones now feature a Follow Me mode, in which case the drone will   fly along above you and shoot video as you cycle, run or otherwise move about. The drone is not only a clever gadget and toy, but  also an efficient  strategic weapon, called  combat drone,  used by the military to eliminate an enemy without any personal physical risk. Not a very brave way to fight a war, in my personal view. 

Underwater drones. A new gizmo for the  the near future, is the  iBubble. It's a submersible drone that tracks scuba divers as they swim underwater, using techniques as echolocation and object recognition. As with aerial drones, users will be able to instruct it to simply move along with them, The iBubble is equipped with an optical dome behind which a  GoPro can be mounted. http://www.gizmag.com/ibubble-underwater-drone/42921/

Drones have a useful  side: they can assist in rescuing or protecting animals and humans  in danger. In Australia beach watchers are now  using drones to keep an eye on swimmers getting in trouble in the surf, or to warn them when the sharkies are coming in too close for comfort. But the same pictures or video clips can also be used to stir up the 'Jaws effect': the sensation and danger side of sharks.  In  national parks of Africa and India drones help to  save  wild animals like elephants and rhinos in areas were poachers are active. 

http://phys.org/news/2013-08-poachers-rare-rhinos-india-drones.html

Private use of drones can easily get out of hand and then become a nuisance or even a safety risk. Private and professional  pilots fear collisions with drones entering  airspace near an airfield. A more principal  argument is  that drones invade ‘our’ air space. The surge in drone use is  raising  not only safety but also privacy concerns—and thorny legal questions—about a slice of  what sky officials have largely disregarded.