Are We Ready For The Rise Of The Drones?

Are you ready for a sky full of flying robots?

Drones are more than just war machines. From environmental research to wildlife conservation and anti-poaching, to search and rescue, drones are becoming recognized for a wide variety of uses beyond military applications that benefit our world.

In a business perspective, drones have the potential of saving businesses big money by doing the dull, dirty, or dangerous jobs much better than we humans do. They have already been deployed on the field for purposes such as industrial inspections and agriculture management. Furthermore, the possibilities drones provide for display, data analysis, and storage open up a world of possibilities for applications in business. Today, hundreds of thousands of developers and engineers around the world are contributing to drone technology and revolutionizing civilian applications. We are frequently updated with exciting news – from Amazon’s delivery drones to Nixie’s wearable selfie drones. It seems as if our imagination is the limit… or is it?

Different from defense applications, the development of drones being used in civilian settings has new restrictions. The first and foremost concern is safety. Even the most minimal accident could have devastating consequences in an urban environment. Factors such as weight, size, and stability of the drones would directly affect whether it is safe enough to be put on the civilian market. However, let us not forget yet another important factor – cost. Unlike the military, businesses usually have limited margins in their drone budgets. Engineers need to keep in mind that cost factor and find the perfect balance between consistent quality and cost.

In order to take the next step to deploy this technology into our everyday lives, we need regulations such as license programs, insurance policies, and operator trainings, etc. to ensure the quality and safety of automated vehicles.

What can we do to make this happen? To realize their fullest potential, we have to address the outstanding technological challenges of drones and the social barriers to this technology. Aside from being creative, we have to encourage authorities and decision makers to see the economic benefits of drones and support the growth of this game-changing industry.

Interested in learning more?

Join us at TEDxStanleyPark on May 23, 2015 at the Granville Island Stage with Dr. Homayoun Najjaran. Dr. Najjaran has extensively researched aerial, ground and underwater drones, as well as autonomous robotic systems. His work has enabled many studies that rely on robots for data collection. He is also the founder of the Advanced Control and Intelligent Systems Laboratory at the School of Engineering at UBC. Tickets are selling out fast, so get yours today at!


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