People always get excited about future technology, like robots. Or even better, “flying” robots, which science fiction movies for many years have given us, thanks to computer graphics or modeling. Not anymore! Enter the UAV, short for “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” Drone! Remotely controlled, we’ve seen them this past decade entering the public eye more frequently on the news with military applications such as surveillance and reconnaissance, combat, decoy use, or even as anti-terrorist targeting tools.
Now, thanks to advancements in wireless technology over the Internet or over Wi-Fi b/g/n-type networks, you can control or program UAV Drones wherever there’s a network connection. Smaller UAV Drones like the Parrot’s AR.Drone does just that by using the Parrots AR.Freeflight ® downloadable smartphone or tablet apps for iOS or Android mobile devices. For outdoor flight, the drone uses “Wi-Fi Pairing” connecting directly to the mobile device. The Parrot can do live video or video recording, and can be programmed on mission-directional flight plans using the “Director Mode ®” option. This is just one example how UAV Drones can easily work with regular devices like your smartphone or tablet.
The future for UAV Drone technology is a promising one. With mobile devices now beginning to outnumber desktops and laptops combined, every consumer can have the ability to safely and easily control or program UAV Drones. Thanks to the latest miniaturized integrated computer, video, and networking architecture, businesses cannot help but invest in future drone and mobile technology research advancement. What was once a corporate-driven society is now becoming a consumer-driven society with personal mobile connectivity and mobile devices that can benefit everyone at the forefront.
Commercial applications, such as delivery services and aerial video recording for businesses and consumers, are becoming more in demand. The FAA and government safety groups are working hard to keep up with the need for regulation. Police, Fire, and Academic Research departments continue to support the importance for this type of technology in their respective fields.
An important FAA concern is that smaller UAVs do not have air traffic controls put into place like the larger ones adhere to. Increased traffic for smaller UAVs could result in more frequent airplane traffic risks such as crossing airport flight paths. Software development continues to improve towards mitigating these risks by implementing better aerial remote controls into their programming, and improving on built-in avoidance systems into smaller UAV Drone designs.
On the positive side, more investors are supporting research and business application initiatives for UAVs of all sizes. Amazon, Facebook, and Google are serious about investing in this technology as the public continues to voice their positive response to it. It will be up to the FAA working closely with major manufactures such as Northrop Grumman, 3D Robotics, and many others to insure these issues are addressed in the coming months. As public interest continues to strongly increase, so will research and funding investments making our futuristic “flying robot” solutions a reality.