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22 Ways Drones Will Change Our World – for DIY community feedback/ideas


We have listed 22 Friendly Drones applications.

We welcome application ideas/feedback and aim to include in updates to this article.

The purpose of this article is to capture real available kit to the 22 apps and include other applications being used today by DIY members.


FlightBots (James)

22 Ways Drones Will Change Our World

Friendly drones are innovative, cutting edge and afforded with life changing technology.

Just to give you an idea of how they can be of assistance to us, we have listed 22 of their most compelling applications:

1. News Gathering.

Imagine photo-journalists being able to capture bird’s-eye views of breaking news such as national elections, disaster zones and war zones. Aerial coverage of events like these are set to revolutionise news gathering. Example: UK company Aerialvue

2. Energy Conservation.

Drones fitted with infrared sensors are able to scan buildings to detect heat losses. The reported data can then be used to implement energy and money saving building enhancements.

3. Protecting Endangered Wildlife.

Poaching of endangered wildlife such as rhinos and tigers is a major concern. Park Rangers around the world have already begun to successfully use drones to help monitor wildlife habitats. This is proving to be effective at deterring poachers.

4. Aerial Photography.

This is already a booming sector. We all love to see aerial images, and many companies are willing to pay generously for the privilege of having aerial footage of their products and buildings. Aerial photography is also the number one reason why people buy their first drone. It is a great hobby! Example: Award-Winning Aerial Photographer Brent Foster

5. Search and Rescue Assistance.

A drone really could save your life. Search and Rescue teams around the globe are starting to discover how helpful drones can be. Search and rescue times can be massively reduced, and difficult ground conditions can be circumvented. Example: A pioneering search and rescue drone trial by research staff at the  University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)

6. Wildfire Mapping.

Forest fires can be catastrophic. Anything that can help reduce their spread is sure to be readily accepted. Drones fit this category. They are able to fly over wildfires and provide real-time mapping that can allow firefighters to make critical decisions.

7. Providing Internet Access.

Google and Facebook are already moving into this space. Using giant solar-powered drones it appears that in the near future isolated areas will have high-speed internet coverage for the first time. A very promising technology. Example: Solar drone Titan Aerospace Solara 50

8. Relieving Traffic Congestion.

Roads in towns and cities become more crowded and perilous every day. Picture a team of lightweight camera drones that fly high above the congested areas at peak times and relay what they see back to traffic controllers. Faster flowing and safer roads are the likely outcome.

9. Humanitarian Assistance in Disaster Zones.

We’ve all seen how nature can suddenly wreak havoc on a towns, villages and cities. Tsunamis, storms and earthquakes are often devastating and deadly. Drones could be used to fly into the affected areas to provide mapping, to deliver food and aid, and to go where roads may no longer exist. Example: company Matternet

10. Measuring Environmental Pollutants.

Are you really sure what toxins and fumes factories, farms and other industrial sites are releasing into the atmosphere? Drones are designed to measure environmental pollutants could tell you exactly this information. They could also help ensure that companies are not breaching environmental regulations.

11. Tracking Hurricanes and Tropical Storms.

To be forewarned of when and where a storm or hurricane is likely to hit can be a major advantage. Buildings can be protected and people moved out of harm’s way. Unmanned aerial vehicles can fly safely near and above storms to provide vital tracking and monitoring. Example: NASA ERAST Program on Wikipedia

12. Air Delivery.

Yes, Amazon and Jeff Bezos have made delivery by drones a very well known and highly-anticipated development. But it not just Amazon who want to fly things to you. Other companies already experimenting with this new technology include Dominos and DHL. Expect many more. Example: Amazon Prime Air

13. Geophysical Surveys for Oil, Gas and Minerals.

These commodities are becoming increasingly harder to find. Drones make it cheaper and easier for exploration companies to assess suitable areas for test drilling.

14. Aerial Footage in Filmmaking.

What used to be the domain of big-budget Hollywood blockbusters is now within range of even the smallest film production. Drones are rapidly replacing manned planes and helicopters to provide cheap, safe and stunning aerial footage. 

15. Livestock Monitoring.

Farmers often leave their livestock unattended for long periods of time. Animals can be stolen, injured or lost without warning. A video drone can provide constant monitoring of livestock, and even track wandering animals.

16. Pipeline Security.

Much of the world’s oil and gas is located in politically unstable and often dangerous regions. Attacks on pipelines are common. Drones can help monitor pipelines and help deter attackers. They can also be used to pinpoint maintenance issues.

17. Delivering Medical Supplies to Hard-to-Reach Areas.

There are many places in the world where roads are either in disrepair or don’t exist at all. People living in remote villages are often cut-off from access to emergency medical care. Drones could prove to be lifesavers. They are able to fly essential medical aid direct to communities who otherwise would be unreachable by land.

18. Event Coverage.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics gave us a glimpse into the near future. Video drones were skillfully deployed to capture unique and breathtaking footage of various Olympic events. Other sporting and cultural events are also likely to soon see the benefits of drones and aerial photography. The viewer is the real winner.

19. Urban Planning.

Property developers and planning approvers have a new tool. Drones can take detailed images, surveys and maps of prospective sites. Significant time and effort can be saved by capturing aerial imagery of areas marked for development.

20. Exploring the Undersea World.

Humans are restricted in the depth they can travel in the seas and oceans. Drones are not. Detailed 3D imaging of the ocean depths for monitoring and research are possible with undersea drones. Sea-life can also be safely studied with drones, as in the recent example of Great White Sharks being filmed by scientists off the western coast of Mexico

21. Surveying and Spraying of Crops.

Farmers and drones are already proving to be a winning combination. Using drones over their agricultural land, farmers are able to assess the condition and development of their crops. They can also use the drones for safe and cost-saving crop spraying.

22. Selling Homes.

An aerial video of a home can be both beautiful and a very effective sales tool. The last few years have seen Real Estate agents begin to utilise the power of this new perspective. Buyers love it too, as they can see clearly what is on offer.

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DroneTrack.org hobby drone usage 2014/08/12

I created dronetrack to help a few pilots track their drones, had no idea thousands of people would start using it!

Here's a rough map showing worldwide usage:My next task is integrating APM remote control via GSM Mobile phone, which is currently going well. It gives the pilot unlimited control range (technically worldwide over GSM), extra sensor data from the mobile phone, as well as a fallback remote control, alarm, and of course tracking.

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T100 Thruster Kickstarter is Live + SolarSurfer Progress

Hello all,

First of all, we wanted to remind everyone that the BlueRobotics T100 Thruster Kickstarter is live starting at 8:30am Pacific time today! The T100 is the first underwater thruster that is affordable for hobbyist projects. We've put tons of work into it and we hope that you will consider backing us! There are many ways it can be used on drone/APM/Pixhawk projects. Check out the ArduBoat User Group for ideas.

You can back the Kickstarter here.

Speaking of APM-based marine robotics projects, we've made some significant progress on our SolarSurfer vehicle. The SolarSurfer is a T100 propelled autonomous robot that is powered by a solar panel and navigated by an APM2.6. We are working towards a non-stop trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

Last week we completed a 24 hour test in the open ocean. The SolarSurfer was launched from a boat off the coast of Los Angeles and autonomously navigated under solar power until the sun went down. At night, the robot drifts with the current. The electronics and satellite link stay active so that we can track it's movement.

The following morning it "woke-up" and continued on its way. We intercepted it with the boat in the middle of the day. Successful test.

Here's an image from the test. We'll have a map of the GPS track posted on our website in the next few days.

Thanks and remember to check out the Kickstarter campaign!

- Rusty, Joe, and Josh from BlueRobotics

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Microsoft Research Brings Kinect-Style Depth Perception to Ordinary Cameras http://

Among Microsoft Research's contributions to SIGGRAPH 2014, a machine learning technique for estimating absolute, per-pixel depth using any conventional monocular 2D camera, with minor hardware modifications. Our approach targets close-range human capture and interaction where dense 3D estimation of hands and faces is desired. We use hybrid classification-regression forests to learn how to map from near infrared intensity images to absolute, metric depth in real-time. We demonstrate a variety of humancomputer interaction and capture scenarios. Experiments show an accuracy that outperforms a conventional light fall-off baseline, and is comparable to high-quality consumer depth cameras, but with a dramatically reduced cost, power consumption, and form-factor.

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"TripAdvisor" for UAV/Drone Travel

The Humanitarian UAV Network (UAViators) promotes the safe and responsible use of UAVs in humanitarian settings. As noted in the network's Code of Conduct, knowing national and local UAV laws is an important aspect flying UAVs in a safe and responsible manner. To this end, we have just launched a "TripAdvisor" for UAV/drone travel in the form of this wiki.

The Wiki is a country directory for UAV pilots to share their travel and flying experiences around the world, such as going through customs and how to obtain permits for flying, for example. The Wiki also includes information on national and local laws when available. We would like this to be a community-driven effort, which is why we decided to use a Wiki. In sum, we'd like to crowdsource the content for this Wiki. Our mission is make it the most popular and useful resource on the web for UAV pilots. You can help by adding your experience and knowledge directly to the Wiki. Thank you!

See Also:

Crisis Map of UAV Videos for Disaster Response [link] Humanitarians in the Sky: Using UAVs for Disaster Response [link] Humanitarian UAV Missions During Balkan Floods [link] UAVs, Community Mapping & Disaster Risk Reduction in Haiti [link] Humanitarian UAV Network: Strategy for 2014-2015 [link] 

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