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The Evolution of the Drone

Drones have become commonplace. It’s not unusual to see a hobbyist flying one in a park or a pro using a drone on a construction site.  First used in World War I, drones have roots in the military and have often been associated with warfare. Changes over the years have made drones more robust and versatile. At Key West Video, we’re familiar with the use of drones in television and film production, but now we want to explore some of the more unusual uses for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).


The Evolution of the Drone
California vineyards benefit from drone usage

Drones have been used in Japan’s agriculture industry for about three decades. It’s estimated that over thirty percent of the rice consumed in Japanese homes was sprayed or otherwise tended to by UAV. The UAV contribution translates to an eighty percent work reduction over traditional methods. Back in North America, drones are being used in California for wine production.

Wildlife Champion

The Evolution of the Drone
Drones helped the endangered California condor

Wildlife advocates and scientists use drones to track dangerous, elusive or remote animals in the wild for conservation purposes. This UAV application doesn’t interfere with the animal population—it’s merely a tool of observation. However, they’ve taken a more active role in teaching the California condor how to find food. When young condors were being reintroduced to the Baja area, they had no role models to demonstrate scavenger behavior. Enter a circling drone, acting as a marker for tasty tidbits below.

Medical  Efforts & Public Safety

The Evolution of the Drone
Zipline delivers blood by drone in Rwanda

UAV can help protect us in a variety of ways and are sometimes even recognized for their good work. Medicine and blood are delivered quickly to patients living in remote areas. After a natural disaster, drones can look for survivors in areas not easily accessed by humans. Thermal sensors help locate people who are hidden, have fallen or are unconscious. Even lifeguards are getting some help from drones. A birds-eye view can watch for sharks near swimmers or drop a flotation device to rescue someone in trouble.

Special Farewell

One company in Ohio has a unique approach to looking back on one’s life. Aerial Anthropology used their Patient Outreach Program to develop the  Flight to Remember Foundation. Working with the families of people who are too sick to travel, UAV are used to virtually transport a patient to a place that holds meaning for them. The video is streamed on YouTube and watched in real time. The goal is to give the terminally ill a chance to relive a happy memory and share that experience with family and friends.

But Wait—There’s More!

The list of UAV applications is extensive. Here are a few more examples of how drones are being used beyond the traditional applications.

  • UAV racing as an E-sport? The Drone Racing League certainly thinks so!
  • Drone-powered projection technology. Now, that’s a light show!
  • Real estate agents love to promote property acreage with aerial footage
  • Weather UAV can be sent into a storm to gather vital information
  • Law enforcement is complemented by flying security cameras that keep an eye on the population
  • Virtual journalism delivers news in real time without endangering a shooter or reporter. Those interested in this field can study at the Drone Journalism Lab, which is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
  • Construction benefits from a birds-eye view of a building site. Companies can track progress, conduct surveys, generate maps, make 3D models with millions of data points, calculate volume, plan road projects and more!
  • Package and food delivery is something we’d all love to see come to fruition. Who wouldn’t appreciate a drone delivery from Amazon Prime or Pizza Hut?

The Future of the Drone

UAV use will continue to evolve as the technology changes and adapts to all sorts of applications. We’ve been using aerial footage in our productions for years. If you’d like to find out how your video can fly high with a UAV, give us a call today for a free quote.

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