In the past two years, there has been a huge jump in the use of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) throughout the world. Have you thought what you could do with one of these to enhance your next engineering project?

Dear Colleagues,

In the past two years, there has been a huge jump in the use of drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) throughout the world. Have you thought what you could do with one of these to enhance your next engineering project?

The laws in various countries are still in a state of flux but you are likely to be illegal if you don’t have a license and you are using a drone in a commercial activity. But the situation is slowly become clearer with various countries such as the USA and Australia issuing rules to follow in commercial use of drones.

Generally Most Tasks
At present most companies are using drones for real estate photography and surveillance work (often illegally). The price of drones has rapidly dropped and you can get an affordable camera carrying one for $200 to $300.

Amazon has suggested that they will soon be using drones to deliver parcels. However, there are generally restrictions on the use of drones flying out of view of their operators. As well as flying over people.

Watch out for Security
There are some major problems developing with criminals using drones to break through prison security. Or simply checking your home out to find the best time and point at which to break in. It is always somewhat irritating to hear this. Another activity rapidly growing is in smuggling operations such as for drugs. All disconcerting to hear.

Inevitably, as a result of this, some companies have developed drone detection software which will report a drone in your vicinity (by sending you an SMS alert). You would still need to take action however.

Teaching and Training on Drones
A growing group of colleges and training outfits are offering drone training, maintenance and servicing as a career. 

Due to the number of sensors and huge amount of data gathered by drones, there are also opportunities developing in data analysis and thus training is being provided here – ranging from MOOCs to colleges.


Think of the Applications in Engineering
There are a huge number of opportunities in the use of drones in engineering ranging from surveying new building and project sites, inspection of overhead transmission and power lines, mapping, inspection of buildings and installations…as well as software to analyze the data….the list goes on. 

Think of something innovative you can do with this incredible opportunity based around what you do today. I am sure you will think of a huge number of opportunities to broaden your business and career.


Thanks to Carol Glennon of the IEEE for an interesting article on UAVs.


With all this rapidly changing technology, an interesting comment from Ralph Waldo Emerson: To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Yours in engineering learning,

Steve


Mackay’s Musings – 30th June’15  #571
125, 273 readers – www.idc-online.com/blogs/stevemackay