With our ever-changing technology, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our future will look nothing like the present. One such advancement set to revolutionize our workplaces, are Unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones). Drone Technology have become popular for both their professional applications and recreational purposes, but as they become more affordable and available, so do their potential dangers.
Drones are arguably the pinnacle of efficiency, never needing to sleep or take breaks, they can carry out large amounts of work without interruption. They also possess the ability to complete jobs far more productively than its human counterparts, and could even save lives.
One such example would be the possible applications within Search and Rescue services. Using heat sensing imagery, drones could carry out searches for those stranded on mountains, in forests or deserts; something that would usually require a huge amount of manpower. Further development of UAVs could also mean expanding their ability to carry equipment and providing supplies to hard to reach areas after natural disasters.
Within the Military, drones are currently used to directly replace manned operations such as scouting dangerous areas, and could have the same uses within our own law enforcement.
For example, in emergency situations drones could arrive faster than any other vehicle, as they avoid any road traffic and although not able to intervene, can alert police officers and medics to potential dangers at the scene before they arrive.
Though, however many positive implications drones many have, we cannot ignore how easily their technology can be abused or misused. It is known throughout the drone community that drones are prone to collisions, and when you consider that many drones bought for recreational purposes will be owned by inexperienced flyers, it becomes clear just how dangerous they can become. These new flyers could unintentionally destroy property or hit another person and harm them, especially within urban or high density areas.
Unfortunately, they can also be used maliciously. The amount of drones used in illegal activities have increased exponentially since their creation, and are now known to be used to smuggle drugs across borders and even into prisons.
Further development in drone technlogy could also see them increasingly used in terrorism, not only for gaining intelligence about our towns and cities; but by directly using them in terrorist attacks. Drones could be adapted to carry lethal substances such as anthrax and spread them over large density areas, causing countless fatalities. And while many countries are developing new ways to render drones useless while in flight, some are just too small to be detected by radar, such as the drone that landed on the lawn of the White House in 2015.
To conclude, UAV and drone technology is something we’re only just starting to discover and with that discovery comes both risk and reward, but if we are to use this technology we must work to develop laws, protect personal privacy and limit weaponization, whilst continuing to support innovation. And although we are not yet aware of the full potential of this next technological step, its life saving prostpects show that it is definitely something that we should fight for the right to explore.