3 Unique Uses for Drones – Surprising Applications Keep Popping UpJune 20, 2019 6 By Scott Hinkle
As you know, drones are popping up everywhere. The ones we tend to hear about and see the most of are drones used for fun, taking shots of a property for sale, getting that bird’s-eye footage and so on. Today’s post is going to cover 3 Unique Uses for Drones.
Disclaimer… I know everyone has different criteria as to what constitutes a unique use. Someone living in the city may see drones spraying crops as unique. Then again, those living in rural areas may find that using a drone, equipped with a thermal camera, for search and rescue pretty spiffy.
At any rate, I’m sure some of the things I’ll be listing here may not seem unique to you whereas others may. I just hope that this information will get you thinking about possibilities you hadn’t considered before and, who knows, maybe it will inspire you to come up with some new drone application.
Let’s get started…
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What Constitutes Unique Uses for Drones?
I’m going to generalize here and make a few assumptions. My main focus is going to be on drones used outside of the general public norm. This means I’m not going to cover using a drone for inspecting your home for insurance purposes or for getting that perfect shot in some chase scene for a movie you’re making.
In the same fashion, I’m not going to cover common farm uses (i.e. pest control, watering, crop inspections and so on). If that interests you, please check out my Drones and Farming post. To me, these are obvious uses and a perfect fit for many drones. That said, I will be listing one farming use I think is still unique.
What I will be covering are things that aren’t so common or, at least, ones that caught me by surprise.
Farming. What’s so Surprising About That?
Drones in farming isn’t really new. Crop management, inspection, protection and so on are great uses for drones. I’m sure, to most, this is nothing new or exciting.
That said, there’s one use that I had never considered, nor would I have thought of it in my lifetime… Drones and herding. Yes, you read that right, drones are being used to actually herd animals.
Drones are actually threatening the working dog’s domain. There are actually drones, with speakers (think of the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise), that allow the pilot to fly near the animals and trigger various sound effects, such as barking (yes, really), to direct the herd. I’m not saying this is going to put Border Collies and their trainers out of business, but this new use for drones will probably be felt by them soon.
At the same time, this particular use for drones is helping to increase safety too. Farmers are using drones to herd goats and other animals that like to traverse steep terrain. By using drones to move goats off of cliff areas and back to the corrals, no dogs or people will be put in harms way to get the job done.
This one definitely struck me as a unique use and I had to list it here. Hopefully, you found it just as interesting as I did.
Landmine Detection. OK, That’s Pretty Cool.
Now this one really surprised me. Two college students, from Binghamton University, came up with a solution to a very real problem in war torn countries (current and historically).
Landmines have been a go-to weapon of many wars. Sadly, so many have been deployed around the globe, and are so well hidden, that they kill an average 10 people per day, well after the wars that brought them to the area have ended. Some of these mines are so difficult to detect that even traditional mine-sweeping technologies, used today, still miss them, especially ones like the Russian Butterfly mines (made of plastic and liquid explosives).
These two guys, Jasper Baur and William Frazer, came up with a way to detect, even the difficult Butterfly, mines by hacking drones and outfitting them with thermal cameras. The idea is to detect the temperature differences between the mines and the surrounding landscape. The mines heat up quicker than their surroundings and the thermal cameras can pick up these heat signatures from a better vantage point, both for visibility, as well as safety.
While this can be put into use immediately, the hope is to integrate artificial intelligence and automate the detection process. Who knows, down the line, the drones may be able to carry a payload that can be dropped on the mines to trigger them. I think this would be a safer method of taking care of the problem vs having someone go in there to disarm them.
I love that people are finding unique uses for drones and I really appreciate that this particular use can make the world a safer place for many who live in uncertain times and areas.
This particular use was unique a few years ago but may be considered almost common today. Still, I think it’s exciting and practical for many so I’m including it here.
Fishing! Yes, drones are used in fishing today. There are many ways to take advantage of a drone when it comes to fishing:
- Spotting – With a bird’s-eye view, and a good ND filter to kill the reflection, using a drone to spot schools of fish can really help you find that perfect fishing spot.
- Baiting – There are companies that have built special release systems allowing you to chum the water, if you will, by dropping bait in an area to attract fish.
- Tackle Delivery – I’m not sure what the official term is but, just like with the baiting option, there are companies that make special hardware that will allow you to connect your line to the drone and fly it out to your “hot spot” where the drone will drop your line into the water.
Imagine using the tackle delivery system from a boat, pier or even land. Actually you don’t have to image it. Check out this video:
I don’t know about you, but I may just have to get me one of these setups and try it out myself!
So Those Are 3 Unique Uses for Drones – What Else Can We Expect?
Honestly, I don’t know. I have some hopes, maybe some expectations but I really can’t say for sure if they will come to fruition.
I’d love to see the landmine detection system developed into a truly useful tool that can be deployed anywhere, quickly. That alone is a major milestone in my opinion. Drones being used to save lives is just awesome.
New fishing systems could be fun too.
Drones for delivery are just “eh” to me, nothing to get excited about, yet that’s what I see in the news lately. I really believe that truly unique, yet exciting, things are just around the corner and I can’t wait to see what they are.
So what do you think of the 3 Unique Uses for Drones that I listed above? I still laugh when I think of a barking drone herding cattle. I really want to be a part of the whole landmine thing, but I really don’t have the credentials, other than maybe as a drone pilot. As for the fishing, I’m just going to do it. That seems like a blast to me.
In fact, if the fishing sounds like something you’d like to give a shot, check out these setups, available on Amazon.com:
Do you know of other unique uses for drones? Do you have an idea that you’d like to share in the hopes that one of my readers can make it a reality? Do you have experience with one of the uses listed above? Please, let me know by commenting below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.