Unmanned air vehicles, also known as drones, are on the rise and show no signs of going away! According to a PwC report published in May, the global drone industry will hit a $127 billion market size in the next 4 years.  Another report suggests that within that same time frame, the US alone will have as many as 20,000 of them hovering in the skies.Therefore, it is safe to say that drones are literally flying their way into our future, carrying advantages and disadvantages with them. Continue reading and choose which side you are on.
The Pros of Drone Technology
Within the next few decades, we will be living in a world full of robots. They’ll polish our hardwood floors, feed our babies, and propel themselves through our skies. These robots, drones in-particular, possess the potential to revamp everyday services for the better. Sectors like agriculture, media, law enforcement, and search/rescue will undergo change. Below are 5 ways our society will be beneficially impacted by drones.
1) Efficient Farming
The agriculture sector will favor the use of drones because of their efficiency. Farmers can dramatically reduce the cost of labor by programming propeller driven copters to spray fertilizer over their fields. They can also assign patrolling models to carefully inspect crops for infestation and rot. This tech savvy method of crop-care no longer relies on employees, but programs and algorithms. Consequently, this means the retraction of human error, which will breed heartier, healthier, and more consistent harvests. Within time, every crop will be monitored and cared for by drones – but that is just the beginning.
2) Saving Human Lives
Drones can provide help to areas affected by natural disasters and emergencies.They have the advantage of being able to go where humans generally can’t. For example, drones equipped with cameras, microphones, and sensors can map out rescue routes unknown to emergency respondents – thus leading to a quicker more efficient response time. Drones will become the robotic heroes of the future.
3) Cost Management
New technology can revamp the way companies use their money, ensuring for high profits and low cost. A great example of cost management is Amazon’s upcoming campaign called “Prime Air”. 30 minutes after a consumer purchases something online, an “Octocopter” will deliver it right to their doorstep. This retracts the cost of mailing products, fuel in delivery vehicles, employee hourly wages and more. According to CBSNEWS.com, Prime Air is to be fully functional within 4-5 years.  Drones are creating a strong base for growth, abundance, and prosperity worldwide.
4) Modern Warfare
Let’s face it, battlefields are dangerous for humans like us. A significant number of lives are lost daily due to military operations. Luckily, with the increasing involvement of drones, our soldier’s futures look safer. Good example of militarized UAV technology is the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-1B Predator, which can travel and survey long distances, and is also equipped with two deadly hellfire missiles. Along with the addition of other promising military prototypes like the X-47 drone and the Atlas rescue robot, it is likely that modern warfare will be dramatically revamped in the decades to come.
5) Impact on Jobs
While it is true that drones can prove to be more efficient than man, it will be wrong to say that they are going to take away jobs. On the contrary, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) suggests that in the coming decade, by 2025, the drones industry would have given rise to as many as 100,000 occupations!  People tend to forget that the developing industry will require human labor to manufacture, monitor, maintain, and manage the drones. As a result, this technological boom will actually benefit our societies’ workforce.
The Cons of Drone Technology
1) Safety Concerns
Unmanned aircrafts are helpful tools and fun toys, but what if they end up in the wrong hands? Radical terrorists could target large scale events and create chaos by misusing drones. In such an event, it’d be easy for a criminal to literally fly away and vanish behind buildings, going undetected. With so many countries funding drone research, the possibility of foul play is a valid concern. An appropriate article was posted on NDTV.com, which details Iran’s terrifyingly real “suicide drone”. Check it out if you dare.
Even in innocent hands, drones can endanger civilian lives if the pilot is careless. Unknowingly entering aviation airspace or flying too low into crowds could end in tragedy . I’ve posted a Youtube.com video above to show you how easy it can be to ground one. I’ll let your imagination do the rest of the work.
2) Privacy Concerns
The government, law officials, media, and your neighbor can misuse drone technology to invade the privacy of others. Most of them come with an attachable camera, giving the pilot the ability to record video of whatever they please. In a matter of years and good number of court cases, we can assume that there will be new laws and barriers that protect us from foul play as best possible.
3) No Legal Framework
This goes hand in hand with the topics above. Currently, there is no real legal framework in place that governs the use of drone technology. The debate regarding civilian surveillance and misuse of drones by law enforcement agencies is a prevalent matter today. In August, the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has provided guidelines that all drone pilots are expected to follow (Check out FAA Guidelines and Regulations and Rules for Dummies Here). Sadly, the area of consequences and penalties still remains rather grey. We can expect more legalities pertaining to these tools in the near future.
According to all reports, drone technology is here to stay. The next step is to readily adopt and utilize this new frontier for the better. New rules, regulations, and laws pertaining to this subject will become prominent in the near future. I truly believe the investment in this technological boom will benefit everyone.
Sources: 1)http://pwc.blogs.com/press_room/2016/05/global-market-for-commercial-applications-of-drone-technology-valued-at-over-1 27bn.html 2)http://visual.ly/drone-nation-interesting-facts-about-unmanned-aerial-vehicles 3)http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR400/RR449/RAND_RR449.pdf 4)http://www.cbsnews.com/news/amazon-unveils-futuristic-plan-delivery-by-drone/ 5)http://www.auvsi.org/auvsiresources/economicreport