IIDT - Institution of Industrial Design & Technology

The Rise of the Drones

Drones hold the power to create new businesses, improve our lives and transform the way we do business. The safe integration of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) into our transportation system will displace noisy trucks, reduce urban traffic and cut our fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Drones also will allow for game-changing innovations such as the faster delivery of life-saving diagnostics and medicine, improved crop production and efficiency, and safer work environments for those performing building and bridge maintenance.

Drones (technically known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)) are always in the spotlight for their different applications. Drone technology in its infancy and there is a great deal of room for improvements in the near future in other applications including defense, infrastructure management and precision agriculture.

The UAV market continues to evolve and become an increasingly global market for their flexibility of work. The use of drones could dramatically transform the way monitoring and surveillance is conducted in large and inaccessible locations. Some specific applications of UAV like data transmission, transportation etc. has already garnered significant interest before widespread commercial use.

In this article, we will explore more about UAV’s & their future with us.

 

What are UAVs?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is an aircraft without human pilot aboard. It is typically controlled remotely by a pilot on the ground or from base station. UAVs are currently primarily deployed in military applications, for both reconnaissance and offensive purposes.  In coming years, drone will able to perform tasks which manned aircraft can as well as the tasks which manned aircraft cannot.

Drones have been around in one form or another since well before World War II. Probably the first drone was the Kettering bug which was developed for the U.S. Army. It first flew in 1918.

Types of UAVs

The array of unmanned aerial vehicles available has evolved due to various technological advances related to Commercial UAVs in the area of energy and propulsion systems, automation system, collision avoidance system, Cyber-security and jamming, on-board data processing, and communication data links and radio frequency spectrum capacity. They can be fuelled by an internal combustion engine, batteries and solar PV system, or a combination of two systems.
UAV have variety in sizes like Micro, Mini, Nano and are being designed include fixed wing drone, rotary blade drone, Flapping wing, hybrid drone. There are many variations when it comes to design any UAV under the factors of range, stability, flight altitude, endurance, MTOW (Maximum Take Off weight) and so forth. The internal structure of the airframe is usually different from manned aircraft, even if it looks similar.

The main categories of UAVs for civil applications are –

  • Micro/Mini UAVs
  • Tactical UAVs
  • Strategic UAVs
  • Special Task UAVs

Some advances in many UAV construction techniques that will significantly increase capabilities and decrease cost. Micro/Mini UAVs are designed for smallest platforms that can fly at lower altitudes (under 300 Meters). There is more advancement observed in Nano UAV category for military applications from last 10 years.

 

Applicable Area

The role of drones in the future of civil and commercial applications is broad, in addition to their interest as a consumer product. It will give us new capabilities, reduce the risk associated with a given job, or do the job more cheaply.
Drones are well suited for commercial use because of their features like lightweight body, easy to travel design, longer range of control. Drones with high-resolution cameras and recording devices can perform a variety of functions, such as taking pictures and videos, sharing information in real time, and navigating independently via location intelligence services. Present-day drones have long operational duration and can be run using energy-efficient technologies, such as solar energy.

However, research and development is now being undertaken to investigate feasibility in a small but growing number of civil and commercial applications, typically for tasks that are too “dull, dirty or dangerous” for manned aircraft, including humanitarian aid and disaster relief, infrastructure monitoring (such as oil pipelines), wildlife conservation and precision agriculture.

Here we mentioned some key areas where we can expect use of UAV largely in some years.

  • Agriculture
  • Cargo Transport
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Environment Monitoring
  • Fire Fighting
  • Intelligence
  • Mine Detection & Detonation
  • Photography
  • Surveillance
  • Surveying
  • Wildlife Monitoring
  • Search
  • Traffic

 

Future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market

As capabilities have increased and costs have decreased over the years, drone developers began to dream of more uses for drones.

In the last couple of years we have witnessed the widespread adoption of this technology for civilian use due to its hovering & flying capability at low altitudes. Governments are adjusting airspace regulations to accommodate drones and pioneering companies are releasing commercial UAV products. E-commerce giant Amazon is ready to launch his drones for delivery of goods in India soonly. Amazon debuted its Prime Air drone last December in US, showcasing its capabilities to deliver packages quickly without the need for traditional shipping routes.

In India, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is currently working on civilian drone regulations and on establishing drone test sites. The ministry of environment and forests plans to use drones at around 15-20 sites across five different so-called ‘tiger landscapes’ making up 47 tiger reserves, over the next couple of years that will conduct research and development to gather data for shaping future laws and regulations in this field.
A new class of civilian focused UAV manufacturers has emerged in recent years. Apart from tradition military use (combat and surveillance applications), drone development is spreading towards other application areas such as Transportation, Agriculture or Energy in which other players such as Parrot are positioning. Leading aerospace and defense contractors like Boeing, Thales and Honeywell have pioneered the development of Unmanned Aerial Systems and still occupy the top positions in the list of drone technology. US & China are leading players in Drone Manufacturing and Patenting Category along with South Korea, Russia and Japan.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems and robotics community predicts that within 10 years (from 2015 to 2025) drones will create approximately more than 10,00,000 new jobs and around US$82 billion in economic activity. There are also some factors which act as a restraint on the growth of the market, such as stringent government regulations along with, security and safety issues. Equipped with new capabilities such as integrated audio and text with real-time video feeds and the ability to overlay images over existing footage through augmented reality, next-generation drones could have significant commercial value for businesses across industry segments.

 

  • 06 Oct 2015
  • Ashish Thorat
  • Technology
  • Comment