If the new U.S. drone regulations are any indication, it would appear that the FAA is realizing the full potential of drones in the working environment. However, pilots are still restricted to flying their drones within “line of sight”, which means that while drones are becoming more and more prevalent throughout the workplace, it’ll still be sometime before they’re delivering Chinese food or dropping off our latest purchases on Amazon.
On a completely unrelated note, when drone food delivery is possible in the future, will tipping still be necessary? Who gets the money? The guy flying the drone I guess, but if it’s completely automated then I guess the owner gets the money, in which case I’m not tipping. Unless of course we’re talking way, way in the future and the drone delivery bot is actually an AI with a family and student loans from Robot College, then I’ll tip 20%. Anyways…
One of the biggest risks when flying your drones is collision. Whether it’s your $1,400 DJI Phantom 4 crashing into a tree or just your drone falling out of the sky and whacking someone on the head, the danger is definitely there. You might remember hearing about drones interfering with wildfire fighting efforts in California a few weeks ago. On the whole, drone pilots are pretty responsible bunch. They don’t want to crash, but stuff happens. Human error and all that. Until someone can invent a more dependable collision avoidance technology, there’s always going to be a need for restrictive regulations on drone flying.
Oh snap! Somebody’s already done that! Iris Automation is hard at work at what might be the most exciting drone technology of the decade. By combining a camera, a computer, and smart software, they’re making an advanced collision avoidance system that will bring intelligent situational awareness to all levels of drone operation. This is the kind of technology that changes how laws are written.
Industrial drones will benefit the most from IRIS at first. Having a drone that can scan miles upon miles of pipeline without the aid of a human pilot (or at least without a human pilot’s line of sight) will be a major draw for energy companies around the world. However, if all goes according to plan, IRIS could become a necessary component for all drones that want to travel beyond line of sight, or all drones in general.
That might sound scary to you at first, but keep in mind that IRIS’s developers are doing the best to keep IRIS as small and unobtrusive as possible. They specifically make mention on their site of IRIS’s passive sensing methods making a very small dent on your drone’s battery life. Also, think of how cool it would be to have your pizza delivered by a drone, or your dry cleaning delivered by a drone, or your new drone delivered by a drone! That would be super trippy, actually. Maybe we should draw the line there.