Ever thought of reasons why you should be getting a drone? Have you always been fascinated with robotics and wanted to own one? Drones might be your best entry point today! The availability and popularity of hobby drones have gone up in the past few years. With cheap, quality drones with camera and FPV capabilities available in the market today for as low as $100, it is now possible for most of you to head out and get yourself an amazing drone. That’s all well and good, but what are the things that you can do with it? This post will cover why you might want to consider buying a drone as a hobbyist or a photographer and also how it might be useful to you otherwise.
To experience flying
Have you ever dreamed of having the ability to fly like an eagle? I know I have. While you might not be able to literally fly and feel the wind blow on your face, your visual senses can actually experience the surreal feeling of flying soaring heights. For most of us, this is the biggest reason for getting a drone.
Imagine being able to see what your drone sees as it flies, in real time! With improved video transmission, receivers and quality camera capabilities of today, you can now experience a whole new world of flying.
Drones with FPV (First person View) capabilities can beam back to a screen, goggles or glasses what it sees through its camera in real time. You can use this to navigate your drone as though you ARE the drone (It is still recommended that you keep your drone within line of sight).
For maximum immersion with FPV, you might want to go for the goggles. However, this will take some of the ability for you to inspect your drone from your point of view.
To find a balance between immersion and constant inspection, glasses would be the way to go. Having your drone beam back what it sees to a screen is also a viable option but it’ll take away a lot from your flying experience.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how you want to fly, but it would be wise to get some practice flying without FPV before you dive into using goggles or glasses.
Photography and Video
Many people are attracted to drones just by the sheer capabilities for photography and videography. Want to take an aerial shot of your home? Check. Want to take a 360 video of you kissing your spouse on your wedding? Check.
Heck, how about drones that follow you and take photographs and video of you as you go on your mountain biking or skateboarding adventure? CHECK! You can take some magnificent photo and video with some very inexpensive drones today.
Drones with FPV capabilities are ideal for photography and video but with enough practice, you can take some great photographs without it on a budget.
Here is a taste of what you can do with a drone:
Almost everyone out there has used some sort of digital map like Google maps. What if we told you that you could send your drone out to take pictures of your locality, creating a high resolution map of that area? This is indeed a great reason why you should be getting a drone!
There are plenty of software tools out there like maps made easy, that can assist you with stitching together photos taken by the drones into a map.
There are software tools out there makes use of a process called ‘orthorectification’, which can stitch together photos taken from different angles, so you wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining a specific angle.
Creating maps has many other practical applications other than just being a cool thing to do. Farmers can use this to time their map creation before the day and after the day to monitor progress. Construction managers can do the same with construction progress.
The number of different scenarios where this might be useful seem to be limitless. This is an interesting article titled ‘rise of the drone mapper’. You might want to check it out!
Yet another awesome reason why you should be getting a drone! Drone racing is an emerging sport that is coming up in popularity during the recent years, especially with cheaper FPV drones available in the market. Toss on a pair of FPV goggles, hold on to your remote controller and race your drone against other drones through various obstacles like in video games, only this time, it is the real world.
Though drone racing is still in its infancy and spectator experience is pretty dull relative to other competitive sports, it is still an incredibly fun experience for the participants. Various sport dynamics are yet to be figured out. Investments for this sports have started pouring in this year, from various sources like the RSE Ventures.
Soon enough, we’ll be witnessing drone races in TV, like the Olympics and CrossFit games. Be sure to be on the lookout for any of these events happening in your locality!
Other functional uses you might be interested in
Drones are definitely not just a cool to use toy for hobbyists. As you can see below, there are plenty of real world functional uses for drones that may be of interest to you in your work place or industry:
Search and rescue
Police force in various places across the globe have started using drones for search and rescue operations. It is no longer necessary for human teams to enter dangerous scouting operations in case of adverse conditions like a house fire. A drone with attached thermal cameras can be used to identify trapped people within pits, areas affected with dangerous fire and the like.
Drones can be used to assist scientists in various fields such as geology and archaeology. Archaeologists have been using drones for finding sites in sensitive areas without damaging the environment. Geologists are using drones to extract oil and other resources. Drones are even being used to study live hurricanes from the inside! The possibilities are limitless in this arena and one could write a whole book regarding the potential applications of drones in science.
Today, one can order almost anything online and receive it within a day or at the most, within days. Big companies, like Amazon and Google are now striving to implement a way by which it would be possible to deliver within not days – but hours with the use of drones. Although the idea and its implementation is still in its infancy, it is enticing.
There are several mountains and barriers to be crossed before this can be realized and implemented. Majority of it lies with regulations. The second biggest problem is with the technology itself. We still do not possess the drone technology to carry heavy objects over long distances.
If you are a farmer or own farms, drones can come in handy for you. With a drone, you will be able to automate the process of taking images of your fields, even if they are hundreds of acres. You don’t have to go through the hassle of hiring people and managing them. You will be surprised by the resolution and clarity of the images you can take.
It is easy then, to stitch together all the pictures your drone takes into one single large image using image processing software. Algorithms such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index or NDVI can be used to create a map that will help you cut costs and boost yields.
You can use the map to elicit which areas of the crop needs more work. This cuts all the costs, man power and time spent scouting the fields.
Sense fly has an article on this which will give you an idea of what is possible (https://www.sensefly.com/applications/agriculture.html).
This might not be appealing to most of us. We’re already subject to mass surveillance as of today. Drones are capable of surveillance at a much higher level. Drones used in law enforcement have more than just live feed cameras.
Infrared cameras, heat sensors and radar can be part of its repertoire. Surveillance drones are starting to raise issues for civil liberties and privacy.
Your neighbour could also use a drone to spy on you and vice versa. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://www.eff.org) ‘Piracy law has not kept up with the rapid pace of drone technology’. There are several bills that are going through congress, attempting to provide privacy protection.
That’s all I can think for now, folks! I’m sure there are a bazillion more things you can do with one of these machines. Do drop a comment below to let us know! Check out the post ‘Your first drone’ for tips on what to consider when you are going to buy your first drone. You’ll also find some specific recommendations and reviews there. Have a great day/evening!