What the Tech?! Drones

They’re always in the news, but what exactly are the mini flyers?




An unmanned, remotely-piloted aircraft. Traditionally, drones have been piloted remotely, like remote-controlled cars or planes, and have recently moved into autonomous technology, allowing them to fly without constant remote control. They are used by a huge variety of groups and markets, from the military to Amazon’s delivery services.

Drones are generally equipped with cameras and sensors that pick up on GPS signals, extreme weather measurements, and  grab photo or video from locations previously unavailable to man. Military drones, of course, are more often than not equipped with missiles. MIT’s technology review recently highlighted the drones’ role in agriculture — think North By Northwest‘s cornfield scene. With this low-cost aerial camera, data-driven agriculture becomes possible, bringing increased yields and a drop in crop damage

But, even though the technology is fairly infinite — there are a thousand things a small, autonomous aircraft can do — there have been many regulations on drone usage. Most recently, Yosemite National Park has banned drones after tons of visitors have flown them around, capturing photos and videos from the preserved park. The FAA has banned drone food delivery, and Amazon’s planned product delivery service by drone has met a lot of skepticism.