There’s drones in your future. In fact, there’s drones in your present, swarming by the hundreds right over your head, but there’s even more in your future. Drone technology has taken mighty leaps in just a few years, making new kinds of devices possible. And they’re affecting our society already, in some unexpected ways.
Jimmy Causey has probably made life a lot tougher on himself, which is a shame, because he sounds like he had lots of potential. He was serving time for a kidnapping charge, before escaping in 2005 and being caught, naturally extending his sentence. But this year, he used a drone to fly in some wire-cutters, which he used to chop his way through fences while escaping his new prison. He also left a rag dummy in bed to fool the guards, and by the time police caught up with him, he had four phones, two guns, and $47K in cash together. Are we sure we can’t get some sort of work-furlough program for this guy? He sounds like a good black-ops team candidate.
Drones have been causing headaches for prison guards all over. More than a dozen times, they’ve caught drones being deployed to smuggle drugs and porn media into federal prisons. This isn’t even a problem limited to the US; in the UK, it’s already concerning enough that they’ve appointed a special anti-drone squad to stop prison-smuggling drones. All we can say to this is 1986 called, and it wants its cyberpunk dystopia plot back.
Prison smuggling isn’t the only crime enabled by drone technology; voyeur cams on drones have become common as well. Just last month, sunbathers on a boat were peeped by a camera drone in Spain.
Camera Drones Are Unbelievably Cheap
At least one retailer claims the “world’s smallest camera drone” for $25. It fits in the palm of your hand, has a camera built in, and comes with the cables and adapters to transfer video. That includes a 2GB MicroSD.
And that’s not anywhere near the beginning. Camera drones and quadcopters have gotten down to the price tag of the toy section. Soon, a “pet” drone will be the must-have accessory for your average high-schooler. So this is bad news for outdoor sunbathers, at least the ones who care about their privacy. We’ve pretty much passed the time window when you could be at one with nature and be secure in your total isolation.
Please Don’t Fly Your Drones Over A Wildfire
In the Western US, this is brush fire season, and with the fires, as any newsworthy event, comes the drone hobbyists. It’s become a rampant problem for firefighters; it’s not safe to fly airborne firefighting craft over a fire-zone if there’s drones over it, because even crashing into the tiny toys can pose a hazard for large aircraft. One Arizona man recently found that out the hard way, being arrested for flying a drone over a fire.
Besides, you get much better views flying around fireworks:
Drone Innovations Include Fly-By Sight Now
Zurich scientists are combining AI visual algorithms with drones, with the aim of making them self-piloting, at least as far as avoiding obstacles is concerned. This suggests a fantastic new field opening up in IoT / AI technology. Once you have a drone that’s 100% assured of avoiding hazards, you could simply have it assigned to all kinds of individual tasks like monitoring livestock and crops, automated pest control, automating building and plant maintenance, and so much more.
Where Is All This Headed?
Drones have surpassed military needs and come into the private sector now, so we’ll have to get used to it. The prospect of having auto-pilot robots hovering in the air overhead does bring to mind more than a few science fiction scenarios, especially the dystopias where you have no privacy. Since drones are creating several legal headaches for the FAA and at least one White House security scare, we know they can be used for nefarious purposes. We are about to see a period of fierce litigation and regulation, a normal course of events whenever a new disruptive technology becomes cheap enough to deploy casually. Ugly stories involving drones and terrorism are starting to come out of the Middle East.
But in the meantime, there’s a ton of industrial applications we can see coming. Amazon is of course striving ahead with their drone plans, recently with a drone delivery hive patent application. Now there’s a hivemind if we ever saw one!