We are used to hearing drones spoken of in military terms but how would you like to see one flying about to bring you home some supplies? Experts have been discussing the future of drones at the TEDGlobal conferences and it seems that these machines could offer us far more possible uses in the future.
Another interesting statistic which came out of the debate is the fact that in 2011 US controlled drones gathered a total of 300,000 hours of video surveillance footage. Science fiction author Daniel Suarez pointed out that it is now getting to the point where the speed of data collection is so great that it is “outstripping the human ability to review it all”. This means that vital decisions are being made on the basis of visual intelligence software. He also talked about the possibilities of terrorists starting anonymous wars by sending out waves of drones.
A Network of Delivery Drones
Turning to lighter matters than complete global devastation, a chap called Andrea Raptopoulos talked about the network of drones he is building to get essential supplies to places which are hard to get to by road. For example, he pointed out that in sub-Saharan Africa 85% of the area’s road can’t be used during the rainy season.
To get the likes of medical supplies to towns and villages which are cut off he has devised flying machines called octocopters, which would take a few hours to get the items delivered. He has already tried out some prototypes models in Haiti and is planning to try it on a more extensive basis, saying that it is a cheap way to send out deliveries despite the initial high cost of the devices.