Drones have created a minor revolution in our skies for photographers and enthusiasts alike, and the revolution has only just begun. With the technology that enables these flying platforms becoming more refined every day the applications are now multiplying.
Delivery drones, taxi drones and swarms of micro drones are fast approaching and then there is the flying bathtub. The creation of a one small band of inventive men who decided to show us all just what is possible with the technology. All of these innovations share the same basic technology that has been perfected on the little camera drones that we all love so much. Stabilisation, control and power advancements have all made small, stable and nimble camera platforms possible and now this technology is being applied to larger platforms. This is the process of scale in action. Presented for your viewing pleasure are some of the more interesting applications for drone technology that are fast approaching.
Boeing Heavy Lift Drones
Boeing have jumped into the world of drones by going large, really large. Their heavy lift drone weighs 747 pounds (a Boeing accident?) and it can lift 500 pounds of cargo and carry it up to 120 miles away. At 15 feet long and 18 feet wide this is more aircraft than it is drone.
Reference: Boeing Cargo Air Vehicle
Taxi and Passenger Drones
Chinese company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science and Technology Corporation first demonstrated the Ehung 184 AAV (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) at the 2016 CES show in Las Vegas. The 184 is a single passenger aircraft that has been designed to automatically fly to its destination, think Uber for the air. Incredibly Dubai has plans to use the 184 to run passenger services. The 184 can carry up to 220 pounds at speeds up to 100 miles per hour and has a range of 30 miles.
Reference: PopSci – Passenger Drone Dubai
US Military Release a Swarm of Micro Drones from and F-18
Drone technology isn’t just getting larger either, it’s also getting smaller and deadlier. January 2017 saw the US military test its first swarm of drones by releasing them from a flying F/A-18 Hornet. The swarm were then directed to their target while being monitored. Simply add some C4 explosives and you have a deadly and almost invisible way to target your enemies.
Reference: Technology Review – 100 DroneSwarm
The Flying Bathtub
The coolest of all recent drone innovation though has to be the flying bathtub. Sadly, it isn’t powerful enough to fly while full of hot water but it is still pretty cool. Built by brothers Johannes and Phillip Mickenbecker and documented on their YouTube channel ‘The Real Life Guys’ this is a testament to what people can achieve with a dream and a shed full of tools. Chase that dream and you too could one day build something this unnecessary and fun.
Reference: The Real Life Guys (YouTube)