Drones may one day come to dom­i­nate the skies if Google has any­thing to do with it.

APC Australia - - Feature -

Drones are cur­rently re­ceiv­ing a lot of at­ten­tion — much of it is quite neg­a­tive — but the po­ten­tial fu­ture uses for this tech­nol­ogy are ac­tu­ally very pos­i­tive. Google has al­ready started test­ing drones in Project Wing to de­liver goods to cus­tomers, which would po­ten­tially greatly speed up re­ceipt and also cut a lot of waste out of the tra­di­tional de­liv­ery sys­tems we still use to­day.

It sounds bizarre, but Google has tested de­liv­er­ing a pack­age us­ing a drone, which low­ers the pack­age by a type of fish­ing line from 45m in the air. This type of tech­nol­ogy would be ideal for so many of the items that we pur­chase cur­rently and will likely be more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly and safer as well.

Con­cerns re­main over safety and the pri­vacy im­pli­ca­tions of drones, but these are com­mon wor­ries with all new types of tech­nol­ogy that do things in pre­vi­ously un­heard of ways, and even­tu­ally, these may be ex­tin­guished by the true po­ten­tial. The idea that drones could pro­vide dis­as­ter re­lief and de­liver aid to ar­eas in need is a cap­ti­vat­ing one. From earth­quakes to floods to civil war, drones of­fer a level of ac­ces­si­bil­ity im­pos­si­ble for tra­di­tional ve­hi­cles and peo­ple.

If you are won­der­ing how drones can pos­si­bly work in such ar­eas, a huge amount of thought has al­ready gone into the de­sign of each one — they can take off and land with­out the need for a run­way and ef­fec­tively of­fer the ben­e­fits of planes and he­li­copters, but in the one ve­hi­cle. Des­ti­na­tions can be pro­grammed in and then the drone will de­liver the aid or pack­age with­out the man­ual in­ter­ven­tion of a hu­man dur­ing the process.

We can also see how many of Google’s cur­rent ser­vices will help with such a jour­ney; Google Maps is in­cred­i­bly ac­cu­rate and the con­nected na­ture of all the other Google ser­vices means that the po­ten­tial to ex­pand on this tech­nol­ogy is never-end­ing, to the point that see­ing a drone in the sky will no longer be a sub­ject of ter­ror, but as fa­mil­iar as a cloud or bird.

Google is also work­ing on Project Ti­tan, which uses so­lar-pow­ered drones to pro­vide in­ter­net ac­cess from what are ef­fec­tively at­mo­spheric satel­lites. Like Project Loon, which is also de­signed to con­nect peo­ple in more re­mote ar­eas, the po­ten­tial for this tech­nol­ogy is huge, and as both projects blos­som, we will start to see safety im­prove along­side ef­fi­ciency.

As roads be­come more con­gested and avail­able land to build in­fra­struc­ture on be­comes rarer, it makes per­fect sense to take to the skies. Drones can ben­e­fit our lives in a myr­iad of ways that we can barely imag­ine to­day.

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