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Soumac WOW blog – 5 cool alternative ways drones are being used

Drone technology has come a long way in the last few years – from high end military weapons, to videography and deliveries – the possibilities with drones are endless.  While drones are well known for their use in engineering, emergency services and the media, there are also some lesser-known, but equally as interesting, ways other industries are using them too.

With this in mind, this month’s WOW blog takes a look at some of the more stand out ways we’ve found drones being used:

1. DJI Innovations – animal conservation

Animal conservation is one of the lesser known areas which has hugely benefited from the use of drone technology. In combination with geospatial imagery, conservationists have been able to use drones to monitor and track animals, research ecosystems and warn off poachers.

One of the world’s leading drone companies – DJI Innovations – has been a key player in helping conservationists do their jobs. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have successfully managed to use the DJI remote controlled quadcopters to dramatically simplify the process of freeing entangled whales, as well as making the assessment process safer by removing the need for human interaction.

2. RanMarine – providing clean water

RanMarine Technology™ is a drone technology company from The Netherlands, who focus specifically on removing unwanted materials from water. The WasteShark™ is responsible for collecting and detecting particles in the water, while The DataShark™ collects data about the marine environment. From the ocean, to ports and harbours – the technology is already being widely used, and most recently WWF and Sky Ocean Rescue launched the UK’s first WasteShark™ in north Devon to help clear Ilfracombe harbour of waste.

3. Zipline International – delivering medicine to remote areas in Africa

Zipline International have already provided over 10 million people with instant access to urgent medicines. Unlike traditional forms of transport, the Zipline International drone can fly through the toughest of conditions, including devasted landscapes, to remote mountains. This has transformed the way people in remote areas get access to emergency medicine. A large proportion of their work is carried out in Africa.

4. WeRobotics – disease control

Researchers at WeRobotics have discovered a clever way to combat mosquito-borne diseases in highly infected areas. Using drones, sterile male mosquitos are released, with the intention that these will eventually outnumber their fertile disease-carrying counterparts, dramatically reducing the size of the local population, to help get diseases such as Zika under control. This method, known as sterile insect technique, is already used in agriculture; however, it’s the first time the technique has been used for human disease control.

5. Vine Rangers – making wine

California-based company, Vine Rangers, has designed a drone fitted with an infrared camera to help improve the wine-making process. Using a combination of drones and software, the drone tests the vines for diseases and analyses stress, yield, quality, leaf respiration, and more, to improve the quality of wine produced.

As a highly cost-effective technology which yields results quickly, it’s not hard to see why drones have surged in popularity in recent years. What’s more, with their high accuracy, many previously manual tasks are simply no longer a match for the level of precision that drones can achieve. The technology is already having a huge impact in many industries, so it’ll certain be interesting to see which unchartered territory drones explore next!


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