The Forthcoming Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Revolution

The Forthcoming Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Revolution
June 19, 2012 Mike Tully

They’re coming … unusual, unmanned, flying machines. Some have already been mistaken as extraterrestrial. Some will be big and some will be the size of insects. They will be equipped with a wide variety of miniaturized remote sensing equipment. They are real today. This is not science fiction. In October 2002, the U.S. military admitted for the first time that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were used in war. As with any new technology, their use promises to be for extraordinary good and, like the plow, will bring some to extraordinary fear, much of it warranted (especially if you are a bad guy).

Bad Reputation?

The press has reported a number of negative, sensational accounts (Cattle Rustling, Homeland Security) of UAVs being used to “spy” on Americans. One account about the EPA using drones to spy on Americans has since been proven a complete falsehood but has perhaps helped cement into many minds the “dark side” of this disruptive technology. It is unfortunate our exposure to the early use of this important technology is from an over-abundance of bad press.

“UAVs” Have Been Around A Long-Time

Aerial remote-sensing and “UAVs” have been around a long time.  One of the earliest uses of unmanned aircraft taking aerial photographs was in World War II when the Germans experimented with pigeons specially trained for the aerial missions using 40-gram cameras strapped to their chest. These early UAVs share the same important attributes that will make modern aircraft indispensible in new applications in the coming years: autonomous flying, capable of long-distance travel, hazard avoidance, and reusability.

We’re All Learning, More To Come

In several articles that will follow, Aerial Services will explore why UAVs have suddenly become big news in the U.S. and how they promise to become one of the most important remote sensing tools ever developed. Stay tuned!

Join Us in August for “UAV & Geospatial” Webinar (Its Free!)

“UAV & Geospatial” will inform the attendee as to the past, current, and future usage of UAV technology to acquire, map, and analysis geodata. Current FAA regulations limit the use of UAV for geo in many instances, but this will be changing. Get prepared for this new class of data by staying up on the trends and technologies via this informative session. Register Now for “UAV & Geosaptial”