Drone technology and its necessity

By Ali Hamza

KUWAIT: The first-ever drone, known as the Kettering Bug, was created by Charles Kettering in the United States during World War I. It was a pilotless, radio-controlled aircraft made primarily of wood and canvas. Remarkably, it had the capability to carry a bomb equal to its own weight, which was approximately 136 kg. In the 21st century, numerous types of drones have been developed, each serving various purposes and playing pivotal roles in various aspects of daily life. Companies such as Zipline have deployed drones for missions in countries around the world, particularly for swiftly transporting medical supplies like vaccines to hospitals.

This not only reduces wait times but also alleviates road traffic congestion. According to the World Economic Forum, drones in the transportation sector have the potential to decrease carbon emissions by up to 4.5 billion tons annually. Drones have proven to be invaluable in emergency situations, particularly during natural disasters where conventional vehicles face difficulties in maneuvering. Equipped with thermal cameras, these drones can locate survivors in disaster-stricken areas. Additionally, drones are employed by companies like Amazon for delivering online purchases, including food and packages.

In the agricultural sector, specialized agricultural drones have been developed for tasks such as crop monitoring, pesticide spraying and soil analysis, contributing to reduced pesticide usage. Environmental drones are also in use for monitoring wildlife, including endangered species, and collecting data on wildlife populations. They are instrumental in tracking poachers and safeguarding forests against illegal logging and wildlife poaching.

Drones have found utility in monitoring traffic flow and overseeing large public gatherings. Authorities can utilize these drones to respond promptly to traffic congestion, accidents and emergencies by providing real-time information. Additionally, many studios employ drones for capturing aerial photography, particularly in journalism and film production. Infrastructure inspection drones are indispensable in various countries for inspecting critical infrastructure like pipelines, power lines and building maintenance, thereby minimizing human risk.

In Kuwait, companies like Zain have been awarded contracts for precise data acquisition tasks for Kuwait’s Public Authority of Industry. Zain’s drones have eliminated the need for human involvement in high-risk inspections. They are equipped with cameras and sensors to scan and inspect energy sector infrastructure. Thermal cameras and optical gas imaging (OGI) are also used to identify potential asset risks and gas leaks. The use of drones for 3D modeling has revolutionized land surveys, replacing the traditional method that required teams of people to be deployed in the field.

Drones also play a vital role in border security, employing thermal tracking technology to monitor intruders at night while minimizing risks to security personnel patrolling the area. Additionally, military forces employ combat drones for intelligence gathering and target elimination using onboard weaponry. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into drone technology is in its developmental stages.

This advancement will enable drones to execute complex tasks with minimal human intervention, fostering further developments across various industries. Advances in autonomous flight, next-generation batteries, extended flight durations, and increased payload capacities are also pivotal in the evolution of drone technology.

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