It seems like drones are everywhere now. They are delivering books from Amazon.com, landing on the White House lawn, fighting faraway wars, replacing traffic police, and taking pictures for private investigators. Their usage has been widely noted in combat situations in Afghanistan and have been spotted over other nations as well. Even with all this talk and news information, there are still a lot of questions surrounding drones. There is even an exciting new field of photography called “Drone Videography”. With all this talk and new innovation, one has to wonder who is flying these things and can a drone fly itself?
What is a drone? – In order to answer that last question, you have to answer this first question, what is a drone? Dronewars.net says, “Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones, are aircraft either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission.”
How does a drone work? – Drones are often used in situations when the location is too dangerous or impossible for a person to work in. They are manned from a grounded location, but sent into the sky to take pictures, deliver pages, or even fire off weapons during war. A person, or set of people, monitor and operate the drone from a site that can be even be thousands of miles away. Drones can stay in the air for up to nearly 20 hours at a time before needing any refueling or maintenance recheck. If they are being used in a dangerous situation, the people operating them can safely control them from a remote location that protects their position.
Legal Issues and drones – Drones can be used to take unlawful pictures of people, gathering unauthorized information and even possibly violating the privacy of individuals. In the United States, regulations have begun to be constructed and drawn up that regulate some of this misuse.
Benefits of a drone – But not all drones are dangerous or violate someone’s personal space. Sometimes, they assist police departments. They can monitor traffic situations, mob and riot formations, and help locate lost hikers, skiers, and other adventurers caught up in difficult situations or who are missing. Drones can be nearly invisible to the naked eye, through camouflage and savvy coloring. This assists the police when seeking high profile criminals who might flee if they spot law enforcement agents or agencies at work.
So, can a drone fly itself? – No. A drone is operated by a person, or persons, from a remote location. Some drones are small and just for personal use, as a hobby, and they are operated much like the remote control planes of the past, but these can be lifted off and landed with a cell phone or computer keyboard or with the tap of a tablet face. So, even though drones look like entities unto themselves, they are not. They are controlled by human beings who have found that a drone can simply reach the spot faster, take the picture more accurately, or deliver packages to places where a car cannot arrive safely.