There was a great deal of headway in 2016 into drone technology and how people have been using it. A French-Canadian company called Dizifilms has been using drones and cameras to capture outstanding drone-led footage, and their most recent work captured rare up-close footage of tigers in the snow. This technology has also assisted with infrastructure maintenance, environmental conservation and has even enabled the discovery of a 1,000-year-old village in New Mexico.
One of the most widely spoken about innovations of drone technology has been how large companies have begun to capitalise on drone services as a method of delivering their products quickly and efficiently. On the 7th December, Amazon made a successful drone delivery to a private customer. The service- “Amazon Prime Air” -claims to deliver products under 5 pounds in 30 minutes or less, but this service is not without fault. Currently Amazon are only operating this service duri
ng daylight hours, when the winds are low and with clear visibility. This is essentially a useful service if you live somewhere like Cambridge where it’s not very windy, but for most the UK this is a bit of an inconvenience.
Scientists and engineers are doing some interesting research to find solutions for these problems. They are studying birds, bats, and insects; how they fly and how they adjust to different climates, weather conditions and environments to inspire them and help them implement new improvements to drones, in order to enhance capability.
Due to this research, new robot designs can plunge into water from mid-air, flap their ‘wings’ through strong winds or bend their ‘wings’ like a bird for better control, all of which is there to improve on current drone models.
Other such research has surfaced which could help with the future strength and longevity of the drone delivery service. Frigate birds can rest both hemispheres of their brain mid-flight during long journeys. It’s almost as if they recharge their batteries mid-flight, and it’s this kind of evolutionary strength which the likes of Amazon will use and manipulate in order to enhance drone technology.
There has been a recent innovative breakthrough where engineers are using Nikola Tesla’s inductive coupling, which will allow the drones to recharge their power by hovering over a ground support vehicle. This could help with future commercial drone technology and could mean amazing things for companies like Amazon who could potentially initiate longer delivery services. There has also been discussion about the ability for this technology to recharge scientific equipment on Mars.
Up, up and away!