Do drones improve or destroy the world's economies?

At some point you are likely to have played with a consumer drone – perhaps something like the Parrot AR with its fun video-recording capabilities? Or, if you follow the news, you will have at least heard about their contrasting and controversial usage within the military.

Drones are a hot topic, and an inevitable future, but are you aware of how they are completely revolutionising industries you perhaps wouldn’t initially think of?

Amazon is the most obvious example. The world’s biggest online retailer is already testing automated drones which can fly packages out of their nearest warehouse and to your doorstep much faster than your local postman can deliver on his rounds.

Just think of the implications here. For employment, it’s a nightmare. Amazon now has 110,000 employees – which surpassed Microsoft late last year – and you can bet a vast majority of those individuals work in their many warehouses. In the coming years, these employees could find themselves redundant from jobs which simply don’t exist anymore.

Drones are about to change the retail industry, dramatically – in ways both good and bad.

Now let’s talk about ways drones have already begun to improve the world solely for the better…

Farms are intricate and require vast amounts of data to ensure a successful yield, keep cattle in order, ensure public health is protected, and that fields aren’t damaged. An interesting story was posted by NPR who reported the case of the Reimer family, their farm, and the benefits investing $20,000 in a couple of small drones brought them.

Each of the drones weigh less than 10 pounds and the family can fly them remotely or program them to fly autonomously in order to map and image an entire field. This allows for a quick overview of what’s happening across the farm and action can be taken as necessary when problems occur. Modern farm equipment can drive itself and can adjust precisely aspects such as how much fertiliser or pesticide to spray. If farmers know how a field is doing, they may spray less, and reduce the risk to public health from overuse of pesticides.

TelecomsTech previously reported on Google’s “Project Loon” which aims to provide broadband in hard to reach areas via balloons. In Australia, the Kogan Drone Broadband Network is aiming to achieve a similar feat using drones to deliver faster network for all Australians.

The current NBN (National Broadband Network) being rolled-out to Australians is slow and estimated to cost around the region of $73 billion. In terms of speed, the Kogan broadband network provides a transfer speed of 1.3Gbps which is over 13x faster than the NBN’s 100Mbps download. It also does not rely on any expensive infrastructure or manual labour. As a result, costs are significantly reduced.

Broadband drones also have the added benefit of preventing littering the country with data boxes.

Aerial litter, however, is already causing problems. According to a Federal Aviation Administration official, an American Airlines regional jet nearly collided with a drone cruising 2,300-feet above sea level. It is still unknown who was flying the small aircraft, but it shows the potential risk they can pose to manned airborne vehicles. Congress ordered the FAA to create new rules to safely integrate drones into U.S. airspace by 2015.

Do you feel drones are beneficial or harmful to the economy? Let us know in the comments.

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