Ever since drone technology has been introduced in the market, it has captured the imagination of people belonging to different sectors. From the armed forces to the real estate businesses to sports, drones have found applications almost every sector. However, even with the amazing success of drones, people have identified the need for continual improvement if these aerial vehicles are to realize their true potential. This is the reason why scientists and tech experts all over the world are trying to make improvements and upgrades to the existing UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and drone technology to iron out its flaws. The following are some of the areas of the drones in which improvements are being made.
One of the biggest challenges faced by the people when using drones is that of its limited battery life. The drones that are currently available cannot remain airborne for more than half an hour as their batteries don’t hold that much power. This is one of the aspects of the UAVs in which a lot of progress is being made. Scientists are trying to come up with more powerful batteries that can keep the drones in the air for a longer period of time. Moreover, tech experts are also exploring the possibility of using solar energy for powering the drones too. It is expected that in the very near future the battery life of drones will be considerably increased, allowing them to fly long distances without requiring a recharge.
Safety has always remained one of the most talked about aspects of the drone technology. There is the risk that the UAV would collide with the objects that come in its path like power lines, trees and other aircrafts. To combat this risk and to increase the safety of the drones, scientists are working on a collision avoidance system for the drones. The idea behind this is that the drones will be fitted with a system that would be able to detect the presence of other objects in their path and take evasive maneuvers to avoid collision. Although such a system hasn’t been developed yet, research is ongoing and the chances of a breakthrough happening are quite bright.
The drones that are available in the market at the moment need to be controlled to some extent from the ground. You must have to pilot the drone remotely and tell it where it needs to go. This means that drones can only be operated by someone who has the necessary training and certifications required to fly a drone. However, this is about to change. Tech experts are working on the autopilot of the UAVs so that they can fly autonomously without requiring a human pilot. With this autopilot feature, people who have absolutely no idea about flying drones would be able to use them too.
Navigation is another area of the drone technology that is seeing a great deal of improvement these days. For now, GPS is being used for the purpose of navigating the drones but there are several flaws with this strategy. GPS isn’t reliable in crowded environments like forests and cities with large buildings. The signals of the GPS can get lost in such places which can adversely affect the flight pattern of the UAV. To avoid such an issue, scientists are working on backup navigation systems that can take over if the GPS stops working for some reason. These supplemental navigation systems would greatly help in ensuring that the drones get to complete their missions even if something goes wrong.
Control systems are pivotal to the success of a UAV. These systems are used for the purpose of controlling different aspects of the drone while it is flying like interference, power conditions, acceleration, moisture and temperature ranges. Without these control systems, the drone would go rogue and it would be impossible to control its movements. Improvements being made to the control metrics of the UAVs are focused on their security. Tech experts are trying to ensure that the control systems are resistant to malware and can’t be hacked easily. In addition to this, new and improved control systems are being developed that provide on-ground pilots a greater degree of control over the drone’s movements.
As is the case with any other aircraft, communication systems are extremely important for a UAV. They are used by the ground staff to communicate with the drone and to provide necessary instructions to it. The communication system needs to be fault free and resistant to errors as it is the only means for remaining in touch with the drone. Similar to the control systems, the communication systems aboard a drone need to be firewalled too so that they cannot be hijacked. Drone innovators are working tirelessly on improving the security aspect of the UAV’s communication systems so that they can’t be taken over and remain functional even in the most unfavorable conditions.
Drones are usually used for the purpose of obtaining data. Whether it is in the form of pictures or any other format, it needs to be processed before it can be put to any use. There are a number of software programs available that can process the data being transmitted by the drones on a real-time basis. However, the software programs that are currently in use can’t handle large amounts of data and thus require a lot of processing time. To reduce the time needed for data processing, new and improved software applications are being developed that can process the data obtained by drones in a much quicker manner.
So, as you can see, there are a number of improvements that are being to the drone technology. Tech experts and scientists are joining forces to find out ways through which they can enhance the capabilities of the drones and to make them as safe as possible. If this rate advancement and improvement continues then it can be expected that within a few years time, we will have a number of drones flying around over our heads.