For a few years, everyone has been talking about drones, you can see drones everywhere. For example, it was one of the most given presents for last X-mas, and we are sure that it will continue this year. However, drones are not only designed to be toys. Indeed, you can find drones in more and more domains, from the military use where it began of course to delivery or even repair in space.
We choose two articles which show the very different uses of drones. Let’s start to sum up the first one from The Economist.
Since 2006, 22cm-tall drones called SPHERES have been buzzing around the ISS. About one year ago, a new type of space drones shown up: The Astrobee. It was planned that the 30cm-tall cubes will be deployed in 2017. They will be more efficient than SPHERES thanks to their automatic navigation system which SPHERES didn’t have. The power supply will be easier too and the astronauts won’t have to take care of it anymore. Astrobee will also be able to help the ISS crew by making the station quiet and finding the missing elements. The drone will have a high-definition camera to take beautiful pictures of its environment.
Our second article comes from The Guardian.
Domino’s Pizza is planning to be the first company to do drone delivery. In August, they conducted a trial in Auckland, New Zealand, and they aimed to launch their services in late 2016.
Like Domino’s, Amazon and Google want to make delivery by drones and the aviation authorities in the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have been relaxing the rules about that. In July, the chain 7-Eleven delivered a snack by drone in the US. Domino’s wants to conduct trials in Europe.
To explain their preference for drones the head of Domino’s said that usual ways to deliver pizza were misfit: cars are too big compare to the pizza they deliver!
However, the director of a drone company said that such deliveries will require rules and that drones should be kept in sight at any moment because of the hazards that could make the drone hurt people.
Last year, New Zealand became one of the first countries to allow commercial drone deliveries. From last August, they are permitted in the US and since September they have been legal in Australia.
The two articles we choose to present you have a very different point of view on drones.
Drones were at first an exclusively military device designed to spy or to eliminate a precise target. But, nowadays, as it’s explained in the articles, they’re now used in various domains. In The Guardian’s article, the reporter presents a commercial use that can interfere with every one of us’ life. Whereas The Economist introduces a more scientist-friendly use: the drones presented will be able to help the astronauts doing their chores in the ISS. Managing that, they allow more time to astronauts (who are above all scientists) to do researches.
The two types of drones are also very different: the ones in space are basic mathematical volumes-shaped and they move by using jets of gazes to propel themselves. Those drones are at the cutting edge of technology. While the delivery drone is a very basic drone such as the one you can buy for X-mas, but maybe a little more powerful to manage to lift pizzas up.
The two drones are miles away one from the other. The first one can fulfil many missions while the second can only “do a flight”.
However, the two articles don’t tell about all the aspects of the drones. The article from The Economist is very technical but it only deals with drones in space. It could have spoken about more uses of drones, such as in movie making or even war drones. The Guardian’s article does not refer to the fact that the use of drones can increase unemployment. In fact, unlike an operator who controls several drones, a pizza delivery man takes care of one delivery at a time.
We can also ask ourselves, if we are used to seeing drones buzzing around into the neighbourhood, will we notice a suspicious drone which is there to spot before a burglary? Nowadays, drones can cause problems of spying, because of their discretion. But, when we see a drone we are immediately intrigued. With drones everywhere, it will take more time to make us feel suspicious.
What about you? do you think it is a good idea to use drones to do many tasks like delivering pizzas or to replace traffic officers?
Don’t you fear abuses?
More generally, knowing that they can change the look of the world of work, are you for or against the use of robots?