For most people today, the word ‘drone’ immediately brings up images of a faceless flying killer raining missiles onto unsuspecting victims in a war-ravaged land. Even Google helpfully suggests ‘attack’ and ‘strike’ as the most fitting suffixes to the D-word. This is what Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, was banking on when he announced his company’s plan to use drones to deliver goods to customers in the future. What has now in hindsight been pegged as a publicity stunt sent the media in a tizzy this past December. People just couldn’t wrap their heads around the fact that a drone could perform a non-military function without somehow causing destruction. As endless debates raged for and against this future ‘dronification’ of day-to-day life, very few people actually knew that it was already happening around them.
There are infinite uses for drones as a technology – some of which are ready or already in use. Drones can be used to monitor crops and wildlife, deliver medical aid in search-and-rescue missions, or just deliver a pizza. Corporate, public, and industrial companies are already working to find more ways of using this extremely malleable technology. According to experts, this trend will grow manifold in the coming years, as will the drone industry. They forecast that it will boost the U.S. economy by at least $10 billion in the next 3 years while creating 70,000 new jobs. But the picture isn’t as rosy as it sounds, not yet anyway.