Drones are being used for an ever-growing range of purposes. In recent years, drones have taken up firefighting, aerial mapping, and even racing. Most recently, the first ever organ transport by a drone was successfully completed!
The speed, convenience, and flexibility of these machines make them useful in a variety of ways. Getting your child involved with these technologies will give them a massive advantage when they pursue a career in engineering, as drones are a great way to learn concepts of programming, physics, 3D printing, and design.
How Do Drones Work?
Drones use powerful electric motors which spin propellers, producing lift and allowing the drone to fly. A powerful onboard computer controls the motors and keeps the drone stable. The majority of drones can either be manually controlled or flown autonomously. The term “Drone” is very general, and can refer to toys that fit in the palm of your hand or much larger aircraft that resemble full sized airplanes!
The massive expansion of the drone package delivery industry is on the horizon. Package delivery being tested by companies such as Amazon, Google, and DHL. Recently a Kidney was successfully transported by a drone! It won’t be long before express shipping will mean a drone coming to your doorstep!
Racing drone pilots use First Person View (FPV) goggles to view a low-latency video signal from their drones. These machines can fly as fast as 265 Km/h (Yes, you read that correctly) and are extremely maneuverable. Competitive drone racing is rapidly expanding, and the Drone Racing League has broken into the mainstream by being aired on NBC.
Racing drones have opened a new world of high-speed aerial photography. Check out this car chasing video by one of the world’s best FPV drone pilots!
Aerial Mapping and Agriculture
Large agricultural drones can be used to survey farmer’s fields. When paired with special cameras and powerful image-analyzing Artificial Intelligence, farmers can learn a great deal about the health of their crops without ever entering their field. Drones can also be used to spray cops and plant seeds at a faster rate than ground-based machines.
Automated flights over large regions can be used to stitch together high-resolution maps. These photos can also be used to create Three-Dimensional maps of large areas.
With accessible, safe platforms such as the DJI Tello drone are becoming increasingly accessible for educational purposes.
DroneBlocks, shown above, is a wonderful software platform which brings the simplicity of drag-and-drop programming to the world of drones. Students can create procedural programs which make the drone follow a certain flight path, changing speed, altitude, and camera angle with various commands.
At Envision Robotics, we are able to simulate drone package delivery using our Tello drones with 3D printed accessories we have created! Students will work together to solve some of the challenges associated with package delivery, using their programming skills to control the aircraft.
Why Introduce My Child to Drone Technology?
The drone industry is rapidly expanding. There is room for all kinds of innovation, and the next generation of engineers will play a huge role in realizing the potential of these machines. Our programs surrounding drone technology follow the guiding principles of Envision Robotics: building the 21st century problem solving and critical thinking abilities of our students.
This post contributed to Envision Robotics by Tim Gargano