Drones: Man’s New Best Friend

A Little Background on Drones

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, emerged onto the scene around 1907. They became a direct link to the military as their original purpose was to enter dangerous territory without risking human lives. Although drones were being constructed during World War I, they were first utilized in World War 2. Gradually, they evolved into formidable military weapons, gaining particular prominence during the conflict in Afghanistan.

While those in the military offices worked to engineer drones for these purposes, others began building drones that had the potential to better people’s lives and make certain jobs more efficient and effective. 

In 2006, corporations began using UAV Drones to do things like inspect pipelines and measure farmland. In this same year, the FAA approved the use of the MR-Q1 to search for survivors of disasters in the U.S. The Parrot AR Drone came around in 2010. This was the first UAV that was able to be controlled via mobile phone. Then came DJI’s Drone, created by Frank Wang at Hong Kong University, which single-handedly took over the market and opened the door for drone usage such as film, photography, surveillance, agriculture, and more.

Current Uses for Drones


One central area where drones are being used is in conservation. One marine conservation organization called Ocean Alliance is using drones to collect biological samples from whales and to track the communication of whales underwater. Other wildlife organizations are using drones to catch poachers in remote areas, protect endangered species, and punish people who are wrongfully hunting and trapping animals.

Drones are excellent trackers and surveyors. They are able to track emissions from power plants, map out patterns of deforestation, and create highly rendered images and maps of the environment.

Additionally, drones continue to be used in Agriculture. They have become an unlikely best friend for people managing small, local farms. Here, they can survey and assess the land to find optimal spots for certain crops. They can also detect the presence or absence of Chlorophyll using infrared technology, allowing farmers to treat areas quicker and more accurately.


Drones are also being engineered to aid in rescuing people from natural disasters, monitoring radioactivity in nuclear disaster zones, and flying in supplies and medicine to people in remote areas of the world.

In 2010, Matternet, a UAV company, conducted tests with its remotely operated drones by sending them into relief camps with medical supplies following a devastating earthquake in Haiti. Additionally, the company initiated the use of drones to transport medicine from large medical centers to small, isolated areas in the Dominican Republic.

Due to their small size, maneuverability, and high responsiveness, drones have proven to be exceptionally well-suited for sensing danger, locating individuals, and accessing hard-to-reach locations. They have played a significant role in saving people from fires, locating missing individuals after hurricanes and avalanches, and providing journalists with a closer look at events within their reporting zones.

Technology and Beyond

All of the world’s most skilled photographers and videographers are actively incorporating drones into their toolkits to enhance their visual storytelling. By leveraging drones, these professionals gain access to vantage points and perspectives that were previously inaccessible.

Drones can capture detailed images and dimensions of physical matter, making them a major tool in areas like GIS and mapping. Not only can they measure dimensions and distances, but  they can observe and analyze the topography of an area. They provide valuable insights into aspects like soil composition, suitability for construction, and durability.

Careers in the Drone Industry

One of the reasons that STEM education is making quick headway is due to the emergence of specific skill-oriented technology like drones. With their rapid development and emerging opportunities to utilize drones in various fields, people are discovering the urgent need for young adults entering the workforce to have technology-specific skill sets that allow them to be successful in their chosen fields.

The utilization of drones extends far beyond the role of a “drone pilot,” encompassing a multitude of professional domains. Industries such as photography/videography, firefighting, roofing, surveying, electrical engineering, city and transportation planning, real estate, mining, and aerospace engineering, among others, rely on drones for various purposes.

Firefighters, for instance, now deploy drones to assess fire-damaged structures and search for victims without jeopardizing additional lives. By obtaining an aerial perspective, they can locate individuals, plan the most efficient routes, and devise optimal strategies, avoiding potential hazards and saving valuable time.

Surveyors employ drones to evaluate land and develop comprehensive plans for construction projects. City planners utilize drones to evaluate existing transportation infrastructure, determining which areas to expand, remove, or introduce new routes. These examples only scratch the surface of the incredible ways in which drones serve as powerful tools across various professional fields.

Teaching Drone Literacy

As drones continue to show up across professional fields and become major tools for planning, building, rescuing, capturing, and gathering data, the necessity for people who know how to operate them grows. This is why teaching children about drones is a pivotal subject within a  STEM education curriculum. 

Not only is drone literacy an essential skill that will enable young people to be successful post-schooling, but it allows them to work on their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and image association skills. It allows them to build something with their own hands that they can use to complete basic tasks. Drones can also serve as tools for teaching other core subjects such as physics, coding, and language. 

Through the use of drones to incorporate elements of exploration and play, the educational experience becomes more engaging and enjoyable for students, increasing their overall involvement and understanding.

Published: June 23, 2023


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