When we think of drones or Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs), images of US missile strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen on terrorist hide-outs or surveillance missions like the ones for targeting Osama bin Laden immediately comes to the mind. Usage of drone technology for military purposes is not a new phenomenon, with US military already deploying it both for surveillance and combat purposes. Even though the Indian military made an entry into the list of drone technology usage much later, it has already started deploying these machines on fields. Indian DRDO is already making headway in improving the technology. Military usage aside, many will be surprised to know the advent of drone technology in the civilian sector, its capability and application in the current times. It has already made a breakthrough in the civilian sector.
When we sit down to list the possible usage of the technology in the civilian sector, the list of applicability is huge from usage in farming to law enforcement, for commercial activities like delivery of goods to collecting data for weather predictions or scientific research purposes in remotes of areas of our planet. Applicability of the technology is endless and of wide range. However it still needs to cover leaps and bounds to become suitable for everyday application. And those leaps are not just limited to technology advancement but also assessment of legal considerations.
The idea of drone like machines hovering around us has been a dream for many sci-fi enthusiasts. But it is astonishing to note that its application in the civilian sector has already begun in India too. Indian law enforcement forces have already started its usage in purposes like crime investigation, traffic monitoring or even crowd management during large processions. Tamil Nadu police deployed it to investigate the murder of Uma Masheshwari, an engineer by profession. Police in Gujarat state employed UAVs to monitor pilgrims participating in Jagannath Rath Yatra. They were also employed in disaster management during the recent Uttarakhand floods during search and rescue operations.
Commercial usage of drones has received many widespread acknowledgements however a key issue which our policy makers, civil societies and general citizenry must also consider is the misuse of this technology. Usage of drone raises many privacy issues apart from other such as commercial regulation. Nobody likes the idea of the government or a private institutions spying on your house using an UAV (Which can range from sizes of that of a small fly to big jets). The same has started a wide debate and deliberation in the US with many states drafting and passing legislations on the same. It is smarter to have the regulations in place before occurrences of misuses become common. A key look at the technology required by all, and its tarts by making aware about the advent of the technology in our lives and issues related with it before its wider entry.
Nevertheless, it is undeniable that our commercial sector must benefit itself from using this technology which has a potential of transforming the idea of speed and connectivity in the modern age. It sure to revolutionize lives in the coming years like the internet has done in the past two decades.