Featured 13 March 2017 Posted by editor CITYSCAPES: LAND OF THE DRONES font size Print Email Exploring the new distribution force By Professor Edward Blakely DID you get drone for Christmas? Drones are becoming increasingly popular. Once toys they are now becoming the world’s newest delivery system as well as surveillance system. Drones are doing the work on farms that sheepdogs used to do. They can spot animals anywhere and with the drone driver’s assistance use the machine to do what sheepdogs did in the past. You don’t have to pay them nor do you have to feed them. The drone doesn’t get sick or ask for an increase in pay or benefits. If it has petrol it flies. Drones are becoming new urban infrastructure. We have all seen the drone work when we view real estate photos. These photos taken from the air and strange angles are drone products. So, like it or not, we are in a new drone era. The drone is rapidly becoming a new tool for urban mass distribution of all kinds of items. Drones are being used to deliver packages to remote communities where it might take days to reach by traditional post. Drones are also being used in short-haul delivery. Amazon and several other firms are currently trialling home and business delivery of items under 7 kg to individual homes and apartments. A more ambitious but very likely use of drones will be to replace home food delivery currently supplied by auto and motorcycle pizza delivery personnel. The drone will not get lost and will deliver a great hot dish and other foods to your home or apartment quickly without fear of any distractions like traffic congestion. A bigger role for drones will be the delivery of small items across the city replacing car or bicycle deliveries that currently are used for rapid movement of legal papers or precious items. Today we are accustomed to having important papers delivered to us for signature or other lawful requirements by vehicle. Sometimes, the drivers of these vehicles have a hard time getting through traffic and once through traffic finding appropriate parking. The drone eliminates all that. Another use of drones will be to move large numbers of small packages to vacant roof-top parking lots as the spaces becomes available with the advent of automated vehicles or driverless cars. While it remains too early to speculate a great deal on all the applications of the drone they will certainly become a new force in transportation. They are an obvious replacement for the many short-haul movement requirements that we all face in getting important legal and other documents to end-users and having signatures and counter signatures completed in a timely fashion. There will surely be drone stations in almost every post office in the country. Post offices or newsagents and other well located community services will be drone drops. The drone will be a boon to local professionals like doctors who need to send x-rays and other documents to other physicians when internet communications are not appropriate. Drones will be used in court proceedings to move documents that are required for use in the courtroom but not needed on a day-to-day basis. There are myriad of other uses for the drone. Another important use for drones will be dispatching them as very fast observation platforms over auto collisions and other disasters to ascertain damage and perhaps drop in medical equipment to check on patient vital signs. Drones will be used as inspectors for high rise construction because they can be programmed to seek out defects. Large-scale road, bridge and train line construction will use drones as a major cost saving and better safety component in all construction. Drone photography will form the base records for big infrastructure lawsuits. Surely drones will be used in disaster zones for close surveillance of the area deciding where people are in greatest danger and moving people from raging fires or floods and guiding helicopters and other rescue operations. Finally, drones are already augmenting lifeguards and shark watch operations on beaches and coasts. They are also more reliable in tracking down stranded bushwalkers. Drones are easier to deploy and cost less than airplanes. They can also fly at lower heights and in worse weather conditions. In sum the drone is here to stay. Get yours delivered by air before next holiday season! Professor Edward Blakely holds acting and emeritus professorships at Universities in Australia, the US and Africa. He is the Greater Sydney Commissioner for West Central, which covers the Cumberland, Parramatta, Blacktown and The Hills local government areas. He is an active advisor for many cities and international organisations including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. These are my views not those of the Greater Sydney Commission or any organisation that I am affiliated with. Let’s make a conversation! Listen to weekly radio Cityscape radio podcast at 2Ser FM radio streamed @ http://www.2ser.com/on-air/streaming
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