Article by: Asst. Prof. Suwan Juntiwasarakij, Ph.D., Senior Editor
Aircraft without human pilots, drones have been operation since early 1900s. Although initially used only for target practice by military groups, they were later equipped with real-time surveillance capabilities to monitor troop movement behind enemy lines. Drones include flying, floating and other devices, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), that can fly independently along set routes using an onboard computer or follow commands transmitted remotely by a pilot on the ground. The drone revolution has been forcing its way into a number of industries ranging from film-making to agriculture.
Towards the applications, drones are often loaded with various sensors, such as in-built GPS navigation systems, TV cameras, image intensifiers, radars, infrared imaging equipment, and lasers to help round-the-clock monitoring and targeting. For example, drones for military use are also equipped with laser-guided missiles. According to a Guardian analysis, countries are expected to make the most weaponized drone purchases over the coming decade. The U.S. is forecast to buy 1,000 of them up to 2028, far ahead of China’s 68 and Russia’s 48. The usage of weaponized drones is controversial, particularly due to their deployment over countries with which the U.S. is not technically at war.
In India, there has been recently released of regulations for the use of the drones for commercial purposes, under which license requirements are defined based on the weight and flying height of the drones. Also, restrictions have been placed on flying drones near airports and sensitive establishments. Privacy and protection of personnel, property and data are given due importance. According to the regulations, rules are defined for the drones on the basis of their weight
Drones come with different state-of-the-art technologies packed into their lightweight frames. However, they vary considerably in terms of size, eight, payload, capacity, flight time, and functionality, depending on the purpose for which they are being deployed. The weight of the drone and the battery attached are important determinants of its flight time.
Firm shall not neglect the risks that come with drone operations. Cybersecurity remains a key concern. Sensitive or proprietary data could be compromised if drones are hacked or lost. Drones have also created concerns regarding personal privacy and individuals’ safety. Those looking to expand drone use will need a plan to mitigate such risks and ensure that policies and procedures are alighted with current regulations.