Drones have come a long way since their original inception. Last year alone, around 2.5 million drones were shipped to the United States, according to the FAA. This number will surely grow over the next few years, but for now, companies all across the world are already creating innovative ways in using today’s drones.
In particular, in Xiangyang, China, an electric power maintenance company is using drones to eliminate hanging debris from high-voltage power lines. How are they achieving such a feat? By equipping them with a makeshift flamethrower! And if you think that sounds pretty badass, you should check out the video as well, which we’ve provided below.
The drone in question appears to be the DJI S1000+ – or at least looks like it. Of which is being controlled with a 14-channel radio controller known as the Futaba T14 SG (thanks to Inverse for the catch). And as shown in the video, the group of people steadily guide the drone towards the debris hanging over the power line. Once within close proximity, they then release the flames and burn them away without damaging the lines.
Five to ten years from now, the drone market is going to be exponentially larger than as it currently stands. According to the consulting network PwC, expect the drone market to balloon in value at around $127 billion by 2020. Not only that, according to the FAA, drone shipments to the United States will almost triple at around 7 million by the year 2020 as well.
Not all of them will be spewing fire at hanging debris, however, but the service idea does certainly raise awareness of just how flexible drones can be. It serves as a prime example for what companies can do with drones with enough creativity. Delivery companies might be aiming for a drone-based service themselves, but they won’t be the only company that’ll take advantage of this technology revolution.
“I look to the skies
and expect artificial passenger pigeons,
blackening the light,
people taking potshots for kicks
imagining one day they will be extinct.”
– Carl-John X. Veraja
Thirty to fifty years into the future, drones will be everywhere. In fact, you’ll barely even notice the vast majority of them, as they’ll be too small and too fast for you to catch a good look. Just recently, Japan had announced the first incarnation of bee drones, which will eventually replace actual bees as pollinators. Drones the size of insects are fast approaching us already, which serves to argue that they’ll become a common reality of ours in the next few decades.
By this time, another common reality for drones will be in serving as self-flying vehicles. As we reported earlier this month, Uber has already hired a NASA engineer to help them create flying vehicles using modern drone technology. Let’s just hope that none of the bee drones end up splattering across the windshield of our self-flying vehicles.
With this proliferation of drones, however, there could arise a pocketed section of the population who’ll actively oppose this technology. Not in the sense of how the Amish peacefully neglect selected technologies today; rather these neo-luddites could very well become violent. And not just towards drones either, but against any piece of technology which serves as a major disruptor to all industries, of nature, and of our own biological substrate. We certainly hope this isn’t the case, but time will only tell.
Photo Credit: Wang Hu/VCG