Drones are featured in a lot of top gifts for Christmas lists. Chances are that if you are interested in cool gadgets, you probably already found one under the Christmas tree. But now that you have a drone, what can you actually do with it?
Nick from Drones Den has written a list of 25 things you can do right now with your brand new drone from home, whether it is a small Hubsan or one of those huge DJI Inspire 1 quadcopters. His website offers drones for sale and reviews of the popular drone models.
*Some of the ideas listed below are novel, whilst others have been done before. However, current FAA regulations still mean that commercial use of drones is limited.
1. Film HD Videos: New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney and London were filmed partly with drones this year, and this gave viewers an entirely new perspective which couldn’t be achieved before. Perhaps the next video going viral on YouTube could be shot by your beloved drone.
2. Take a dronie (drone selfie): As the entire family’s home for the holidays, what better time to get everyone together and take a selfie using your drone; way better than the selfie stick!
3. Race your friends: Racing drones in the Alps may not be accessible to everyone, but there’s nothing stopping you from racing your family or friends in your own backyard if you have more than one drone available.
4. Film your own stunts: Drone companies Hexo+ and AirDog are competing for the auto-follow drone market. Both companies were born on Kickstarter and have developed drones that will follow the user by honing in on their phone (Hexo+) or a special wristband (AirDog). Pair this with a GoPro and you have your own non-judging aerial camera man.
5. Become a news freelancer: Channel 5 has been using drones in their news coverage. You could always join in and be the first on the scene (without interfering with the emergency services of course) for exclusive photos and videos. Think Nightcrawler + Drones.
6. Take photos on holiday: Although it’s likely to make TSA raise some eyebrows, you can now buy special cases that protect your drone and allow you to take it with you on holiday. Imagine coming back with some amazing aerial photos from your Hawaiian holiday. It’s bound to make your friends jealous.
7. Time-lapse cinematography: Park your drone virtually anywhere and let your GoPro do the work. Then simply fly it off a few hours later and retrieve the footage (make sure you keep an eye on the battery level!).
8. Conduct Interviews: As long as you install a 2-way speaker system, you could communicate with anyone where the drone is. This could be used as a novel way to conduct interviews on the street.
9. Monitor your land and property: You really don’t need an expensive and specialised drone to monitor your property or your land. All you need is a drone that can fly for 25+ minutes with FPV streaming video such as any DJI Phantom drone, and you’re all set.
10. Watch your son’s baseball game: Too busy to attend? You can surprise them by being there ‘virtually’. Fly your drone to the field, park it and stream back to your iPad and watch live from the comfort of your own home.
Right… now it’s time for a few more drone uses that are slightly futuristic and more suitable for the commercial drone industry. They may not be easily achieved by your standard DJI Phantom.
11. Parcel delivery drones: Amazon, Dominos and DHL are only a few of the companies still working on their prototypes, but no one knows when this will actually be a reality.
12. Farming: Use remote controlled drones to monitor, seed and spray your crops.
13. Filming Grand Prix and other live events: We are more than likely to see this in the next 2-3 years, as long as the drivers are not going to be distracted by the flying objects. Of course, you may also use it to film and broadcast football matches.
14. Establish temporary cell and WiFi network: Temporary cell and WiFi networks could be established in the poorer parts of the world to help emergency teams communicate after natural disasters.
15. Thermal scans: Drones could be used to conduct thermal scans of buildings from above to spot heat loss. There would also be numerous other uses for a remote controlled thermal camera.
16. Bell Boy drones: These could be used to carry your luggage and to help with your check in without having to queue at a desk.
17. Advertising: Ever seen a drone flying advertising banners overhead? No? You will soon! Dronevertising is due to take off in 2015.
18. Virtual real estate agents: Drones could not only help real estate agents take photos from angles never before possible, but they could replace them altogether. A pre-programmed drone could be used to show prospective buyers around the property without any human intervention.
19. Animal herding: Drones are known to scare animals, so why not use this to your advantage?
20. Police drones: Police car chases could be a thing of the past. Replace a big police car by a flying drone and you have the potential of neutralising criminals safer and quicker… you just need to equip the drone with a
machine gun taser.
21. Neighbourhood Watch Cameras: Among the same lines, a drone could investigate disturbances much quicker than it would take to dispatch a police car.
22. AED Drones: A Germany charity came up with a prototype that could deliver an automatic defibrillator by air, to anyone in the field. This would act as a 2-way radio as well, giving you instructions whilst you wait for the paramedics to arrive.
23. Portable umbrellas: A drone set to automatically follow you could act as your portable umbrella both in rainy and sunny weather. No more paying $40 per day to hire those umbrellas on the beach.
24. Whale watching: Drones are already being used to monitor whales off the coast of Australia.
25. Taxi drones: A different German company has developed a drone that can transport people. Ok, it looks similar to a helicopter but is meant to be more environmentally friendly.
These 25 uses are only a start and I am sure you can think of a lot more. Feel free to post any futuristic ideas in a comment below and we might quote you in a future post. Luckily, a decent drone is quite affordable in the developed world, which means that it’s not just celebrities who can afford them. With 2014 having been the year when drones started taking off, 2015 is promising to be even more drone oriented. I am sure that in 12 months time we will see drones being used for things we never even thought possible. After all, that is the beauty of technology and innovation.