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Drones may save time and money in civilian roles


Although it is commonly known that drones were originally created for military uses, it is no longer true that the military is the only suitable sector for unmanned aerial machinery.

Retired U.S. Air Force pilot Bradley Ward, who has nine years of experience with drone aircraft, will prove it to you. He will teach an introductory course in North Idaho College about alternative uses of drones.

Ward piloted Predator drones in the Middle East from a base in Nevada, helped manage unmanned aircraft programs at the Pentagon and commanded a Global Hawk reconnaissance squadron in California.

“The advantages that unmanned aircraft have over manned aircraft tend to be endurance, The Global Hawk, for example, can stay airborne 36 hours, with pilots on the ground changing shifts every eight hours to stay alert. That’s likely to appeal to companies like FedEx for long cargo flights,” Ward said.

Here are some areas where UAV could shine according to Ward:

Precision agriculture: Unmanned aircraft hold huge potential for precision agriculture. The planes can digitally survey large tracts of land and pinpoint areas that may need more water, fertilizer or herbicides.

Search and rescue: Search and rescue missions in the backcountry could be streamlined with drones equipped with infrared technology

Long cargo flights: Long endurance of UAVs may cause that in the future we will see more and more commercial parcel services using drones.