By Harun Yahya
Even though drones are simply a product of unmanned aircraft technology, today, they are associated with death. The reason for this is the increasing prominence of the military applications of UAV technology and their capability to carry bombs.
That being said, drones are rapidly becoming an important technological asset for relief efforts and the development of the health sector. God inspires scientists with such advanced technology that will be used for all of humanity, particularly in our era. Ideally, this important technology should be utilized for cooperation and aid efforts instead of bloodshed. It seems like the peaceful use of drones can also provide substantial contributions to the economies of countries. For example, in the past few days, the International Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVS) has announced that, if the intended civil use of drone systems can be ensured, it will provide employment opportunities for more than 70,000 people in the US in three years and will create an influx of $13.6 billion to the economy.
Numerous projects where drones are used for peaceful purposes are gradually being implmented. One of these projects is taking place in Rwanda, one of the smaller countries of Africa.
Rwanda is a country where people mainly live in rural areas. In this tropical country, the primary means of accessing health care services is through community clinics. However, it is impossible to store blood products in these community clinics. It can take four to six hours to transport blood products or other medical supplies with a vehicle. This is undoubtedly a very long time, which can result in the loss of lives in some emergency situations. If we consider the fact that birth often puts the mothers at risk of bleeding, the importance of quick medical intervention becomes clearer. Zipline, a California-based robotics company, is able to utilize drones to transport blood products and vaccines to wherever they are needed in Rwanda. The goal of Zipline in this non-profit program is to install drone stations to cover the entire country, each of which services an area with a 75 km diameter. In Malawi, blood samples from infants born to HIV-positive parents are being transported by drones. There is also a small distribution network in the Dominican Republic.
In the US, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a drone system managed by healthcare workers via their mobile phones. It is believed that, besides distributing medical supplies, this project can also be used to find people who have become stranded in dangerous areas.
Another example of the peaceful use of drones can be seen in South Africa. South Africa is using drones to detect and prevent poachers that target elephants and rhinos. Drones can even provide surveillance for areas 33 kilometers away from where they take off. Another country that utilizes drones for similar purposes is the United Arab Emirates. Wadi Wurayah, the national park of the country, is being monitored by drones with a range of 40 kilometers.
Drones also have the capability to provide information about the formation of tropical storms or hurricanes. In this regard, NASA is using its Hawk model drones, which can carry out 30 hour-long flights. NASA aims to measure atmospheric moisture, chemical compositions and radiation and gas levels at high altitudes, and investigate various other meteorological conditions via drones with a project called ATTREX.
A company in Orleans, France, is working on assembling small buildings with polystyrene foam which can be carried by small drones. Instead of through remote control, these drones are ultimately intended to work autonomously with the help of artificial intelligence.
In one of its reports in March 2013, the International Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (AUVS) points out that the use of drones can make agricultural spraying far more efficient at lower cost.
One of the most promising areas for drones is cargo transportation. Indeed, Amazon has already patented it. The goal of the project is to distribute the products ordered from the website with drones. Amazon completed its first tests at the beginning of 2017 and even determined the procedure to be followed in case the distribution fails for some reason.
It is also possible to conduct offshore observation with drones. Drones using artificial intelligence and scanning a specific area can predict many potential disasters by monitoring refugee trafficking or detecting oil leaks. With a similar monitoring procedure, forest fires can also be detected before they get out of control.
Due to the rapidly developing technology, drones can make life easier for everyone by offering invaluable services for humanity. They will undoubtedly become even more beneficial in the future as their flight distances and load capacities increase. Moreover, it is also a great convenience that by means of artificial intelligence, they will one day be able to function on their own without someone controlling them.
But there are also some problems that need to be solved for this to happen. First of all, the legal regulations necessary for the use of drones must be perfected; there is currently a considerable vagueness regarding drone use. For instance, low-priced drones that offer camera surveillance could well constitute a threat for privacy. Another matter is the problem of flight routes, which will eventually become an issue as drone usage becomes more widespread. Pre-determined air routes, similar to those used by civilian aviation, may become necessary for drones as well. Otherwise, a drone can fall on people’s head while walking down the road or sitting at a cafe.
Even though it seems like it will take some time, drones may end up being the harbingers of a new world of peace and convenience. Instead of being a source of horror with the bombs they carry, they can be a ray of hope for many people with the aid they bring and the contributions they make for humanity. This will only be possible if the voices of the supporters of peace overwhelm the cries for war.
[Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pen-name Harun Yahya, has authored some 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific issues which have been read by millions of people, exerting considerable influence on both Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world. Visit his website www.HarunYahya.com to k now more. He tweets @harun_yahya]