Medicine delivery in disconnected rural areas is big challenge. Thus drones may be very helpful towards that direction. So far commercial drones can be piloted by an operator seeing the drone or using the First-Person-View monitor, but in both cases there is a range limitation. Autonomous navigation systems exist using GPS reading and removing the range limitation. However, these flights have no control on avoiding obstacles, like trees or houses, and landing in a safe place is considered very challenging. We are developing a system to overcome all limitations already mentioned where the drone using a monocular camera and a GPS can travel towards the goal position avoiding obstacles using artificial vision algorithms. This will make the drone’s delivery safe and allows the last mile delivery of rare medical supply in rural areas.
What additional industries do you think will be disrupted by drones in the future?
Drones could be helpful in various areas. Industry could use drones for object delivery, for inspections and rescue tasks, message passings, mapping, or even tourist guidance.
What developments can we expect to see in drones in the next 5 years?
Since drones can carry right now only light weight objects and the battery does not last for long, for the next 5 years drones will be mainly used for inspection, for instance in disaster scenarios. We imagine breakthroughs in weight management and battery life (e.g. the solar panel on the Aquila-Drone) will come as well.