In the movie Interstellar(2014, directed by Christopher Nolan), there is a scene where the main character, a man named Cooper, chases a drone and takes it with his children across a cornfield. This is one of the scenes in the movie that aroused public interest in drones, which are becoming more and more commercialized these days. In fact, the drone was chosen as one of the hottest products at the Consumer Electronic Show, the world’s biggest electronic products fair.
Moreover, Amazon, a global online retailer of books, electronics, apparel and so on, announced its plan to use a dronebased delivery system called “Prime Air” in 2013. It is a new way to achieve faster shipping, within an average of thirty minutes. Amazon has tried to automate stock management and circulation systems, and has also started an experimental service last year, receiving a patent for this service. As soon as Prime Air gains official authorization, the drone delivery service will be launched.
As drones become more commercialized, preparations and solutions for the possible side-effects need to be undertaken in order for the drone market to smoothly and successfully operate.
Classification of a Drone
A drone refers to an aircraft without a pilot that is operated by remote control. Drones are equipped with state of the art cameras and a Global Positioning System (GPS). When classified by the altitude at which drones fly, there are three types of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): high altitude endurance, medium altitude endurance, and low altitude. Among the high altitude models, “Global Hawk” is well known for its wide overview and ability to stay airborne for a long period of time while taking fine images and recording videos. Meanwhile, “Shadow 400” flies at medium altitude platform, providing observation and battle assessment missions in support of the naval forces. At a low altitude, “RemoEye” moves around filming in the direction the controller desires.
Also, drones are divided into another three groups depending on which power is used for flight. One type is the rotary wing drone in which power is generated from rotating surfaces. The second is the fixed wing drone that use power from stationary wings. While fixed wing drones require a large space to take off from, rotary wing drones are a bit tricky to manipulate the flight because of complicated steering gear. The third type of drone has an electric flotation function, overcoming both the previously mentioned limitations.
The basic principle of a drone is similar to that of a helicopter. Rotors, wings that look like those on helicopters’, and propellers are what make drones stay afloat. The propellers are aligned diagonally and spun in an opposite direction, which enables a drone to fly in the air. Propellers are connected to the engine and the drone moves in accordance to the number of rotations. Drones go up when the generating power of all engines raises. If a user makes the output of the engines on the left lower than the ones on the right, the drone turns left as the difference of the generation breaks the balance.
Where and How Drones Are Utilized
Drones were used for military purpose at first because they do not put a pilot’s life at risk in combat zones. In the 1990s, drones also played an important role in high-tech weapon development. In the military, fixed wing drones are the most common. When thrust and lift generators separately gain airspeed, fixed wings create lift and enable flight. Fixed wings include main and tail wings. Main wings have ailerons, sections on the back edge of the wing raised or lowered to control the aircraft’s movement, and flaps. Tail wings have vertical rudders and elevators that control pitch to enable the change of an angle of attack.
Now with the rise of wireless technology, drones are available in different industries such as broadcasting and in film. Viewers can easily recognize that drones were used to film certain scenes due to the unique angles and large views presented. Granpa over Flowers, a TV program where old celebrities travel abroad, was famous for its beautiful scenes in Greece taken with drones.
A drone that is used particularly for broadcasting is called a helicam or quadcopter. It usually comes in the form of a remote-controlled mini helicopter used to obtain aerial pictures or motion images using video, still, or motion film cameras. Helicams are usually sent to places where humans cannot go. Helicams are composed of a Flight Control Computer(FCC) and visual transmitter called “On Screen Display (OSD) board.” The FCC is attached to a drone and changes directions under the control of the users. Pictures and videos that a drone took while moving here and there are sent and shown to the user through OSD board.
A drone can carry out significant tasks in which saving people’s lives is involved. For instance, in an ongoing flying experiment at Haeundae Beach in Busan, life guards observe beach visitors using flying drones and send signals to alert emergency responders when an accident occurs. Moreover, drone controllers can help swimmers in danger by quickly releasing safety vests attached to the drones. Next year, drones will be set up at all the beaches in Korea after its performance trial test is over.
Potential Problems with Drones
As flying drones can capture a broad view, numerous people are likely to be in pictures or videos. “Flying a drone and taking pictures sounded very interesting to me. So I purchased one to use on
vacation and now it is my hobby,” said Oh Se-jin, a Master’s student of Physics at Hanyang University.
However, if someone intentionally uses drones to record others, this could trigger legal issues involving invasion of privacy. In fact, 46 percent of 300 Hanyangians surveyed by The Hanyang
Journal said they were worried about privacy issues regarding drones.
Also, drones can pose a threat to public safety. It is conceivable for a terrorist group to use drones to drop toxic materials on their unsuspecting targets. Or drones can simply crash into helpless pedestrians. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 25 cases about drone accidents per month are reported.
Potential Growth of the Drone Market and Areas for Improvement
“To commercially expand the drone market, popularization is the key. The more youngsters use drones, the more creative ideas of using drones will come out, ” said Park Seok-jong , a Representative of the Korea Drone Industry Association. However, appropriate laws need to be implemented to keep up with the speed of commercialization. According to Jin Jung-hoi, a Representative of Xdrone, a Korean company producing compact drones, “Drones should be restricted by law depending on the purpose of use, and compact drones should be regulated by special laws. With suitable systems and laws in place, the drone market can successfully grow and reach a broad level of commercialization.”