Is it profitable to hand out pizzas with drones?

Today, the drones take more and more plots of action, from putting out fires to even transport people. Amazon surprised the entire world by being the first organization that used a drone to send a package to a customer from the Uk in December 2016. This received your order 13 minutes after you have purchased. Yes, the delivery was made within a pilot project and in a test environment. The giant of electronic commerce, you still need to rely on other shipping companies to fulfill orders, but the reality is that these aircraft increasingly have more and more applications. Can you imagine riding in one to move? Do you think you can get to save lives?

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that are remotely controlled. Although until relatively recently they have been known as military instruments, their use outside of the battlefield has experienced a great growth in recent years. “This boom is due to the development of the technology used, which has improved communications and the ability of calculation and flight“, explains the secretary general of the association of companies of drones Droniberia, José Antonio Álvarez. “The sky of the world is going to fill up with drones,” he says.

Drones for all sectors

The result is that, although it is still an emerging industry, drones are increasingly in areas such as the audiovisual world, the infrastructure, precision agriculture, the environment, the surveillance and transport. They can also hand out pizza, but that is far from being the most disruptive.

One of the latest revolutions in this sense, has starred in the German brand Volocopter. This company has built the first model of the drone , which intended to exercise taxi in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). The apparatus, according to the company, you can travel 30 minutes and reach up to 100 kilometers per hour. This is a first prototype and the goal is to be in operation within five years.

It is not the only proposal that combines drones and transport of people. Uber, for example, is collaborating with Aurora Flight Sciences to create a taxi flying whose commissioning is scheduled for 2020. Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, is another convinced: allied with the company Kitty Hawkr to design your own vehicle, flying, Flyer.

Although impressive, still it’s hard to imagine these proposals on a large scale. However, there are sectors where the drone begins to be one more. An example is the environmental management, where, for example, each time employing more aircraft of this type for tasks of reforestation. The Uk company BioCarbon Engineering is one of pioneer companies. According to the information of the company, its drones are able to launch to 36,000 seeds a day, which is equivalent to reforesting 29,000 hectares per year.

Precisely, this company is one of the benchmarks of the founder of the start-up Spanish Greenflight, Joan Esteban Altabella, who was the local winner of the entrepreneurship program Santander’s YuzzExplorer2017 at the University Jaume I of Castellón (Spain). Greenflight is responsible for reforesting areas affected by fires and to detect degraded areas. “We use three types of drones: one of recognition and environmental monitoring, the other for work of reforestation, and a third that launches capsules fertilizers”, explains Altabella. “The drones enhance the effectiveness and safety. Also facilitate tasks that until now have been very complex”, he adds. “For example, through the bird’s-eye view of the drone you get quickly a picture of where you should act. In addition, it also reduces the costs of the intervention“.

The industrial sector also takes advantage of the advantages of these unmanned aircraft. “Used in industrial inspections, the control of photovoltaic fields, monitoring of works, the leak detection using thermal images and the location of places potentially polluting“, explains the chief technology officer of Zima Robotics and Drone Spain, Toni Lonjedo, who says that his company has already signed agreements with professional groups such as the fire department.

Lonjedo ensures that another area that begins to emerge is the boats are not manned to control the waters and to enhance the port security. For Lonjedo, a drone is a vehicle that is not manned, regardless of traveling by sea, land or air. In Zima Robotics, which is dedicated to industrial robotics, data processing and the development of industrial technology, collaborate in the present with Inforport to use this type drones maritime in the port of Valencia (Spain). “We use these drones to collect environmental samples, and thus control the waters with sensors that transmit information in real time,” says Lonjedo.

Obstacles to a sky filled with drones

The drones may not be used in any way, and each country has its own rules. The main rules have to do with not putting at risk third parties, to use the aircraft that day and not flying over crowds. “In Spain, it would be necessary to relax the rule and to clarify situations such as, for example, those in which it is allowed to fly over masses of people. On the contrary, it is desirable to be more restrictive with those that use drones without a license”, explains the spokesperson of Droniberia, José Antonio Álvarez.

However, for the development of this industry need something more that adequate regulation -in Europe we are working to create a common regulation-. Also it is essential that governments and enterprises go hand in hand. For Lonjedo, “it is necessary that the Directors should promote initiatives of collaboration between universities and companies to promote research and technology”.

To overcome this type of barriers is crucial for the drones to become massive. Yes, don’t forget one crucial factor: social acceptance. “Still we are not confident that our car will drive autonomously or in the aircraft does not have a pilot. The same thing happens with the drones, and although their complete integration into our routines is a thought of the future, each time is closer to our present,” concludes Lonjedo.