Unmanned Aerial Vehicle's (UAV's) or Drones as they are more commonly known, is an Aircraft where there is no pilot aboard.
These UAV's come under 2 main classifications; Remote (Controlled via a pilot over wireless communications) and Autonomous (Self-flying computer controlled). We are starting to see more of these devices mentioned in the media however, the concept of these devices have been around for well over 100 years.
Like a great deal of Aerospace technology, a large proportion of UAV Technology has been developed and trialled on Military applications in the first instance. The technical know-how has been passed down from the Military and now there are numerous Commercial and Civil projects being developed. With this in mind, what are the constraints to increasing the number of UAV’s in use?
There is currently some issues with both Remote and Autonomous craft being authorised by the CAA and FAA. This is partly due to the effect of having a much busier airspace, and the reliability of Autonomous Drone’s flying without any manual input (Are they susceptible to hacking?). Both of these issues are being looked at intensively by Governments and Authorities.
Legislation and laws differ from country to country, but in most countries you operate the unit within line of sight and below 400 feet above ground level. So will we start to see a lot more UAV's in everyday life?
The short answer is Yes! Aside from devices already in use by hobbyists we will start to see UAV's used for many commercial applications. Amazon is investigating using UAV's to deliver small parcels direct to people's homes, and not wanting to be left out of the race Facebook are testing "Internet Drones" to deliver wireless internet access to remote areas.
With some of the largest companies in the world heavily investing in UAV technology one thing's for sure, and that's that this technology is here to stay. So what does this mean for the Job Market?
There has already been a number of jobs created off the back of this industry taking off (excuse the pun!), and this is set to expand. With UAV’s being pilotless they can be Designed much smaller than traditional aircraft meaning a massive market for the Engineering of smaller components including the propulsion systems.
In addition the fly-by-wire systems have opened up new opportunities within control systems and IT. There are even jobs being advertised for UAV pilots across the internet for both military and commercial applications, although we haven’t been assigned to search for one at Technical Network yet!