Droning About Drones

Something that was in huge supply at CES were drones — little itty-bitty drones which can fit in the palm of your hand (the Nixie and the ZANO) all the way to huge drones which could deliver packages (I wonder if Amazon will be shipping via drone anyways, even though they said they weren’t — its super efficient) While I can’t compare it to previous years, its seemed that they are finally coming into their own as “gotta have” devices. Which is great.

Do you remember a few years ago when there was a company in San Francisco who wanted to deliver Mexican food via drone (Tacocopter, of course)? I think that the moment they announced that burritos were going to be flying over the heads of the fair citizens of the city, the government immediately banned (or actually, it had already been banned) drone food delivery, thus stopping them in their tracks before they even launched. I think that they did the same thing when the Segway was launched, they may have bent the rules a bit in order to allow for a few people to have them, including tour groups etc, but the issue is the same: every time some cool new innovation comes along to make our lives better, someone else freaks out and tries to shut it down.

Same for Uber, etc. The best, most interesting innovations, are dangerous to the status quo, which is why someone is always desperate to shut them down. If you think about it, most of the innovations are not just threats to the current status quo, but in reality liberate customers. For example, just like using Uber or Lyft liberate you from using taxi services, drones give typical human beings the ability to expand their sphere of influence.

And of course for some, this is bad. God forbid we let people have the tools to take pictures of themselves from further away than a selfie stick can do. Of course, you can use drones to fly over and spy on your neighbors too, but why go there first and shut them down? Let’s let the drones fly and see what we can do with them.

Of course, there could be an issue if they are too successful, imagine thousands and thousands of drones out there performing different tasks for different people, will even the smallest and cheapest drones be intelligent enough not to bump into each other? They will have to be.

Also, there’s another issue which all of these devices still have — and if you ask me this is a huge issue even outside the drone space but for everything kind of internet of things and wearable device, its battery life. That a topic for another post, but battery life is really holding us back as well.

At some point, I can see drones as our personal helpers, floating by our heads and helping us out when we need them. Kind of like Navi from Ocarina of Time, but less annoying. Imagine being in a store and asking your drone to check on which checkout line in the shortest. Or sending our drone to watch your kids walk home from school. Or when you are stuck in traffic, you open your window and send your drone on ahead to check out why there’s so much traffic, when it is clears up, or even get an even higher view to let you know which route is better.

Drones will make our lives better, if you ask me. I wonder if they will get the chance?

photo credit — don mcullough — flickr