From sci-fi to reality: 4 everyday uses for drones

Drones come in all shapes and sizes and range anywhere from a $50 toy to a multi-million dollar military tool. While there are hundreds of uses for drones, read on for some of the main ones.  

Mark Klein, a KFB Insurance property claim adjuster, inspects an insured's property using a drone.

When you hear the word “drone,” you may envision a sci-fi-like scene in which a flying robot drops a box of takeout directly on your doorstep or uses x-ray vision to spy on your neighbors. The truth is, drones are all around us – and chances are, they aren’t nearly as frightening as you think they are.   

So what exactly is a drone, anyway? According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a drone (technically referred to as an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS), is “an aircraft without a human pilot onboard … controlled from an operator on the ground.”

Sure, you’ve read the definition, but still… you have no idea what a drone is or what one is used for. Drones come in all shapes and sizes and range anywhere from a $50 toy to a multi-million dollar military tool. While there are hundreds of uses for drones, here are some of the main ones:

  1. For fun | In the past couple of years, personal hobby drones have exploded in popularity. Think of them as the futuristic big brother of the good ol’ fashioned remote-controlled car. These small and relatively inexpensive aircrafts are a blast to zip around your living room or over your backyard. Some of them even snap photos and video via a built-in camera or an iPhone hook-up.
     
  2.  Film/video | Drones are taking film and TV viewers to new heights – literally.  They’re increasingly showing up on sets as a cost-effective way to grab stunning aerial shots. According to the LA Times, a camera drone and crew costs as little as $5,000 a day, compared with at least $25,000 a day for a helicopter.  

    Many action films use drones to capture high-intensity scenes from a unique perspective. For example, drones were used in dozens of scenes for the action movie “The Expendables 3.”
     
  3. Insurance claims | Insurance companies are increasingly utilizing drones as a safer and more efficient way to inspect property damage. Claim adjusters are accustomed to braving tall ladders and risky roof heights in order to inspect and capture a few snapshots of damage. Drones are taking the sweat-inducing labor out of property inspections, allowing an adjuster to gather hundreds of high-definition images without ever leaving the ground.

    Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance is on the cutting edge of this trend. A pilot program for KFB claim adjusters rolled out in May 2017 and is expected to grow in the months ahead.
     

     
  4. Military | Drones arguably got their start in the military. They were performing top secret missions decades before they landed on the shelves of your local toy store. Today, military drones can fly up to heights of 65,000 feet for more than 24 hours at a time. They not only provide unparalleled warfighting capability abroad, but they’re also helpful with domestic needs like homeland security, border patrol and disaster relief.
     

Aside from these now everyday uses, the future of drones is still quite promising. With each release of new drone technology, unrealistic and futuristic visions are on the verge of becoming mainstream.

Amazon is currently developing a drone-delivery program, promising that “one day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road.” This isn’t far-off stuff, either. They’ve already made their first delivery – a bag of popcorn and an Amazon Fire stick were delivered to two customers in the U.K. in a mere 13 minutes.  In 2016, a New Zealand couple became the first couple in the world to have a pizza delivered by drone. Harvard is even experimenting with “Robobees,” which are half the size of a paper clip, weigh less than one-tenth of a gram, fly using “artificial muscles,” and may play a vital part in crop pollination as honeybee populations decline.

Still confused about drones? You’re not alone. Click here to brush up on the official details straight from the FAA.

>> Do you fly drones for business? Your KFB insurance agent can offer insurance for commercial drone usage. Click here to find an agent near you!