Drones, an emerging technology, comments by Francisco Yance

NAna is a woman living in a small rural community in Omenago in the eastern part of Ghana.. Lying on a table at the health center, she stares at the sky as her eyes gradually close, her life seeming to fade away. The disease he is fighting so hard can only be cured by medicines 80 kilometers away in the nearest hospital. As there are no roads in the area and the forest trails are difficult to navigate, transporting them by road is unthinkable. Suddenly little Nana Notice what appears to be a parachute that opens automatically, descending from the sky. The package, which was dropped by a drone while flying over the health center, traveled at a speed of 100 km/h after being ordered by a health center employee and reached its destination within an hour of its arrival. Nana doesn’t know it yet, but the package contains drugs that will save her life.

This story sounds like science fiction, but it’s not.. Ghana has the largest medical drone delivery network in the world. Zipline supplies more than 200 different vaccines, blood products and medicines to 2,500 health centers, serving nearly 22 million people. Thanks to this technology, many remote rural communities in Ghana now have 24-hour access to medical resources. Seven days a week from four distribution centers. Each distribution center is equipped with 30 drones and is capable of 500 flights every day. It will undoubtedly help save the lives of people who may lose their lives in childbirth, snake bites, accidents and other life-threatening emergencies.

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The word drone has been part of the lexicon of the Royal Spanish Academy since 2014. Recorded as a Spanish adaptation of the English noun drone (male bee or drone), it is now a common name for unmanned aerial vehicles. Due to their weight and dimensions, they can be distinguished as nanodrones (the size of an insect), microdrones or minidrones (for smaller instruments, less than 25 kg) or simply, drones. In their military use, these aircraft are known by their acronym UCAV, unmanned combat aircraft.

The first person to remotely control an aerial vehicle – by radio – was English engineer Archibald Lowe, who achieved this milestone in 1917. Unfortunately, he had to face so many accidents and malfunctions that the British Royal Air Force soon lost interest in its progress. However, this technology offered so many possibilities to the world of war that its evolution was inevitable. Their mode of operation, quiet and effective operation and the advantage of not endangering lives in attack have made them the weapon of choice for many armies and are already an essential part of most countries’ arsenals.

America was the first to produce them on a large scale. He did it in 1941 with a radioplane, which was used as a flying target during the training of pilots and gunners. World War II. And more recently, in the war in Ukraine, drones have become the weapon of choice, a new weapon that is profoundly changing the way wars are fought. Predator or Reaper models are not the only ones used, sometimes very expensive and large. What we’re seeing in Ukraine represents an explosion in the use of small commercial-grade drones that have been adapted to carry things like grenades or provide artillery with information about potential targets. The latest development allows drones to “sleep” for weeks before striking. Drones are positioned at dominant heights such as rooftops of buildings and do not need to travel far to reach the target when the time comes. The drone is now in place. All you need to do is power and attack.

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But beyond the usual military or recreational purposes, the reality is that drones are becoming cheaper, more efficient, and safer every day., which amplifies its potential applications and provides unprecedented opportunities for many fields. Telefónica has developed a program that will manage fleets of autonomous drones to perform surveillance tasks such as detecting access by unauthorized persons to a location, verifying events and maintaining critical infrastructure.

There is a program at the University of Seville Ariel-Cor, with which they piloted a lightweight drone-robot capable of working on high-voltage power lines, i.e. installing scarecrow devices required by regulation to prevent birds from tripping over cables and causing danger. Electric shock. There are drones to monitor the presence of sharks on New York’s beaches. The system monitors the water and has a display of cameras and artificial intelligence that automatically detects the presence of sharks in the water and protects the reef by notifying them if an approaching shark is detected.

In Galicia, Leroy Merlin led an effort to reforest the hills of the Pontevedra municipality of Cerdeto-Cotobate, which had been hit by severe fire. The CO2 Revolution company was hired to reforest, It used drones to seed and plant 250,000 trees from the air, in record time and with maximum guarantee and efficiency. NASA has announced that its next target in the solar system will be Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. It will send a Dragonfly-like drone as part of the Dragonfly mission, which will launch in 2026 and arrive at Titan in 2034. These are just a few examples of the ever-increasing new technology.

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By 2050, the drone sector will create 150,000 jobs in the EU and generate €15 billion in annual profits. In my opinion, this is a great economic opportunity for regions that know how to see it, a high-speed train that we should not miss.

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