Drones: 10 Novel Uses For Your City - InformationWeek

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7/23/2015
07:05 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Drones: 10 Novel Uses For Your City

Drones are becoming more than mere law enforcement adjuncts, as cities find new ways to save money and even raise revenue with the unmanned aerial vehicles.
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(Image: ivansmuk/iStockphoto)

(Image: ivansmuk/iStockphoto)

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/27/2015 | 1:22:15 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@yalanand- I think the problem with street cleaning is having access to water or carrying heavy blowers around on an affordable drone. There's a reason no one cleans city streets with a helicopter, right?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/27/2015 | 1:17:29 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@nasimon- Well, even if we do see drones cleaning buildings, this list was more on what cities were doing and since cities own few skyscrapers, they are less likely to take advantage. Maybe I'll do a followup on commercial uses for drones that looks into use cases like that.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/27/2015 | 1:09:21 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@progman2000- Right, I'm of two minds about arming a drone (even with pepper spray) for law enforcement. With all the trouble we have with police shooting unarmed people, I'm not thrilled about a drone possibly doing it. On the other hand, drones don't get nervous. They don't have racial or gender bias. They have sensors that are better than the eye. They don't fear for their lives. It is possible that a drone will make better decisions than a person on when to fire.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
7/23/2015 | 2:59:26 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@David I love the idea of self-cleaning glass. I'd also love a self-cleaning floor, counter top, etc. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/23/2015 | 2:56:26 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@ariella- I suspect that would be a relatively easy concept, but I think by the time that can be done safely, skyscrapers will be build mostly with self-cleaning glass: http://phys.org/news/2011-12-glass.html

 
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
7/23/2015 | 2:54:38 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
But will they do windows? Seriously, can a drone be designed to clean windows on skyscrapers so that window washers don't have to go up high to do it?
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/23/2015 | 2:41:36 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@stratustician- Right, economies of scale are important for the tech. Though interestingly, scale for pilots might hurt costs. 

But here's a general thought on how to use them better I wish I had thought to include in the article. It was inspired by your comment. 

What drones allow us to do is work in 3 dimensions. Basically, people can only work safely in two dimension. They need bulky safety equipment to start working vertically. Drones won't take over all the work. But the might take over the 3D work.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/23/2015 | 12:42:48 PM
Re: Call me a skeptic
@embeetee- I hear you. I'm sure that not all of these will work. I, for one, am worried about the lack of qualified pilots eventually making the whole thing really expensive.

But it seems clear to me that at least some of the early movers are doing some interesting things that are working. It seems fair with a new technology to let people try to do a lot of things with it and then hone in on what works. Personally, I expect soon that we'll see cities turn more to revenue makers like drone meter maids or speed traps or something.

But I think your basic premise is right-- not all of these will be as cheap as we hope.

Oh, by the way, the Predator has military level sensors on it. I can't explain the way they work. I assume magnetism or something, but we know they do work because they've been in use in Afghanistan and Iraq for some time.

The planting has been tested. It works more on a quantity rather than quality way. It drops tons of seedlings into an area knowing only some will take root.

But yes, not all of this will work or at the price we hope it will work.
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