Drones are increasingly becoming part of our airspace, with economists predicting they’ll be a $1bn (£679m) market by 2018 (the UK is set to be a leading manufacturer) and the House of Lords recently recommending compulsory registration of civilian drones.
They can deliver pizzas, film sequences of Harry Potter movies and Amazon shipped 20,000 of them in the run-up to Christmas.
Yet more UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are set to hover into view this month with two key events. London’s Business Design Centre hosts the SkyTech UAV Conference and Exhibition on 24 April. The free event promises to be a bustling marketplace for flying robots, with over 60 exhibitors. Discussions will range from using drones in agriculture to the controversial issue of UAV regulation.
Meanwhile, the role of civilian drones will be explored by British design group Superflux as part of the V&A’s All of This Belongs to You exhibition (1 April-19 July), which examines technology, security and citizenship to coincide with the general election.
THE NANO DRONE The micro-sized Zano, developed by start-up Torquing Group, is set to revolutionise aerial photography, with owners using mobile phones to take pictures from more altitudinous positions. Having recently raised £2m from Kickstarter, it goes on sale for £169.95 later this year.
THE DHL PARCELCOPTER Last year, German delivery company DHL beat Google and Amazon to become the first commercial outlet to use drones to make deliveries. The ‘parcelcopter’ can carry essential medicines to the remote island of Juist in a mere 17 minutes – quicker than waiting for the ferry.
THE ORVILLECOPTER When Bart Jansen’s cat was run over by a car, the Dutch artist decided to give his pet Orville (named after famous US aviator Orville Wright) his tenth life… by attaching motors and propellers to him and turning him into a radio-controlled drone.