Autonomous Flight: Amazing. Useful. Frightening?

We at The Drone Show have been doing more and more autonomous flying. Our original foray into such missions, we used Drone Deploy for agriculture and elevation mapping. It’s a solid bit of software, and was amazing to see the results that even idiots such as us could achieve. We totally understand that we are not surveyors or engineers and that individuals and businesses could not use our results where those credentials are necessary. But… seriously, the output is real and, for the most part, pretty dead-on. There are limitations, of course. We have had more than one map that couldn’t complete because there was too much movement below – wind moving trees or the like. One location, we went out three times, and never actually got a complete mapping.

We then moved on to Litchi and Autonomous/Hangar. This is where, for us, it really got to be fun. With little experience, it is possible to jump right in and create really stunning visuals. It’s also, of course, a bit frightening to think what someone with nefarious intentions could do with a sub-$1000 drone, $30 in software, and too much time on their hands. The news will pick up stories like this and run with them, of course – that is how they pay the bills. However, it is important (we think) to keep in mind that, with every technological advance, there are people who will misuse it. Whether it is steel, guns, cars, planes, genetic engineering, or drones. There will always be a small percentage of knuckleheads who make things a little bit scary for the rest of us.

But, the flip side, is that it gives the rest of us opportunities to create wonderful visuals, help with search and rescue, or maintain our businesses more simply and elegantly.

Advancement in technology has never not been messy. That is not likely to change in the future. What we are seeing today, though, was inconceivable by most people just a couple generations ago. It is exciting. It is useful. And, yes, it can also a bit frightening at times. However, it’s our belief that, like most of the advancements we’ve seen, that the good will outweigh the bad. Hopefully, we are correct in our belief.

Checking walls for Vulcan Materials using autonomous mission programmed in Litchi: