When we talk about aerial videography, there’s hardly any technology as practical and effective as drone cameras. Besides discussing the uses of drones in India in the travel and tourism sector, I am going to discuss the extensive application of this technology in other industries too. As an avid traveller and backpacker, I have interacted with renowned photographers and videographers who are pros of using drones.
Drones are actually unmanned aerial vehicles that have been experimented with since the early 20th century. Thanks to the digital revolution, we now have tiny microprocessors. This has made drones one of the best technologies for aerial videography and long-distance communication.
Currently, the usage of drones encompasses crucial sectors like agriculture, military, civilian application, and mining. It’s amazing to explore the extensive applications of drones, particularly for leisurely activities. For hikers, backpackers, travel vloggers, and storytellers like me, the development of affordable drones has been a blessing!
1. Recreational Purposes
While I would use the term ‘recreation’ for most users, professional videographers largely count on drone technology to capture compelling visuals.
It was back in 2017 when I practically witnessed how photographers use drone cameras to capture aerial views of mountains during my Zuluk trip in East Sikkim. As technology of drones gained popularity among hikers and travellers, I found many of my trek mates equipped with these devices during my Sandakphu and Kashmir Great Lakes Treks.
Whether it comes to vlogging, travel photography and videography, or events like weddings and concerts, drone cameras come in handy to capture the bird’s eye view. However, when I talk about the usage of drones for recreational purposes, it pays to explore the scope of travel photographers.
The craze with camera drones among travel photographers stems from a genuine reason. Drones can capture compelling photos and videos from angles that DSLRs cannot. Besides, they can easily fly to places that are difficult to access and take video clips.
2. Agricultural Uses
Although the inception of drones in the agricultural sector has been relatively late compared to the Western countries, the trend has picked up the pace. India is an agrarian economy, which makes this technology a great perk for agriculturalists. Ranging from soil health assessment to monitoring crop health, the use of drones for agricultural purposes has been phenomenal.
Using drones in the agricultural sector ensures the optimal utility of the resources. This way, farmers have been able to scale up their farm outputs. Eventually, the drone technology has empowered them to produce export-quality crops at lower production costs.
Apart from assessing the health of crops and farmers, drones are used for spraying the right doses of pesticides, fertilizers, and fungicides. Compared to manual efforts, drones can spray these with more accuracy in terms of quantity and speed. This also ensures that the crops receive the right amounts of fertilizers and pesticides.
3. Military And Defence
While discussing the different applications of drones in India, it would be a miss if I don’t talk about military operations and defence. Drones continue to be alert sentinels on intruders across borders, significantly leveraging security. Particularly, these are strategic defence weapons that give an eye to the military even in high altitudes amidst severe weather conditions.
Currently, the Indian army is using a larger variety of drones capable of carrying a payload. These military-grade drones assist soldiers by transporting weapons and other defence essentials across challenging terrains and gorges.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian army used drones in the North East to deliver vaccines in terrains difficult to access. This was a pilot project led by the ICMR, where indigenously developed drones were used.
Among the more sophisticated usage of drones, I would like to mention the scope of using drones to plan and carry out counter-terrorism attacks.
4. Mining Operations
One of the most practical uses of drones is their ability to survey- lands. India continues to house treasure troves of natural resources and minerals.
The respective departments are using drones to evaluate and manage these resources as well as water bodies. Particularly in the oil and gas sector, industrial drones are being used for security purposes. These are also necessary for emergency response and asset safety monitoring.
In this context, I would tell you that drones are powerful tools for surveying. Using drones, miners can obtain real-time information to carry out their operations. Besides, they help in detecting dangers deep under the ground and thereby prevent accidents. Eventually, industrial drones can make mining operations much easier.
Mining drones come integrated with sophisticated sensors. These sensors help miners obtain volumetric measurements of their excavations, settlement mapping, and coal stock records.
5. Security Services
In India, the video surveillance infrastructure around commercial spaces has evolved rapidly. Among the most striking applications of drones, I would talk about the ability of drones to augment human guards.
Remote-controlled or pre-programmed drones can patrol specified areas and capture aerial videos to ensure security. This way, drones can help in keeping incidents like break-ins at bay.
Currently, many startups in India are developing AI-powered drone cameras. These are powerful devices integrated with video cameras that can stream visuals 24/7.
Thanks to AI technology, drones can now automatedly identify intrusions or dangerous objects to spark alarms. Whether it’s perimeter intrusion, identification of weapons, or anomalous behaviour, drone cameras can detect and ensure real-time awareness.
In parking zones, the high-accuracy cameras in drones are capable of comparing license plates. This way, the technology empowers security staff to identify unauthorized vehicles or stolen cars.
6. Media And Communication
The concept of ‘drone journalism’ is relatively new, and it seamlessly complements the traditional concept of photojournalism. With drone journalism, news agencies and channels get an ‘eye in the sky’.
Whether it comes to demonstrating how crowded a venue or rally is or where exactly an accident took place, the bird’s eye perspective turns out to be crucial. So, while listing the uses of drones, it would be a sin to miss out on drone journalism.
Being a journalist-turned-travel writer, I am aware of the challenges that photojournalists encounter while covering disturbed areas. With drones, they have been empowered with a relatively safe and cost-effective instrument to carry out their professional pursuits. When it comes to serious issues in the ambit of investigative journalism, drones have untapped potential.
7. Future Uses Of Drones
While science fiction like flying cars and mobile phones, have been translated into reality, why not think about practical fantasies?
In the near future, drones might be used for the delivery of eCommerce products in India. Currently, the usage of drones is limited since the government authorities are yet to give a green signal to the application of drones for shipping and delivery. Imagine ordering a burger or a pizza and getting it delivered to your rooftop!
In the construction industry, too, the applications of drones remain to be fully tapped. Likewise, you cannot overlook the use of these aerial cameras in search and rescue operations as well.
Well, I have discussed the main uses of drones in India here in this article. While I have focussed on the practical aspects, several other applications exist. For instance, the film industry has already been using drones extensively for aerial shots over the last decade.
Besides, with smart cities coming up in India, drones are likely to be a key instrument in city planning and monitoring. Besides, the technology can come in handy for traffic management too.
If you are a travel photographer or want to purchase a drone camera, look out for the best models. The aerial views will bring you a new dimension to videography altogether.