The roles of drones today and in the future

September 16, 2022

Marlo

It’s an in person type of thing. But when you really think about the technology, I mean you, you can basically program it to do whatever you want. I mean, you think of each. Each light that’s on that drone is like a pixel on your television screen. Right. And imagine how, or, or like an LED sign and now they can do this in the sky so they can make the flag wave in the sky, or they can take a company logo and paint it in the sky. Or they can pretend they’re a cloud floating through the sky. I mean, it’s incredible.

Steve

I do that all the time. Yeah.

Marlo

Hey mom, that’s a dinosaur up there! Well done. It really is.

Steve

But, part of the technology with this is, it’s called swarm technology, right?

Marlo

Yeah, and, and this is probably, you know, one of the nice uses of swarm technologies as opposed to the killer drone.

Steve

Yeah. And, and attack stuff that you that’s the military application, that’s the military. That’s probably where more people are familiar with that term.

Marlo

Yes. And, and, you know, swarm technologies are being used around our Naval. Boats right now, for example, because of imagine the ability to—

Steve

Detonate a missile coming in before it gets there.

Marlo

Well, and they, they can take, and the technology swarm technology allows you to take like every lifeboat that’s on the aircraft carrier and drop it in the water and, and actually have an on-man perimeter around the boat. And if there’s, if there’s like a gunship coming at you, you can actually 

take these boats and just take ’em right to that and, and not put anybody in harm’s way. it’s amazing. And how do you shoot down or take out a hundred boats coming at you?

Steve

You don’t.

Marlo

That’s the point and, and, but it’s scary at the same time, because if we have this technology, now this will be something that everybody else will have sometime in the future. So then there’s anti swarm technologies being developed as well. Uh, I just feel like we’re Star Wars, drone war type of scenario. Right. It just seems like we’re getting to that point.

Steve

Right. Somebody’s gonna set off an EMP and that will be that,

Marlo

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That is, that is a potential, you know, for taking out swarms is, is a smaller EMP type of burst, you know, that would disable not the entire area.

Steve

Yeah. Small directional bursts, right. Because that technology’s there somewhere. So let’s go back to the friendly side of things with the swarm technology. So light shows and. Really cool America’s Got Drones. I can see, see it right now.

Marlo

Wouldn’t that be cool to have five eight companies show up, develop, you know, we, we developed the guidelines for this show and then some evening the whole Bismarck Mandan community could come out and watch five to eight of these shows and vote on which one they thought was the most popular, uh, and see what they come up with. I think we would be stunned and amazed. So on the, on the other side of swarming technologies too, uh, pollinators, are you familiar with this?

Steve

Okay, so there’s been a lot of talk about bees um, bees getting. It’s decimated and, and they’re not sure why in North Dakota. Yeah. So there’s, they could fill a roll of bees, butterflies. Yeah. Moths.

Marlo

So you, you can have these, these like miniature drones that will buzz around in a field and, you know, they have the technology that they can zero in on, on, and then they land in the flower and then they just move to the next one and move to the next one. Help with the pollination. You know, it’s really interesting, uh, that we’re coming up with maybe a little bit of a manmade solution to this. 

The other thing that’s interesting, you know, a lot of it is, I don’t know if you know this. But there’s a lot of theory around the waves that we use for our cell phones. And you know, there, of course there’s a lo of talk about, you know, pesticides and how that may be impacting the B population as well. it’s probably a combination of a bunch of things. It’s kind of a find out if you’re interested in this technology or not type of scenario.

Steve

Right. Get the toe in the water.

Marlo

Yep. That’s exactly right. They find out. You know, we talk about privacy concerns, safety concerns, all of these things are talked about. Um, there’s a parade of, of leaders in the field of, of UAVs that come through and talk about these different things.

You know, we have a lot of representation from U N D uh, and all energy, or is it Enel?

It’s E N E L.One of these days, I need to ask them how they pronounce the name of their company, but, uh, they’re really big in, into wind energy, of course, in the state and, and other parts of the country and drones of course, are an important part of that for them, for inspection. Yeah. So, they’re a really big proponent of this, so it’s really, really important to these industries to make sure that our young people are, you know, getting versed in this technology. Uh, because it really plays an important role in energy as we move forward and, and, you know, and other things in this state, uh, I mean, I think agriculture and UAV, uh, go in hand. I mean, precision agriculture is such an important thing now and gonna become even more important as we move forward.

Yeah. It’s just unheard of anywhere. Great story. And that’s where I came to the, the understanding that UAV is just a platform. So precision agriculture could be precision mapping. In the oil field or inspections for a wind turbine or power lines or pipelines. And that’s where a lot of that took off in the energy sector in North Dakota was out of that program that we had that discussion. And it all stemmed from precision agriculture.

Well, and I mean, you, you think about over a quarter of land, for example, I mean, the, the theory in the, or what they used to do in the past, you just spray the whole field. Right? Well, that’s a lot of land, lot of chemicals, right. You have, you have, uh, micro, micro climate that are going on in that field. I mean, there might be a scenario where a shower came through and only one third of it got a little bit of rain while the rest of it did not, or vice versa. And, and, and that one third of the field now has more. Type of insects on it or whatever, you know, right. This is what happens in this. So, so I think precision ag is really really important it does very, just adding that in there to think about, um, I’m just thinking even blue collar work. Right? 

So instead of you painting a 14 story building, you’re now running a drone, that’s up there with the sprayer equipment that goes back and forth. I mean, so you don’t have to be on a scaffold or a ladder or anything like that, which is dangerous. I’m just throwing scenarios out here, anything to do with height that we can’t normally access.

Steve

So, or the guy that has to clean the, uh, hose with the camera on it, that you have to run you. Well, you don’t have to touch the walls. You don’t have to touch any of that drone.

Marlo

That’s right. That’s right. So I think you really have to think more broadly when it comes to, these are the things that we can do now, precision a and all this stuff, but as drones get stronger and, uh, and robotics become better, I think there’s gonna be all kinds of uses with drones that we haven’t even dreamed up yet. 

So it’s almost like playing a video game for the people who are racing these drones. You know, when you have a drone. That’s you know, 17 inches wide and they’re taking it through 18 inch hula hoop type of scenarios, right? You’re like how in the world are they even flying through these things and fast? 

This is like NASCAR in the air.

I truly believe that by the year 3000, we would have some type of flying vehicle that would be somewhat readily available to the general public. You know, now granted we’re 20 years later than that. Couple years actually. I mean, everybody always asks me, well, what happens if you run into another flying car or whatever, we have figured this out on a flat surface of ground or of earth, right? There was much more space when we went up into the sky. I mean, you set these things up and you never have to worry about running into anybody or anything.

But I guarantee you that you could fly it from where you park your boat to the river and down the river a little ways. I mean, you’re within the hundred foot or 200 foot cap of flying these things around; actually it’s 400. Uh, but that’s really interesting. That’s crazy interesting.

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