DJI Spark Alpine White at UAVs World

Global Drone Tech Comes to Lancashire

How drones are changing the future of local life

DJI Spark drone, Alpine White available in the UAVs World Shop
Image: DJI Spark. Available in the shop.

The first instance of a drone-like piece of equipment being used was 1849, when unmanned balloons were used to drop Austrian bombs over Venice. During the world wars, western countries updated this model, replacing balloons with wings, and improving the controllability of the vehicles. In more recent wars, drones have been used for global reconnaissance as well as incendiary transport, and these principles of transport and videography have been carried forwards into the 21st century.

Today, drones are still used in the military, but have also been developed in China and across Europe to be used in everything from cinema to carrying civilian aid in warzones. It’s difficult to see how such advanced and futuristic-seeming technology could fit into the daily lives of normal people, but they are even being purpose-built to deliver parcels for companies such as Amazon, and are becoming an affordable piece of hobby-tech.

In Nelson, the first local drone shop has just opened its doors to the people of Lancashire. UAVs World is a hub for the latest drone technology (as its long name, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles World”, does suggest). Currently, the shop offers drones at every price level to be bought or hired, and will soon be converting the shop space into a flying course, where people can practice handling drones for any reason from filming for a media project to competitive racing in one of the many emerging drone-racing leagues.

Drone-racing began in America, where it became popular enough to be frequently televised, before spreading to Canada, Australia, and the UK. In Lancashire, it already has a following, and is set to grow as racing drones become more developed and affordable. There are national and international tournaments, and local leagues are likely to spring up in places like Lancashire where there are shops and organisations (like UAVs World) which cater to all aspects of competition.

Drone-use is particularly relevant to Lancashire. As well as the aforementioned uses, drones are commonly being utilised in agriculture, and with the UK’s highest demand in farmland being in the North-West of England, there is no shortage of people who could benefit from the help of drones in monitoring crop health and spreading fertiliser. In the same vein, drones can also be used in wildlife monitoring, which is relevant to both farming and the general lives of people who live amongst the Lancashire fauna.

Increasing crop yields is just one of many ways that drones could increase profits or save money. In delivery, UAVs diminish the need for petrol, which not only saves money on the ever-rising price of fuel, but is better for the air quality and environment.

If not drone users themselves, then most people are likely to have benefitted from their use. Across the UK, there are endless other uses for UAVs, such as law enforcement, building management, and geographic mapping. Construction companies in Lancashire and beyond could save money and time by using drones to check the safety of their structures in building and demolition contexts. This would also decrease the human risk of these necessary tasks.

The unmanned aspect of UAVs makes them incredibly safe in other situations, too. Though not commonly used in disaster management, they have massive potential to be a safe and effective way of helping people to escape from fires, collapsed buildings, and avalanches, etc. In a situation such as a high-rise building fire, drones could be used to check for signs of life where it would be unsafe for the emergency services to enter the premises. This could make rescue efforts faster, and mortality rates lower in the most extreme circumstances.

All of this can be done remotely, not only keeping people safe, but making the jobs and hobbies associated with drones accessible to people who cannot travel far from their homes temporarily or permanently. Drones can ever be controlled from overseas, as military drones are frequently flown from one country into another, where they perform complex reconnaissance from thousands of miles away.

Overall, drones are set to have an impact on many aspects of daily life of every different type of person, particularly in Lancashire, where the culture and landscape make it a prime area for drone use to flourish, and UAVs world is there to facilitate what is expected to be high demand for quality drones, accessories, training, and flight space. The nature of drones makes them accessible for people from all walks of life, and the existence of flight clubs and rental services makes it easier for people to try them out before making big commitments. The drone industry spans many areas, and their possibilities in Lancashire are endless. The history of drones and how they are being used across the world now is interesting, but not as important as how they could be used locally in the (very near) future.

Alex Abrahams