On 16 July, Pakistan accused India of spying on it, using a drone. India quoted the Chinese-made drone's distributors in India, who said the drone is used as a toy, meant to survey and film locations for weddings, real estate and films, rather than for military purposes. For most people, this is like something out of a fantasy - aren't drones associated with undercover operations and the military? Maybe they once were. But not anymore.
Farmers in the USA use drones to monitor their crops and far off fields. E-commerce giant Amazon.com uses drones to deliver products to its customers. Facebook will use drones to beam the internet via lasers in remote areas without access to the web.
More and more people and companies are using drones, officially called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (controlled via wifi by a person on the ground), for more purposes than you can imagine. In fact the day is not far off when you look out of your living room window and come eye to eye with a drone.
Here's how drones are being used so far.
A couple of weeks ago, social media giant Facebook announced that it will use drones to provide internet connectivity to people settled in remote areas. The company had been working on the technology for years, but is now ready to roll.
In a post on Facebook on 1 July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed rumours that the company's Connectivity Lab is working on a "laser communication system" involving satellites and a fleet of drones that will beam data from the sky to people in remote, far-flung areas, and developing countries. In Zuckerberg's words, the system will "dramatically increase the speed of sending data over long distances."
Film-making & photography
Directors shooting documentaries rely heavily on drones to shoot in areas where human intervention is impossible. Drones are also used for aerial shots and crane shots. Drones with TV quality cameras are a bit expensive, however.
Photography enthusiasts now use drones to capture shots from places they could never put foot on themselves.
Overseas, farmers have started using drones to monitor their crops 24 hours a day, and keep an eye on far-off fields. Irrigation, sunlight absorption, and many other things related to agriculture are easily monitored via a drone.
Drones used by Amazon will track the location of customers by picking data from their smartphones, and deliver goods to them. Though security clearances have not yet been received, Amazon's drones will be able to navigate to customers' homes using data like traffic conditions and human and animal pathways.
Drones are the best way to map animals and their habitats without disturbing the environment. They can also keep an eye on poachers in remote areas where human monitoring is difficult to achieve.
When night-vision gear, ground search and ambulance helicopters fail, drones can pull off rescues. That's because they can move into tiny places and rough terrain where humans find the going tough.
Whole new level of awesomeness
Wait until you visit India for some mind-blowing drone experience. One such bizarre and interesting device is 'Hanuman drone' which is all set to give you some unforgettable experience. Imagine the sight of Lord Hanuman wandering in the sky with his 'gada' . If your imagination does not serve you well, here is the picture for you:
A whole new level of drone awesomeness. Stick it on Hanuman & fly him over crowds. Genius! pic.twitter.com/xMVZC5vU4VÃ¢ Vijay Venkataramanan (@7th_Samurai) July 17, 2015