October 21, 2022
The value of AI is being recognized now more than ever, with applications of artificial intelligence being utilized in almost every industry. From powering autonomous cars, influencing consumers’ spending habits, cleaning offices and large equipment, determining nutrient deficiencies in the soil, and more, it’s clear that AI-driven intelligence systems are making a significant impact in people’s lives.
The Rise of AI
In simple terms, AI is defined as the intelligence exhibited by machines or systems that simulates human intelligence and behavior. An AI application can be basic and single-task oriented―such as a chatbot answering routine customer queries, or, when using machine learning and deep learning techniques, totally ground-breaking―such as machines identifying certain cancer cells.
Regardless of the level of complexity that the AI app can perform, there’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is fast becoming essential to innovation. It therefore comes as no surprise that AI software market revenue is expected to reach US$126 billion worldwide by 2025. Further, Gartner reports that the number of organizations using AI in some form has grown by a whopping 270% in the last four years.
Of the many AI and machine learning applications currently in use however, few other applications show as much potential as the matching of artificial intelligence and drones.
AI and the Drone: Tech’s Perfect Combination
AI’s machine learning technology paired with the probing and investigative capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, serve as a dynamic, humanlike eye-in-sky that offers limitless possibilities for aerial imagery.
This powerful combo can address various business and organizational needs like those in the energy, construction, and agriculture sectors. AI-equipped drones may even prove to be life-saving and solve critical problems when appropriately used in security, defense, rescue missions, and disaster relief operations.
AI-based drones are equipped to perform any of these operations or tasks, among others:
How AI-Automated Drones Work
Incorporating artificial intelligence into UAVs automates control of the drones, including their movement, navigation, and other operations. One of the more common methods of using AI with drones is through GPS tracking. This is done by using navigation software like Google Maps to assign GPS coordinates that program the flight of the drone.
AI-based drones are also largely reliant on computer vision and object recognition, subsets of machine learning technology, where the drone uses its camera to detect, analyze, record, and interpret images to favor decision making. This helps drones identify objects and navigate around them, thereby recognizing potential obstacles and avoiding crashes.
AI Applications Using Drones
While AI and drones pairing still have a lot of potential to unlock, the applications of artificial intelligence that are already being utilized today are nothing short of powerful. Here are three amazing applications of AI in drones:
1. Assistance in Law Enforcement and Military Operations. Certain drones are designed to assist with ground forces and first responders by exploring the surroundings and gathering essential information. Equipped with AI intelligence systems, these UAVs are perfect for reconnaissance and rescue missions. They are capable of communicating with each other and can access building interiors and underground areas to identify individuals in emergency situations.
2. Improvement of Farm Yields. Drone use has become an integral part of large scale precision farming operations. Smart UAVs are utilized in monitoring plant health and field conditions, planting seeds, applying spray treatments, as well as security and farm management.
3. Whale Data Analysis. Non-profit organization Ocean Alliance teamed up with tech giant Intel to use drones called ‘SnotBots’, to capture critical data on whales. Intel was tasked to develop a machine learning application platform that immediately analyzed live images streamed from the drones, allowing identification and cataloging of whales in real time.