With global warming on the rise we don’t really need more pieces of technology in this world that will do more harm than good. So do drones cause pollution?
Drones are powered with LiPo batteries so they don’t directly cause pollution, however, those batteries still need to be charged in your wall socket at home with electricity created by either coal, atomic, hydro, or solar electricity. That being said it all depends on the source of the electricity you use to charge your drone.
But with all things being equal, how energy efficient are drones and do they cause more good than harm to the planet? Keep reading to find out.
How Energy Efficient Are Drones?
According to a study that was done by the transportation research department, drones are actually more efficient at carrying lighter loads than trucks. However, this quickly changes as the load becomes heavier since flight is heavily affected by the weight of the load.
Here’s a summary of the study:
- Drones emitted less CO2 emissions when delivering a smaller package to an area that is close by.
- Trucks emitted less CO2 emissions when delivering heavier loads to destinations further away.
- A delivery system using trucks for heavy loads, and drones for light loads would be the most efficient system.
This is exactly why major companies such as Domino’s and Amazon are pushing to use drones to deliver smaller packages instead of using smaller vehicles. Using cars to deliver small packages is an extremely inefficient way of delivering an item, and since it puts so many more drivers on the road, it can also be a lot more dangerous.
Think about it this way, your average pizza weighs around 1 pound, and you need a car that weighs around 2700 pounds to deliver it. Crazy if you actually think about it!
On the other hand, a drone capable of delivering a pizza or package will weigh less than 55 pounds which is a lot lighter than a car. Can you see why this can be an un-efficient way to deliver smaller packages?
On top of that, drones are a lot quicker since they don’t need to sit in traffic and at red lights. So this will also make the customers receiving the package a lot happier. It’s a win win.
INTERESTING NOTE: Drones are actively delivering pizzas for Dominos in New-Zealand right now. It won’t be too long until we can all enjoy this new delivery system.
Small delivery vehicle drones are extremely efficient and can actually reduce the overall carbon footprint of our planet by potentially removing millions of vehicles off our roads.
What Are The Positive Impacts Of Drones On The Environment
Since drones are so efficient at carrying small loads for small distances, this opens up an unlimited amount of possibilities to use drones to cut on costs while also reducing our overall carbon footprint on our planet.
Drones help deliver packages more efficiently.
Amazon has recently been testing drone delivery services in the United Kindom, and on the 7th of December 2019, they actually had their first successful drone delivery. Amazon customers expect packages to be delivered as fast as possible, what better way to satisfy their customer than by being able to deliver a parcel a few hours after placing your order. Who knows, it could be a matter of months before drones begin delivering your Amazon parcels.
Drones help farmers cut costs.
The farming industry has probably benefited the most when compared to any industry across the world. This article posted on MIT Technology review shows that with the use of drones;
- Planting costs can be reduced by a whopping 85%
- Soil analysis can be done a lot more effectively before planting.
- Drones are even being used to spray crops automatically which increases efficiency and reduces chemical waste. This reduction in waste also has a positive impact on the environment because since fewer chemicals are needed to be sprayed, there will be a reduced risk that the chemicals will reach groundwater.
- Before farmers used satellite images to monitor crops, however now they have the option of using drones. This also makes it more affordable for smaller farmers that might not be able to afford satellite images.
Drones have become almost essential to every farmer, and their reliance on this amazing technology will can increase as the technology of drones get’s better and better.
Drones help humanitarian operations around the world.
Zipline is a company that delivers medical supplies to hard to reach areas in Africa that they couldn’t access before with vehicles. In fact in Rwanda and Ghana, they are currently delivering medical supplies such as vaccines and blood to areas that couldn’t be reached with vehicles. So as you can imagine this is saving a lot of lives.
Zipline does this so well with the use of drones that they are now the biggest medical drone delivery service in the world. In fact, they have delivered medical supplies to 22 million people world-wide! This makes drones extremely valuable in the humanitarian space and they have already been saving lives.
Inspecting pipelines with drones saves time and money.
Oil, gas, and water pipelines run for thousands of miles. Before drones existed, inspectors would have to get in a car and inspect every inch of these pipes manually, can you imagine how long that took?! Today inspectors can inspect these pipelines with drones a lot quicker, and they can get a better view of the pipes using visual technology to aid the inspection process such as thermal cameras.
Drone help stop water wastage.
With the use of thermal cameras, drones are being used to detect leaks from reservoirs, dam walls, and any part of the water system. Millions of gallons of water are wasted around the world through leaks. With the help of drone, inspectors now have the ability to reduce water wastage.
What Are The Negative Impact Of Drones?
So far you’ve only heard the positives about drones, but let’s be real. Along with every positive thing in this world, there are almost always negatives that come along with it. And drones are no exception.
There are two major problems with drones.
- The first problem is noise pollution. Because the propellers are so tiny and they spin at such as high speed, they tend to make a high pitched buzzing sound that can sound extremely noisy. Your average hobby drone can make about 80 decibels of sounds which sounds like a power lawnmower or noisy vacuum cleaner, and these drones usually only weigh around a pound! Imagine having thousands of 50-pound delivery drones flying over our neighborhoods constantly.
- The second major problem is a crowded airspace. As drones become more frequently adopted and used for commercial purposes, the airspace managed by the FAA will become extremely difficult to manage. This is clearly a problem that will have to be solved before drones can be adopted on a mass scale.
Drones are exciting pieces of technology and almost every industry is benefiting from them. They’re helping farmers cut costs to make food cheaper for the average consumer, they are more energy-efficient at delivering smaller parcels than cars and trucks which is helping the environment, and on top of that, they are literally saving lives.
That being said there are a few drawbacks as mentioned in the previous paragraph, however, I personally think the benefits far outweigh the cons. What do you think? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.