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The drones we love and hate, by James Harris

Following flights being grounded at Heathrow after yet another drone sighting, alarm bells quickly start ringing.

After 1,000 flights were interrupted during Gatwick’s 36-hour shutdown back in December you immediately ask yourself how long Heathrow will be shut for, whether or not you know anyone flying in or out of the airport over the next few days, or how you’d feel if this interrupted any of the holidays you’ve got planned.

With all the inevitable anger surrounding drones as a result of these major airport shutdowns, it’s easy to forget how drones have revolutionised how we live.

Would the nation have fallen in love with nature documentaries such as Planet Earth had we not been using this advanced technology? Drones are now essential pieces of kit for film crews and have opened up access to stunning videography of natural wonders never seen before. Aside from their military use, they have changed how we see the world and are likely to alter how we live in the future too.

Don’t forget how we use drones for reconnaissance missions which can help find survivors after natural disasters; catching poachers in national parks; aiding weather forecasting by gaining insights from storms that piloted aircraft wouldn’t be able to fly into; and applying fertiliser to specific areas of farm crops that are failing. These are just some of a myriad of benefits that the technology already brings.

Looking to the future, Amazon Prime Air has been in testing since the retail giant successfully delivered its first package via drone back in 2016. The new service is set to meet increasing consumer demand for ever-faster delivery services, with Amazon claiming the new technology will offer delivery within just 30 minutes.

Who knows, we might even be getting drones to work instead of the Tube sooner than we think too. However, the Civil Aviation Authority’s recent woes will surely delay such ambitious plans.

There is unquestionably a need to tackle the illegal use of these flying machines and the Home Office is set to evaluate a range of counter-drone technology in the UK following the airport attacks. However, let’s not forget what this incredible technology can provide.

What Will Drones Deliver Next? by Dylan Verity

The 2015 we were promised in Back to the Future (Part 2) appears to have arrived… two years later. Whilst we don’t have hoverboards or self-drying jackets, earlier this month the Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority announced plans to make drone taxis available for consumers as early as July of this year, making flying cars a reality (well, sort of)!

The EHang 184 drone is currently being tested for commercial use over the city of Dubai. Passengers will simply touch a destination on a touchscreen and then they will be whisked away into the sky. The drone can carry one passenger weighing up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and their suitcase. With a current range of 30 miles, and a top speed of 100 mph, you could travel across the city in no time – unless you encounter a drone-jam that is!

This exciting news follows a string of drone technology stories with everything from Amazon’s drone delivery, flame-throwing drones and Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl drone show all drawing attention in the media. As PR consultants, we’re terribly excited by all the potential practical uses drones are still to offer us in the future.  From drone-powered press trips to speedy sample deliveries, we’re champing at the bit to make more use of our flying friends.

We’re also looking forward to seeing what drones can deliver in terms of creative campaigns and content too. Just this week, biscuit brand Oreo created a lovely piece of video content called The Drone Dunk to support the launch of its Oreo Dunk Challenge competition on social media. As ‘call to action’ content goes, this video was entertaining and fun. Capturing the nature of Oreo’s campaign perfectly, and inspiring further contest entries in the process, this video is the latest in a number of great examples of how drones will play a part in our industry going forward and we can’t wait to see what comes next!