About two months ago, American pizza chain Domino’s Pizza, introduced the use of drones as the latest addition to its delivery system.

The delivery, which was made in New Zealand, could well be the first example of a food delivery using a drone system. The DRU drone was a custom built model by Flirtey, a startup that has worked with agencies such as NASA and top educational institutions to build drone delivery systems for the mass market.

small, mobile and easy to operate

This drone in particular had a tether which gave the drone the ability to lower fresh pizzas straight to the required location but this doesn’t stop there. According to Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney, the company wants to reach a level where customers can order a pizza and receive it via drone at the push of a button on their smartphone once the drones are integrated fully into its online delivery and GPS system.
There are many other examples that one can draw from but it is certainly safe to say that drones will eventually become the norm as more industries adopt the machines into their technology arsenal. Although drones are still not as widely used in general, there are many reasons to believe why drones are definitely on top of the list for the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).
On their own, drones are just pieces of hardware that can be remotely controlled. However, once these machines are paired with the right software, you immediately have an industry application. Because they’re small, mobile and easy to operate, drones make the perfect solutions for industries requiring work such as surveying. In the context of telecommunications, for example, drones have been used to survey towers which would otherwise be riskier when using human labour.

drones have been used to survey towers
to reduce human risk

So how exactly are these zippy machines related to IoT? Drones are highly customisable machines with some being more complex than others. For the average hobbyist, all that is needed may be a stabiliser and a wide-angle camera. When it comes to industries, the baseline requirements have increased but drones are nevertheless adaptible to these demands and can do much more than conventional methods.
Due to their size, drones were initially thought the best fit for survey and site monitoring related tasks but their role is quickly expanding into other areas as well and there are many examples of this.
For one, The Ambulance Drone, which was developed by Dutch student Alec Momont for his Masters thesis, could deliver automated defibrillation devices to a patient in 12 sq kilometre radius within a minute. Alec Momont suggested this would increase survival rates for cardiac disorders by 80 per cent. This development could potentially prove to be an important extension for existing emergency systems globally.
Then there’s PrecisionHawk, a company which makes use of drones equipped with various sensors to collect data which is then analysed and used to make actionable decisions from maintenance to disaster management. Drones would fly out to map a certain location and transmit data back into the ‘cloud’ where data is processed for analytics.
In Brunei, the use of drones is currrently restricted under Section 21 of the Civil Aviation Order 2006. However, the government has acknowledged the potential for innovation of drones and are still reviewing the regulatory framework which could give room for the use of drones provided that it is within the law. Some exemptions may also be granted on a case-to-case basis.