I first heard about ‘Drones’ when I witnessed their use in warfare and spying, in television news. Then in movies and recently read in news websites about its potential usage for delivering courier or online shopping items to our doorsteps. Although, a lot of arguments are ongoing about the possible misuse of drones in freight of goods by online shopping companies, some are even imagining about its possible future use in daily commuting of humans.
If drones are to be used in future for our daily commute to office, developing nations in particular will be benefitted, in my view. Why? Let’s discuss it in terms of a city like Mumbai in India, where roads are clogged up with suffocating traffic and where bike riders and three wheeler rickshaws are in a competition to prod their front wheel in every small gap they find in the heavy traffic to beat other vehicles in the race of reaching earlier to their destinations (however, unless you have been in such roads you can’t get the actual essence of it).
Easiest way to travel in such traffic congested cities is through the railway, however the rails don’t propel you to every minuscule destinations beyond the capacity of its tract, and in most days during office hours you may prefer to avoid its hefty rowdy crowd. Since such cities are grossly unplanned and have no much space for new mega transport infrastructure to introduce, drones may be a sort of swift relief form the burly stifled crowd and may also serve as the fastest mode of transport in such busy metros. If drone technology keeps accelerating in the current pace in near future we might find such drones instigated for common man’s commuting. We might see structures like buses with four propellers at four corners of its roof being lifted up and moved on towards it destination.
So much so is about use of drones for public transportation purposes. But if it gets allowed, which might eventually be someday, that any individual can own a drone and drive it like a cab or rickshaw for carrying passengers or like bikes or cars for personal usage, to reach their precise destinations, what will be its aftermath keeping in mind how real traffic situation is on the roads. Seeing the current reckless, mercy less, unorderly, chaotic and traffic law undermining driving of drivers in most major cities in metros of developing nations, it is quite horrible to even think about the probable rampage that can happen in the air when these set of drivers are permitted to fly drones.
If you ever witnessed, some of the notorious vehicle-overcrowded traffic signals in cities of developing nations, you can find how almost every driver gets busy trying introducing the front part of their vehicle in every little space available on the roads worsening the jam to its zenith. And at the very split second the traffic signal becomes green the first row of traffic run in almost a windy speed as if they are chasing an Olympic medal to reach the next traffic signal. Simultaneously, in urban metropolitans of third world nations, its not uncommon to see the disrespect of drivers towards pedestrians, who just almost ram on pedestrians mercilessly and some even crawl up their vehicles on the pavement. To worsen the anguish of pedestrians further its not unusual to see pavements preoccupied by illegal constructions like shops or extension of houses, parked scooters, non tax paying street canines etc. On the other hand, some pedestrians are also blamable for their reckless traffic rule defying behaviors particularly while crossing roads with head phones plugged in their ears.
So if such traffic law disobeying attitude drivers take up drone flyer’s control seat some unimaginable spectrum of consequences might pour in. To sketch few, some drone drivers my collide with sky scraping buildings (commonly found in metros of developing nations), while other might end up in drone-drone collision or alike aircraft crashes may plough into traffic beneath on the roads. A solution may be to introduce licensed pilots (truly licensed, unlike those driving licenses easily obtainable in some corruption corroded countries), like aircraft pilots. But a drawback of such commercial pilot recruitment might be the difficulty to monitor such huge pool of pilots, if drone are to used in future like bike, taxi, rickshaw or bus. However, if the drones are unmanned like those automated cars recently introduced by one of the famous internet search engine company an orderly drone traffic system may be possible to achieve.
Now one can definitely rise a question, why am I targeting third world countries with stickers of rampage driving in traffic, aren’t there rash drivers in the developed nations. Yes in the later too we can find traffic law infringers, but there are certain concrete differences from the former to understand. In developed nations, primary reasons why the traffic is not most of the time clogged to such extremes as in third world’s urban roads are the better planned traffic handling, good road construction and mapping and attitude of majority of people to stick to traffic rules. Moreover, the CCTV’s are mostly fully functioning and are systematically monitored in the west, where a driver who violates traffic rule if caught on camera faces the legal consequences, which is not the case in developing nations till date, grossly.
P.S. – This writing is based on the author’s individual observations, which is not necessarily true and agreeable to all.