Drones have become quite popular these days since its wide use in warfare and surveillance purposes. In recent time, people are talking of potential usage of drones for delivering courier or online shopping items. More and more innovative ideas are pouring in about the possible uses of drones.
However, have you ever wondered how will our traffic system be if someday drones are used to carry humans as a mode of commuting to work?
If drones are used for such a purpose developing nations, in particular, will probably benefit the most. Why? Let’s discuss it in terms of a city like Mumbai in India, where roads are clogged up with suffocating traffic. Unlike in developed nations, I rarely saw vehicles on the roads of developing nations to follow lanes as instructed by the road signals. Mostly, the entire road is packed with vehicles and sometimes motorbikers will take up the pavements to beat the traffic.
In such hefty traffic, I find the railways as the easiest way to travel. However, the railway doesn’t take you to specific destinations beyond the capacity of its track, and at some point, you have to face the traffic.
Many megacities in developing nations are grossly unplanned and can’t support any additional infrastructure to relax its traffic load on the roads. The only option sometimes is the underground railway option which is known to be expensive and might have geological hurdles depending upon the terrain.
I would like to imagine here of big drones, perhaps like a bus, fitted with rotators at its four corners that can lift passengers from one destination and drop at the other. The pace with which the technology is improving these days I don’t think this is something impossible.
If such giant drones can be produced the congestion on roads might reduce dramatically. Also, services like police, fire and ambulance will probably reach their destinations faster.
However, we should think if individual vehicle-drones like cars and motorbikes similar to what we drive on the roads should be allowed or not as drone-vehicles. Based on the traffic congestion problem faced globally, if private vehicle-drones are allowed to be flown by individuals the same situation of traffic congestion might happen again in drone air-space. Moreover, eventually, just like roads, problems of the rash driving, drunk driving, and racing will pop up one by one and making an actual menace.
I presume the drone-vehicle crash accidents will be much more damaging to life and property than the road crash accidents. For instance, we might not feel safe even while sleeping in bed at a ten storey building due to the fear of a drone crash through our window something similar that can happen when someone is sleeping in the footpath.
Also, how high drones will fly is another debate. They have to be careful of culverts, bridges, cranes etc. that might come in their flight path. Their attitude should again be not as much as airspace of flights to avoid collision with aeroplanes.
Probably new drone vehicle traffic rules, dedicated staff to control the traffic will be needed, and a new signalling system alike the air-traffic control will be needed to control the drone traffic.
Well, that was just a matter of my imagination, only time will show how things unfold in real life.