Every new day brings with it a new prospect where drones can be used successfully. One area where drones have started to become commonplace is the manufacturing industry. When you talk about use of drones in manufacturing, do not confuse this with the manufacturing of drones. While it's true that the idea of drones in the manufacturing process has not really taken flight as of yet, this is not to say that drones are not being used at all in the manufacturing industry. Drones have proved particularly beneficial in the field of food manufacturing, with Japan at the forefront for using this technology. In Japan, drones are being used in the agricultural fields to spray insecticides and to monitor for weeds.
The drones that are being used in the agricultural fields in Japan are the Yamaha RMAX. More than 2400 models of the Yamaha RMAX are currently in use. You may find it astonishing but Japan has been using this technology in the agricultural industry for over 28 years with the first drone project taking place in 1987.
Transport drones are being used in warehouses in different industries to lift items and to keep stuff organized on the shelves. Drones are not only more reliable than humans in performing these tasks but are also faster and increase productivity.
Qimarox, a Netherlands based company that is involved in material handling has been studying the use of drones in arranging goods on the shelves and in taking them off the shelves. The use of drones in warehouses will not just help with arranging goods in warehouses, but will also accommodate the assembling of these picked goods into pallet loads.
The main area of research concerning drones in the manufacturing industry is collision avoidance technology in enclosed spaces. Drones that are flown outdoors need to be in the line of sight and can be landed in case of any emergency. However, in the manufacturing industry there is not a lot of space and the device needs to be programmed in such a manner that it does not collide with different objects in its path.
The main concern concerning drones and their use in the manufacturing industry is that of safety. The FAA is in its infancy in regulating drones in the commercial sector, although testing is progressing gradually and the rules are slowly starting to take shape.
For now, drones in the manufacturing industry are being developed to pick, arrange and load stuff in the warehouses. This may appear simple but it is a complex task in itself seeing that it's an unmanned vehicle executing all of these tasks.
To summarize, drones are not involved directly in the manufacturing process and only play an indirect role for now. However, with technology progressing rapidly and with research being conducted on these points as well, the day when drones will start aid directly in manufacturing goods is not far away.