ANDRE HACOBIAN WRITES – On November 2 the internationally famous Nanchang Flight Convention kicked off a much-anticipated two-day event in eastern China, showcasing new heights in the art of aviation, space travel, and drone technology.

The show opened with artwork of giant airplanes made up of 800 drones that continually morphed into various shapes such as propeller planes and helicopters. 

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), otherwise known as drones, have been steadily increasing in popularity for both civilian hobbyists and military agencies. Given global advancements in technology and software, no wonder drones have become so technologically sophisticated, cheaper and more accessible.

 

Normally, when we think of drones we associate them with military UAVs, such as the Reaper and Predator drones. These have gained widespread media publicity  over the years for their capacity to take out high level targets while operators sit in bunkers, let’s say, in the Nevada desert. 

But with China now the leading manufacturer of mini drones, the Pentagon recognizes a security concern that could affect military operations. Accordingly, U.S. military officials are urging operators of such units to steer clear of Chinese-made mini drones due to the risks of government spying and hacking. 

Engineers across the globe continue to advance drone technology by creating new algorithms enabling them to be used differently. One such team, from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, created software that allows mini drones to travel together as a unit. Drones are now used increasingly by civilians, too, for recreational purposes. Maybe fancy drones might make for good family flocking fun? Maybe the family that flocks together …

 

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