Drones no flight of fancy

• Drone classes are proving very popular atr Drones2 in Fremantle.

SOME people may think of drones as intrusive toys, but they will soon change the way we live, says Fremantle local Leanne McKenzie.

Used by the military for years, drones are entering the mainstream and being used for a variety of operations including search and rescue, wildlife monitoring, weather forecasting and inspecting infrastructure like power lines and bridges.

A trial is even underway to see if drones could be used to deliver medical supplies during a disaster.

Social benefits

“This technology is here to stay and it has social benefits that can be achieved,” says Ms McKenzie, who runs Drones2 in Fremantle.

Councils across the metro area employ her to run workshops on flying drones, which includes sessions on the civil aviation regulations surrounding their use.

Ms McKenzie, a licenced pilot, also goes into primary and high schools and teaches students to make, program and fly drones: “It’s important to get kids involved.”

Seniors groups are also showing an interest, with veteran campers and off-roaders using them to survey sketchy roads.

“If they go down a narrow track they may not be able to turn around,” says Ms McKenzie.

One student is an 84-year-old photographer who wants to learn to fly a drone so he can take stunning, aerial shots.

Bubbling with excitement about the future of drones, Ms McKenzie says trials are underway by Audi and Airbus for an unmanned flying electric drone-car.

It would relieve traffic congestion and revolutionise the way people get around in the future, she predicts.

Drone-car

A bit like a smart car, it would be picked up by a giant drone and transported to its destination.

“And then placed back on wheels, to drive away,” Ms McKenzie says.

The Audi/Airbus trial is looking at the first pop up, drone/car being rolled out in less than a decade.

To be part of the local drone revolution, check out Leanne McKenzie at drones2.com.au or call her on 0498 007 630.

By Jenny D’Anger

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