3 Ways Drones Advance Smart Cities

Drones are becoming a necessity for smart city growth in the United States. Apart from household fun, drones have become a popular tool for city inspections, business advancement, and disaster relief. With built-in 3D mapping and cloud technology, drones provide cities the ability to track and record data they never could before.

It has been challenging for drones to shake off the negative connotation society gives them. Many see drones to be an invasion of privacy and overall nuisance in the sky. However, drones have the capability to give cities the airborne technology they need to grow and improve their communities.  

Streamline Inspections

One large benefactor from smart city drones has been streamlined building inspections. Drone surveillance allows city planners clearer visuals over construction and development sites. Areas that were previously too hard for inspectors to access are now in reach with the help of drones. Inspectors can utilize information collected from drone surveillance to better manage inspections for building permits in their SMARTGOV  software. As a result, the marriage between drones and a digital civic platform has the potential to increase productivity and ultimately improve safety for inspectors.

Many other infrastructures such as railways, roadways, highways, power lines, pipelines, can be monitored and maintained by drone surveillance as well. Smart cities are becoming more inclined to implement drones to optimize work projects while constantly tracking their progress. Companies such as Redbird and Unearth have already developed technology that does just that. Their technology allows construction projects to track progress, productivity, and make comparisons through analyzing images captured above work sites.

In Delaware, a drone which can both fly and submerge underwater is used to inspect ferries and bridges. Inventors of this technology from Rutgers University say apart from bridge inspections, this technology “would likely be used for ocean floor mapping; search and rescue operations, harbor and ship security, and other applications in the future”. It goes to show drone technology is still evolving and for the most part, just getting started.

Business Advancement

Businesses are catching on. Drone technology presents businesses limitless opportunity for advancement and innovation. Companies such as UPS, Walmart, and Amazon are all suspected to be experimenting with drones for tracking warehouse inventory. AT&T reportedly used drones to test for holes in their wireless systems at their stadium in Dallas, and frequently use drones to inspect cell towers across the US. With the influx of data collected and business opportunities created by drones, new businesses are opening and subject to maintaining facilities that meet requirements. SMARTGOV business licensing with enforcement tools provide solutions to easily manage business licensing, applications, renewals, and expirations; which paired with drone surveillance could significantly advance economic development in your community. 

Still, we may be far off from doorstep drone delivery. However, companies are continuing to transform conventional business practices through leveraging drone technology in smart cities.

Disaster Relief

Drones have recently become a forefront in humanitarian technology and a vital tool for disaster relief within cities. Aiding in relief missions, drones are capable of reaching dangerous areas that humans are not. According to the Aid and International Development Forum, “Innovators want to use drones to deliver vital emergency supplies to areas with no road access, as well as to operate in disaster areas where access for rescuers is fraught with danger”. Verizon utilized drones in cities in North Carolina and South Carolina after Hurricane Mathew to check on equipment and connection signals to ensure families could communicate after the disaster.

From streamlined inspections to business advancement and disaster relief, drones have become an essential building block for smart cities.


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