Examples of Non-Military, Non-Police use of Drones (please add your own)

One of the things I get asked most often about by the press is for examples of non-military, non-police use of drones. Part of our function here at DIY Drones is to educate the public about civilian and peaceful uses of drones, so I'm always happy to reel off some examples, from agriculture to Hollywood (aside from the main reason we do it here, which is education and fun).  Atmel has also created a great list of "18 ways that drones are being used today", which illuminates how broad their non-military applications are.  

But to make it easier to get the word out, I've started a repository of such uses, below. I'll link to this post from the front page of DIY Drones. Please add your own examples and suggestions (including categories I may have missed) in the comments, and I'll update the post to include them as they come in.

Examples of Non-Military, Non-Police use of Drones


Search and Rescue



Wildlife management


News reporting

Real Estate


Delivering Medicine

Human Rights Monitoring

Communications networks

And lots more in the comments below and at the DC Area Drone User group

Views: 39535

Comment by Sidney Nakahodo on December 5, 2012 at 4:16pm

Hi everyone,

I'm happy Chris started this thread. I'm particularly interested in the social implications of the use of drones in the arts, business, and other areas. Here's the link for the page: 


Any comments would be greatly appreciated! 

Comment by bcrow on December 7, 2012 at 2:50pm

Avian research- I guess that goes under Science / research: the system at present is a "chain drag" two people dragging a chain to fluch birds, stop and then walk to where bird was flushed to detect & count eggs....destruction to unattended nests happens. We have been using a uav as a range mapping platform and IR to pick up heat signatures then plotting these "hot spots" to walk directly to to count nests & eggs....The use of these systems are going to explode once all the red-tape is figured out.    an off note...I dislike the RC/UAV connection. we work very hard to uphold safety standards, flight regulations and such, and 'others" simply strap a camera to a helo / plane and say they are doing the same thing without consideration to changing flight dynamics, weather conditions, or actual data collection.....I really apperc. DIY, and all who comment on all these issues....                       "Knowlege is Power"   School House Rocks

Comment by Eddie Weeks on December 8, 2012 at 7:02am

I am Going to the artic this summer to measure the currents with this custom built boat... APM 2.5 Rover..

Eddie Weeks

Comment by Ruwan on December 22, 2012 at 8:11am

Hai Tran's coptercam is used to cover cricket matches (sports). 


Comment by Eugene Potapov on May 29, 2013 at 8:16am

Last months issue of highly ranked Frontiers on Ecology and Environment (of the Ecological Society of America) has a feature on UAV application including the splendid cover picture http://www.esajournals.org/userimages/ContentEditor/1364833540230/f...

paper itself: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/120150

Comment by Pablo Sandoval Mastandrea on November 26, 2013 at 9:05am

Hi, my name is Pablo Sandoval from Uruguay.

Currently in the region of Uruguay, Brasil and Argentina our company leads in terms of application of unmanned technology in agriculture , only in the last harvest (summer in the southern hemisphere) we flew approximately 23,000 hectares in soybean, rice and sugar cane, for customers and own fields.
This year with the acquisition of new unmanned systems we plan flying 40,000 hectares.
The benefit with these flights translates into cost savings of chemical application in the field (applies only where needed ) and a increased performance from the crops and care of the environment.
This tool is just one more layer of information within the complex GIS system we handle, since the UAV flight information alone is invaluable but should supplement it with other data such as the chemical study of soil , digital elevation models , satellite imagery , crop yield monitors , among other things , allowing us to achieve a high degree of accuracy in the differential management of different sectors of the field to which we call "environments" .

Mainly we get:
Appropriate choice of crops
Design strategies for fertilization and amendments
Improved average yields
Diagnosis of each environment
Erosion control
Efficient management of inputs
Reduced environmental impact

A tipical mission of crop mapping consists in one flight of two hours at 1.000 meters (3200ft) of altitude and in a range of 5 to 15 km from the GCS. The UAV is called "Arcangel I", derived of the "Lipan III" (the military version from the Argentinean Army).

To learn more about our company visit our website: www.adp.com.uy/axa.php

We also invite you to view our corporate video where are shown the uav as a standardized part of the final work:

We are open to your suggestions, ever focused on contributing to the development of UAV technology and to expand this sustainable way of doing agriculture.

We welcome your comments and I hope to contribute what you need in this great community.
Best Regards

Pablo Sandoval


Comment by RoboBill on March 4, 2014 at 8:35am

Here is a sports example that I'm working on.


Having played tennis all my life, I thought why do people have to roll dry tennis courts after a rain. Why not have a robot do the monotonous job of pushing water off a court.


Thus I patented and am creating the automatic tennis court drying machine at www.autocourtdryer.com


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