Modern drones, manmade worker bees

Far fewer U.S. Marines are dying in Afghanistan now because weaponized drones can take out Taliban targets, and U.S. soldiers do not need to be in harm’s way.

Although military drones have been in use since World War II, we are just now beginning to discover the myriad constructive uses for drones. Humans decide if drones are stealthy killers, super snooper, or gallant guards against unseen dangers.

At Kump Education Center we used a drone to help position a gas boiler exhaust pipe last fall, and just last week a drone helped my contractor identify roof damage after a night of high winds tore away part of the roof at our home.

The price of rent for bucket trucks and insurance make it necessary to use drones for close observations before repairs can be made.

Last Friday the Daily Mail WV published a feature article on the use of drones in West Virginia.

A new company near Sissonville is Metatron Unmanned Solutions. It started by providing cell tower inspection services, but 29-year-old Travis Snyder has developed a variety of ways to adapt drones to customer needs. Now he uses photogrammetry to patch pictures together for accident reconstruction images as well as many other new applications.

Drone technology can also be used to record routine inspections and observe the process of decline in the condition of bridges and towers.

Equipped with artificial intelligence, chemical detectors, and global positioning devices, drones can be used to detect pipeline leaks and other dangerous circumstances.

The weather does not have to stop drones when they are searching for downed airplanes, drifting boats and lost hikers in the mountains.

Remote West Virginia is a great place to develop drone technology because we have so few airports, and we are not subjected to as much FAA regulation as most urban areas.

Drones cannot operate within 5 miles of an airport, and owners must follow the FAA rules for model airplanes in all 50 states. It is not legal to use drones for hunting in WV. Of course, drug drops — as well as other illegal substances — cannot be delivered by drones.

Those who want to learn more may contact Bridge Valley training facility in South Charleston.