It’s April Fools’ Day 2016, so time to bring out the clowns… The challenge: most things people can imagine doing with drones are eminently practical.
Strike 1: Paint brand Valspar has developed the world’s first automated painting drone. While a hire-for-free service, a 7-year development cycle and a front mounted paint brush are all fairly implausible, this clearly isn’t actually a bad idea.
“When the drone is switched on the camera creates a map of the wall it is facing, identifying a grid where it can paint. It then takes flight, and using pioneering self-stabilising technology, evenly covers the wall in one coat of paint. Once finished, the drone automatically lands and switches itself off.” Ho, ho, ho.
People have been messing around with drones to create paintings and graffiti for several years, and the future is ripe for industrial applications like bridge and oil rig inspections. Given the context, it’s not at all incredible that drones could be painting structures like the Golden Gate Bridge in five to ten years.
Strike 2: If you’re low on wi-fi signal, Vodafone will send a Voda-drone “to your location within 30 minutes to share sweet sweet Wi-Fi down to your device.”
Vodafone definitely doesn’t love you that much… But Google is currently testing a programme to deliver 5G connections from the sky to areas off the grid via solar powered drones (known as Project Skybender); in addition to their Project Loon, which is doing something similar with blimps. Facebook also has a global free internet project that aims to put another three billion people online. Free, global high-speed internet access might make Vodafone a little less amused…
Both companies are, of course, very keen to ensure that their stories are obviously April Fools’ items and not to be taken totally seriously.
Last year saw drone deliveries (ho, ho, ho) and more improbably a flying Henry the Hoover (surely a Roomba would be more practical?).