ISLAMABAD: Technological advancements over the last two decades have undoubtedly shaped the world’s landscape. The digital revolution, which began in the second half of the previous century quite modestly, has advanced rapidly.
The advent of drone technology has revolutionised the globe in different aspects. Pakistan has also started benefitting from this state-of-the-art technology in different sectors of the economy.
Along with surveillance and delivery applications, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones are also being used worldwide for journalism, search and rescue, disaster response, asset protection, wildlife monitoring, firefighting, communications relay, healthcare, and agriculture.
After the Covid-19 pandemic, their immense utilisation is more evident than ever. Unmanned systems have recently become more effective with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and sophisticated sensors without the need for human intervention.
Globally, many countries are taking advantage of drone technology in different sectors. China is the leading drone producer in the world.
According to the Statista research department, Chinese drone sales are expected to reach $1.27 billion in 2022, which is the highest worldwide. The United States and France came in the second and third, respectively, with 1.24 billion dollars and 150 million dollars.
Pakistan has also started benefiting from these miniature flying machines (drone technology) in different sectors, including defence, agriculture, traffic monitoring, etc.
The use of drones in the agriculture sector for precision is undeniable. Pakistan has started using drones to provide, process, and analyse multi-source data of high spatial and temporal resolution for decision-making and operations in the management of crop production.
Pakistan’s media industry is also using drone technology as drone cameras are used to cover political gatherings and cricket matches.
Furthermore, the police in Pakistan have started using drones for surveillance. The National Highway and Motorway Police (NHMP) have decided to use drone cameras to make highway surveillance more effective. NHMP have already begun testing drone cameras at selected motorway points, according to official sources.
Drone manufacturers, as well as users, are exploring the fast-growing Pakistani market. Hamza Haroon, a former adviser to the minister of science and technology, said, “Pakistan could easily capture a $600-700 million share of the global drone market with a proper policy and regularisation of local development.”
The Civil Aviation Authority has also issued guidelines for using drones. Dr. Bilal Siddique, a drone technology expert, said that employing drones for commercial, research, development, agricultural, and other peaceful purposes was the need of hour.
He said that the previous government had set up a drone authority, which he added, would not only fill the existing void due to a lack of laws to regulate this important sector, but would also promote domestic production of this vital technology.
He said that drone technology could be effectively used in various sectors to optimise resources and provide better services.