Drones: Becoming ubiquitous in the Caribbean?

Over the past two years or so, the term, drones, has become more widely known. They are not only commercially available for personal use, but many businesses, especially those that ship goods, such as Amazon.com, Fedex, DHL and UPS, are also exploring the use of drones to make deliveries to their customers. With all the excitement about drones, generally, the question must be asked when might we, here in the Caribbean, experience more extensive use of drones?

What is a drone?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), which more colloquially are known as drones are unmanned, yet remotely controlled, aerial devices. Radio controlled aircrafts have been in use by the military, since the 1950s, to assist in fighter pilots combat training. Thereafter, they also evolved into recreational use, as model airplanes that are popular with children and hobbyists alike.

As remotely controlled devices typically, drones operate in the 2.4—5.8 GHz band, which according the frequency band plan for the United States is reserved for Wi-Fi. However, some of them use frequencies in the 900 MHz band, which is also a widely used band for mobile/cellular communications.

Key benefits and applications

In being unmanned – without a human pilot – drones are especially useful in situations where manned flights are considered too risky or difficult.