Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or the more common term, drones, are no longer just for the military.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or the more common term, drones, are no longer just for the military.
Today drones have a multitude of functions in the civilian world from cinematography to agriculture.
In June, D.D. Studios, an arts and entertainment company, acquired a photography and videography drone that they are using in their studio. DJ1 Phantom 2 Vision Drone carries a 4GB secure digital card and can shoot video in high definition 1080p 30/60i, and photos with a 46mm lens at 14 megapixels. Diana Rose, owner of D.D. Studios, has affectionately named the drone “Mobius.”
“Until the [Federal Aviation Administration] releases its stipulations for the use of drone commercially, we are only using it as a type of hobby,” Rose said. “Farmers have asked for footage of the crops for harvest time, which we did, but we didn’t charge for them.”
Mobius is capable of flying for 25 minutes and can be programmed via GPS auto pilot that has a “come home” function that will send the drone home automatically when the battery gets low. Mobius’ tilt control and zoom functions can be remotely accessed through a smart phone or iPad. It can fly up to 900 feet high, but the FAA has regulation dictates drones can only go up to 400 feet.
Many people have inquired about hiring the company for use of its drone for sporting events, aerial shots of homesteads and weddings, and they can’t wait to be able to use Mobius to make money, Rose said.
D.D. Studios isn’t the only company waiting on the FAA. On July 11, Amazon.com Inc., announced  it is seeking permission from the FAA to utilize drones to deliver packages to customers. By using drones, customers could receive their items in as little as 30 minutes. The announcement caused the online retailer’s stock shares to jump almost 6 percent.
Amazon stated it has been developing UAVs that can travel over 50 miles per hour while carrying a load of up to five pounds. Almost 86 percent of Amazon’s shipments are 5 pounds or less, the company stated.
“We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Amazon said in the letter.
The FAA is slowly working on guidelines for commercial drone use. In 2012, Congress ordered them to grant drones access to U.S. skies by September 2015. The administration has stated it will take longer than Congress expected.
The concept of drones began in the mid-1800s when the Austrians used unmanned, bomb-filled balloons to attack Venice during a revolt in August 1849. The balloons caused little damage, but Venice did surrender two days later.
Now with the help of companies like Beechcraft, which began its development of UAVs in 1955, drones are now a technology that allows people to accomplish tasks with more proficiency and safety.
In a field-rich environment like Kansas, the uses of drones are many. Agriculturally speaking, drones are being used in a multitude of ways. UAVs are being equipped with sensors that can detect via gamma ray, biological, chemical and infrared cameras. Theses sensors can detect and report significant changes in the environment, such as the presence of airborne micro-organisms and chemical concentrations in the air that might affect crops or animals.
Using drones also can be cost effective. Having drones perform fly-overs of crops eliminates the need to walk the fields, and in many cases, the footage the UAV captures will cover more ground than walking will. Farmers also can use drones to disperse pesticides, fertilizer and herbicides, identify a bug or varmint infestation or even track down animals that have wandered off.
Precision Drone LLC, a drone manufacturing company out of Indianapolis, claims the return of investment of one of its crop-specific drones can be met within one crop season. The cost of a UAV can range anywhere from $2,000 to $160,000. Many crop-specific drones come equipped with integrated geographic information systems mapping, color-coded crop health imaging, software to draw field borders and flight plans and color contrasting to show how much sunlight is being absorbed by the crop canopy.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a  group that represents producers and users of drones, has predicted 80 percent of  commercial market drones will eventually be used for agricultural purposes. Once the FAA establishes guidelines for commercial use, the drone industry said it expects more than 100,000 jobs to be created and almost half a billion in tax revenue to be generated collectively by 2025, much of it from agriculture.
“It is endless right now, the applications in agriculture,” said Kevin Price, a former professor at Kansas State who left the university to join RoboFlight, a Denver-based company that sells drones and analyzes the data collected from farms. “Farmers are going to be able to see things and monitor their crops in ways they never have before. In the next 10 years, almost every farm will be using it."