Drones and robots are taking over the world but most of us don’t realise the stealthy technological revolution taking place around us.
Thousands of jobs have already switched to robots in recent decades.
Just look at the production lines in factories that once swarmed with workers that are now largely quietly efficient with robots patiently performing repetitive tasks.
Many of the world’s top 10 employers are already replacing jobs with robots and drones.
The US Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer with a workforce of 3.2 million.
But the US Air Force is already cutting costs and shedding jobs by deploying drones to gather intelligence and remotely mount deadly attacks that literally come from out of the blue.
Biggest employers look to technology
The US has close to 7,500 drones operating in trouble spots around the world.
Retailer Walmart, the third largest global employer with 2.1 million staff, is looking at managing hundreds of miles of warehouse shelves with drones that can scan stock much faster than human workers.
Foxconn, a technology company making components for companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon, ranks as the world’s 10th largest employer with 1.3 million workers. Executives have already shed 60,000 human jobs and handed the roles to robots.
While firms such as Google and Amazon are looking at operating fleets of drones to make deliveries to homes and businesses, their scope to replace delivery drivers is limited.
Drones have their operations restricted by battery power and the range of their remote controls. Carrying a hefty payload cuts range and flying time even more.
Batteries limit technology take over
Increasing battery power means making a drone heavier, which reduces range and capabilities again.
Most can fly for a limited time and can carry a payload weighing no more than 10 or 12 pounds.
Another issue is flight management. Cities have no-fly zones and decisions about who tracks and controls hundreds or thousands of drones in the sky at the same time have yet to be made.
Other questions such as health and safety, mechanical and legal compliance all need looking at as well.
Consultancy PwC believes the future lies with drones and robots so much that a drone headquarters is busy at work in Poland developing technologies.
One aspect of the technology the company wants to exploit is harnessing drones to assess structural defects and the need for maintenance in construction – like inspecting pipelines with high definition cameras.