Drones head in new directions

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By John Bartlit

“Drone” is a word whose assorted meanings fit the range of human industry.
To honey farmers, a drone is a male honeybee, which is stingless and makes no honey.
In military news, a drone is an unmanned aircraft steered by itself, or by remote control that packs detectors and deadly weapons. Some say the name comes from the plane’s bee-like shape.
Bagpipes get their commanding voice from the loud one-note pipes called drones.
Today’s topic is the variety of jobs being worked in new ways by drones that fly.
Military drones, with all the issues they touch on, are frequent newsmakers. By contrast, civilian drones get less attention, which leaves a windfall of wonderment for Sunday writing.
Drones bring new muscle to the old fight against wildfires. New tools include heat sensors, fancy cameras and weather instruments that are flown aboard drones in and out of deep forests. Firefighters get more of the needed data faster, day or night, than they could before.
Drones help further by dropping fire retardant where it does the most good.
In broad terms, small drones can fly a wide range of marvelous instruments into harsh, remote terrains to find out all sorts of things. The instruments sent out depend on what the user wants to find.

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