Drones are a hot topic at the moment and despite some bad press - just last year UK police saw a 352% increase in drone-related incidents, according to the Independent – there’s no doubt they’re here to stay both for leisure pursuits and in business.

We still have a long way to go in terms of safety and privacy - leading to calls for tougher rules on where and when they can be flown - but once these hurdles have been overcome we could be looking at a world significantly aided by these flying machines.

[Read more: What are the rules for flying drones?]

Companies across the globe are looking into how they can use drones for everything from delivering goods to helping people in danger.

Here are some of the ideas we’ve seen that could take drones to the next level:

Ford Autolivery


We’ve already seen robots delivering food to our doors, but what about drones bringing takeaways directly to apartments? No need to buzz anyone in, just wait for the drone to arrive at your open window and it’ll land itself.

The AutoLivery concept was revealed by Ford at Mobile World Congress recently, showing how a self-driving van would carry the food most of the way before sending a drone to make the drop-off as it reaches your area. Although Ford’s VR demo uses food, the technology could be used to deliver small goods or medicines to remote areas.

As this is just a concept for now there are no plans to make it a reality anytime soon. Ford itself won’t have any fully autonomous (also known as ‘Level 4’) motors on the road until 2021 so don’t expect anything too soon.


Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations

land Rover Special Vehicle Operations

Drones are proving particularly useful for rescue missions and Land Rover’s Project Hero could be a compelling case.

The company has designed and engineers a very special version of its new Land Rover Discovery vehicle which features a drone. The bespoke model is being tested by the Austrian Red Cross on search and rescue missions.

Magnetic retention and self-centering drone technology means the drone can leave and return to the vehicle even as it moves.


AirBus Pop.Up


Personal flying machines have long been a feature of science fiction, and one day we may be able to travel in small airborne vehicles without the time and expense of having to learn how to fly them.  

Airbus and Italdesign have designed a part-drone, part-car concept called Pop.Up which sees people travelling in a pod. As soon as the vehicle hits traffic, a large flying component would arrive, collect the pod and its inhabitants and fly them to their destination.

Read more about Pop.Up


Audi assistant drones

Audi assistant drones

In Audi’s smart factory of the future, drones and workers will work together to build cars as efficiently as possible.

From delivering parts to different sides of a factory autonomously to checking out hard-to-reach areas of vehicles for maintenance or repair, these drones would be able to avoid obstacles – including workers themselves.

Read more about Audi’s smart factory