When this was sent to me I thought it was going to be about workers mindlessly following procedures or your typical safety inductions these days but he raises some interesting points about the use of this new technology for good and evil. I have seen parents filming their kids playing sport with these things – great images but bloody annoying! They have been used in mining for a while now but one nearly brought down a crop duster recently!
Drones to make every workplace safe!
On the 60 minutes TV show on the 15th June they had a section on the increasing use of flying quad helicopter drones. There are literally hundreds of ways to use these hovering, seeing, listening machines that fly and hover like a helicopter. They are either operated by a human pilot on the ground via radio control/IR using video glasses, or they fly on their own (unmanned) using algorithms (something like a human heuristics) to make many decisions a second. There were two of these quad helicopters throwing a length of bar to each other while in mid flight. Not only where they catching the bar, they were balancing the bar then passing it back, very cool, very clever.
One human pilot who was not so clever because he was human, was videoing a wedding and flew one into the bride a groom while they were kissing (opps someone to blame there). Gathering by the Youtube hits it was very entertaining…see, we are a sad bunch of drama seeking beasts!
Now being a safety guy who has not got a lot of time to get out of the office due to all the paper work, I thought, what a great way to get out and ‘check’ on the workplace and workers and ensure everyone was not preoccupied with hurting themselves.
I contemplated for a few seconds and thought; I could attach a loud speaker so I could yell out to everyone to be safe, I could hover above and in-between the workers and ensure they are following the SWMS without any deviations, I could listen for ques that could help understand culture and real risk, ask questions and even check that everyone was wearing PPE. I thought, I could even attach a police stun gun to it, and if I see someone entering into risk, I could blast them with 200,000 volts. Not only would it save their life, it would teach them to not make any mistakes again.
I could start to see how this machine could make every workplace so much safer.
Obviously, I would have to do a VOC to operate it if I had one that was not capable of thinking of for itself, paint it bright yellow and attach a beacon light. I may have to install an audible beeper and have a safe working radius of 10 meters, but other than that, it should be fairly safe…I think. Maybe I better get the thinking drone version as I don’t want to be sued if it crashes into someone.
All jokes aside, technology and AI is creeping into the workplace every day. I would have no doubt in saying that within the next 10 years or so, there will be these drones being used just as I explained. They will be out checking over plant, they will be out conducting inspections of the workplace, they will be looking out for unsafe behaviour and they may even have algorithms developed to calculate uncertainty. Let’s face it, there is even a helmet being developed right now that one can wear that can tell if you are thinking, daydreaming or sleeping. Maybe one day, we will get paid not by the hours we do, but by the energy we use at work (based on your job).