If you’ve ever seen the movie Blade Runner: It’s like that. If you don’t know what I’m talking about: Blade Runner depicts a dystopian future in what has become a classic Sci-Fi film. Among the thought provoking depictions of technological capability in the future, an omnipresent blimp lazily drifts through the city’s skyline, all the while looping through advertisements displayed on a large TV screen that’s abundantly visible. We can build you a blimp like that.
Airframe types serve distinct purposes for different applications. Airships have become a rare subset of aircraft that are rarely seen or even conceptualized. For commercial applications, the speed and cheap cost of fuel have made fixed wing aircraft the canonical choice for passenger and cargo flight. The agility, nimbleness, and hovering capabilities of a helicopter have made it the tool of choice for a number of applications ranging from power line inspections to medical evacuations.
If you’re in the market for purchasing a drone, the default choice at this point in time would likely be a mutli-rotor drone such as a quadcopter or hexacopter. Blimps are likely not an initial consideration because airships in general declined in popularity fairly early in the 20th century, and for good reason. But, in the context of unmanned aircraft especially, blimps offer distinct advantages over other airframes that are not necessarily immediately obvious.