Last week, a drone slipped loose from the control of a (most likely intoxicated) amateur “pilot” and made a spectacular crash landing on the front lawn of the White House.
It can be argued that due to the incompetence and irresponsibility of some amateur users, drone restrictions should be tightened on drones that are available for public, hobby-related use. However, quite the opposite is in the works. The FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, is tightening restrictions on the use of drones for commercial purposes. These commercial operators are people with stakes in the technological advancement of these machines – that’s what makes them money!
Drones get a pretty tough rap, conjuring images of privacy breeches and Big Brother invasion. However, if the government were to relax restrictions on the commercial use of drones, enthusiasts believe that an entirely new world of innovation and efficiency would open up to us.
Drones could be useful for firefighting, construction, wildlife rescue, search and rescue, delivery operations, and a whole host of other applications. We’ve already seen Amazon’s use of the drone. How absolutely fab would it be to have a package you ordered show up on your porch within 30 minutes? All thanks to drones!
Supporters’ biggest concern, though, is that by imposing restrictive limitations today, tomorrow’s innovation is thrown out the window. There are potentially limitless opportunities that drones could afford our culture, and by slowing innovation we are only blocking ourselves from extending further into the depths of the digital age. What are the consequences when other developed nations catch the edge on drone development because their limitations are much less stringent?
In further reference to our class discussion on hacking and “hacktivism”, what are the implications of robots taking flight into the real world – based on computer programming? Who really has access to these operations and how do we insure the safety and privacy of those who could potentially benefit from drone technology in the commercial setting?