I was a little late to catch the memo about drones but when I did, I thought it was an interesting (and by that, I mean odd) tactic to rejuvenate creations that, I felt, were already simple enough to do. But, we have been relying more and more on robots and technology so this type of invention was not a complete shock to me. With every new invention (because technology can be a headache) there are usually some kinks that will have to be straightened out. These Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have actually been in the works for many years but are still attaining approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in order for it to be efficient in the way supporters want. The most relatively known drone is the MQ-1 Predator that arose in 1995 (did you even know that?) and has been used for aerial terrorist attacks. But there is much technical planning and testing that must be done (probably the reason for the system to be so dragged out over the years) before these UAS should be permitted to share the national airspace alongside airplanes and helicopters.
Mixed emotions have forced me to investigate and rationalize just how useful drones are or could be in the future. Yes, advantages could include punctuality, and consistent quality, however the possibilities for its use does not end and that could actually stimulate issues. Although, there are many jobs the drones can do to make production smoother, it could negatively affect those jobs that are already employed by humans. So what will they do next? I will let the readers decide their opinions. Can it be successful with no major glitches? And if so, how far can and will the drone “trend” go? Here’s want we have so far:
Drones for bombs
So we know, in 1995 the MQ-1 attack drones were born (and born to destroy). However, this came as news to many of us last year with the proposed mission that they
would carry out attacks on the militant group Islamic State, or ISIS. This tactic has not been opposed by many and my assumption (and thumbs up for it) is that it could keep less soldiers off the ground and out of threat of danger. The drones individually cost about $5 million and the FAA is tightening up on how drones can be regulated without difficulties. They have been taking notes mainly based on
what has already taken place with drones specialized for bomb attacks. Under the Bush administration, the drones went into effect and had positive progress even with the more aggressive approach of President Obama’s administration. However, we cannot ignore the fact that there could be catastrophic consequences from these drones as well (the number of civilian casualties is still uncertain). And those consequences have already happened and caused the president to issue an apology to the families of the victims of a drone attack that killed two hostages, one being American. But this drone, of all the others to me, has what it takes to be a successful invention and implemented in normal military use.
Drones for businesses
I would not have believed it if I did not read it with my own eyes that businesses could take part in the drone phenomena. The biggest company in news is Amazon
with its mission to deliver packages to customer homes and “within 30 minutes of an online order”, wow! It is named the largest U.S.-based online seller of products and delivers those products to customers electronically, by mail and by other delivery services. So they must have figured that they can monopolize on this delivery system as well (no disrespect Amazon). It is not determined how much this type of drone costs, but it has to be in between the $300 and $5 million range (that is the ballpark for about how much drones can cost). Amazon has attained a patent for the delivery drones but is unclear when it will be officially launched because of concerning obstacles. Making the system applicable to smartphones, being able to fly them out of view, and finding a good place for delivery are just a few. There has to be a successful way to deliver packages to the right consumer without any foul-ups or injuries. The patent and success of this drone will undoubtedly open up a world of possibilities for other businesses as well. We will then hear about 10 more businesses doing the same thing.
Drones for news-gathering
Drones for journalism purposes has already began to take off (how many journalists knew that?). With the Obama Administration opening the sky for many drone purposes, news corporations like CNN, The New York Times, and the Associated Press have pounced on the opportunity and are attempting to
integrate them into everyday reporting. These drones may cost news companies a couple thousand per system. But, for all of the journalism advocates (I consider myself one J) this seems like a cool and innovative way to take reporting skills and coverage to new lengths. Think about that. Those with passion for photojournalism and multimedia and simply all types of journalism could benefit from this system. But, it seems that this will not come booming right away. Now, many media outlets have adopted this system, but, not all have been able to overcome the tough restrictions of the FAA and they plan to use their drones more regularly. CNN was one however (good for them!)
According to the The Guardian, “Under an FAA deal known as a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, CNN will be allowed to begin experimenting with the camera-bearing devices while providing feedback to the federal agency that will help the Obama administration plan how to integrate drones into civilian airspace.” We will see if media outlets can break through
the tough barriers of the FAA and use drones on a regular basis. I personally would love to see it.
Drones for police
It’s weird how my significant other and I were making jokes like “what if there were cop drones, that would be wild, no one could get away with anything, etc.” and it turns out thatdrone is in the making
as well. The goal of these drones are to help with public safety and other police functions such as search flood zones, photograph homicide scenes and track felony suspects. That means, no more light at the end of the tunnel for a criminal to possible get away because they are being followed just as a helicopter could (sucks for them). This system is proving to be a cheaper option also (so watch the news) since helicopters “runs at least $1.8 million before being equipped with law enforcement gear and costs $575 an hour to run it, not counting the crew. Drone systems average about $30,000 and cost $20 an hour to run,” according to an article from The San Diego Union-Tribune.
This may even be able to help the blurred trust between police and the community they serve, especially within the black community that has been under public view in media with the numerous deaths of black males by officer hands. How can this help? Once again, because it is another set of eyes in the sky and cameras can never lie. Since one of the biggest issues in the police force right now is accountability, a great way to solve that problem is to have a solid system that will show what happens as it happens. Cameras seem to be the best way to do that. If police use these for the right purposes, we could ultimately see positive change in our judicial system.
Drones for personal use
Though the FAA has allowed many outlets to practice drone use, there will become a time that allows more average citizens will be permitted to fly personal drones. The cost of these will vary (between $300 and $5 million). However, I foreshadow massive conflicts with this method if drones become the next “trend”. How many issues, I cannot predict, because everyone is going to use their drone for a different purpose. A case I could definitely predict to arise in court is privacy violations. We all have our privacy rights and take great offense when someone invades that space. It’s just too early to tell with this one.
Drones have a good chance to be adapted into everyday tasks and keep the economy running smooth but everything has to be clear and strict. I mean, what if there is a crash of drones? That is already bad and costly, and this is before falling debris from the crash even hits the ground. What if it hurts someone? What if it explodes? And who would be to blame? As stated earlier, citizens’ privacy should not be violated, but if it is what would be the consequences? Will there be a process and restrictions to get access to fly drones (Example: you have to be 21 in N.C. to obtain a handgun license) or will children be able to fly them? I could go on, but I have said a lot already, it is time for my readers to chime in…
So, how do you feel about the future of drones in America?
Here’s some helpful links if you want to explore more: