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Private Drones In American Skies

Drones on top of drones. New, commercial drones take off. Some say our skies will be dark with privately-owned drones.

A Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is seen flying during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Las Vegas. The drone has a built in camera and can be controlled with a smart phone. (AP)

A Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is seen flying during a demonstration at the Consumer Electronics Show, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Las Vegas. The drone has a built in camera and can be controlled with a smart phone. (AP)

Ok, so the “tacocopter” was a joke.  The drone that would deliver fresh tacos to you from the sky, wherever you stood, whenever you wanted them.  But drones are coming to American life.

The US military has gone wild for drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan.  American police departments are droning up.  But the big buzz now is in private drones.

Drones that can watch and check and grab and monitor.  For farmer’s fields.  Pipeline inspection.  Traffic watch.  Just looking around.  “Our skies will be dark with drones,” they say.

This hour, On Point:  beyond the military, the exploding age of drones.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Chris Anderson, CEO of 3DRobotics and creator of DIYDrones.com. Former editor-in-chief of Wired. (@chr1sa)

Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU. (@jaycstanley)

Tom K. Kenville, chairman of the North Dakota chapter of the trade association, Unmanned Applications Institute, International — a non-profit that supports the development of unmanned aircraft.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Verge “How have things changed so fast? ’10 years ago, drones were military industrial technology, extremely expensive and some of it classified,’ says Anderson. ‘What happened over the last decade is that the revolution in your pocket, has made that technology so cheap, and easy, and ubiquitous that regular people could do it.’”

Reuters “As U.S. authorities grapple with how to regulate the use of unarmed drones in U.S. skies, a small network of police, first responders and experts is already flying unmanned aircraft. These operators say rapidly evolving drone technology is already reshaping disaster response, crime scene reconstruction, crisis management and tactical operations.”

The New York Times “The burst of activity in remotely operated planes stems from the confluence of two factors: electronics and communications gear has become dirt cheap, enabling the conversion of hobbyist radio-controlled planes into sophisticated platforms for surveillance, and the Federal Aviation Administration has been ordered by Congress to work out a way to integrate these aircraft into the national airspace by 2015.”

Videos

The GRASP lab at UPenn has been working with small quadrotor drones, and posting some impressive videos of what they can do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ol8c9bdp7YI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQzuL60V9ng

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Questions:
    Do these drones have to have and register a flight plan ? Are they registered anywhere ? Are they or will they be considered to be a type of firearm ?

    If one should crash into something or someone and do bodily harm or property damage, how will law enforcement deal with this ?

    How will law enforcement or the military deal with an attack based on a large number small drones striking civilian targets in large numbers. Especially, explosive or hazardous material targets ?

    Pay attention ! How will the MILITARY DEAL with bio-terrorism, given these new deployment devices ? IS EVERYBODY STUPID ?

    Are drone owners required to carry insurance ?

    Are these drones allowed to carry listening devices, or more advanced lip reading devices or lasers that can bounce signals off of glass and hear what you are saying ( by the way this has already been done, this is not science fiction ) ?

    What happens when someone or some group takes multiple drones and creates a real time spy network and sells this information to overseas buyers or corporate competitors ?

    Is video or sound collected by private drone owners considered evidence and allowed to be used in court cases ?

    Are private investigation companies using these, already ?

    If you are afraid of being hacked on your PC or your company’s PC(s), why would you not be afraid of an actual physical device that could do you harm, that is controlled by someone at a distance ?

    Why are we allowing or society to evolve into a psycho-society ? Surveillance, spying, Bluffdale Utah, … ?

     

    • Steve__T

       It seems Big brother will be watching after all.

      • Expanded_Consciousness

        Already is. Hello, NSA.

    • http://twitter.com/Dragonsong73 Eric R. Duncan

       Greetings from the Panopticon!

  • albert Sordi

    Some may fly low enough for skeet shooting.

    • ElihuJ

       Which raises some interesting questions: if one is pestered by drones, what defensive measures may one take? Nets? Barrage balloons? Laser-blinding? And who is responsible if a felled drone causes damage on impact?

      Definitely a new sporting opportunity here…

      • nj_v2

        Mini, consumer, surface-to-air missiles.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    If democrats propose restricting drone use, rest assured, mama bear will get up on the podium and decry big government for attempting to take away our freedoms and trying to get in the way of pioneering mom and pop high tech businesses.

    Safety is a very serious concern as is the issue of our right to privacy. Government agents, politicians, security firms, poparazzi, stalkers, children and just downright stupid, irresponsible people will all threaten our safety and our civil liberties from above.

  • ElihuJ

    STRICT LIABILITY: anyone selling or operating a drone should be presumptively and without limit liable for all damages – including but not limited to property, privacy, health and reputation – resulting from its use. Clear civil and criminal penalties should be defined for violations parallel to forms of injurious behavior already regulated.

    A few heavy fines and imprisonments might have a salutary effect on otherwise (and perhaps anyway) predictable abuses.

  • MrStang

    Drones are more air pollution.

    There is a strong “money in Washington” angle to this air pollution problem. (Buck Mckeon could be the Duke Cunningham of drones; and Schumer the Schumer of Wall Street).

    truth-out.org/news/item/497:lobbying-report-drones-fly-through-congress-to-enter-us-skies

  • Tyranipocrit

    what they said…below

  • Tyranipocrit

    If one ever comes near me it will be destroyed–i dont care who owns it.

    • ToyYoda

      Make sure you are on American soil when you do that.  That will lessen the chance that you are not the targeted kill of the drone.  :)

      • Tyranipocrit

         I’m a little confused by your phrasing, but I’m pretty sure I am not a target for termination.  I am talking about private use, surveillance..whatever–either way, the drone is being used to assault me–so i have the natural right to defend my person, my privacy–it will be destroyed.  I have a right to defense.  And if it is targeting me for kill–then i certainly i have a right to defend myself–i will go to war with a drone. 

        If the authorities use against people, citizens, activists–then we can use it against them.  I would use drones to spy on police and corporate thugs.  I fully expect they would destroy it.  I will do the same with theirs.

    • http://twitter.com/Dragonsong73 Eric R. Duncan

      And I am sure if it belongs to law enforcement they will not call that probable cause, nor cite you for destruction of public property.

      I am all in favor of not living in the Panopticon just understand what you might be facing should you choose to make that stand.

      • Tyranipocrit

         Of course they will use the full force of the criminal laws against me–but i still have the natural right to defend myself and their authority used in this way is illegitimate.  If they can spy on me i should certainly have the right to spy on them- and monitor their corrupt actions.  Are we in a fascist police state or a democracy?  I intend to ensure we live in a free and equal state–one way or the other.  Spying on me is destruction of privacy and violates my constitutional rights no matter what rhetoric they use to excuse their criminal actions.

  • AC

    this isn’t ‘new’?

  • AC

    here’s a whole new market:
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/03/15/oregon-company-to-sell-drone-defense-technology-to-public

    just in time, since budget cuts in law enforcement will probably cut some jobs. guess we’re not saving any money after all…

    we’ll all just have to learn to be careful & make sure the drapes are drawn…..

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      “Drawing the drapes” reminds me of how unevenly laws against sodomy are enforced now, with human cops. It’s easier to get away with breaking those laws if you’re in a house on a cul-de-sac 300 feet away from your nearest neighbor, and also the street, than if you’re in an apartment somewhere.

  • ToyYoda

    Maybe not all drones are bad.  I like the new development of solar powered flight that allows such machines to stay in the air for weeks at a time.  

    That could lead to drones acting as a kind of ‘cell tower’ to give cellular phone coverage in areas that may not have it, or use to have it but was devastated by war or natural disasters.

    Also, not all application of surveillance drones need to be ‘evil’ either.  Survey drones to track forest fires could aid crews below, and having a few eyes in the sky off the coast of Somalia may aid shippers and Navy’s protect assets from pirates.

    If solar powered drones make excess energy, perhaps it could be used as a solar panel above the clouds.  (yeah, extraordinarily expensive, but there must be some benevolent applications of drones.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      well thats all very optomistic

  • creaker

    I wonder how long until they update the laws to ban civilians from using the technology. I read a story a while back some guy used a model plane & camera to photograph a business illegally dumping waste into a creek, I don’t see them allowing that kind of thing to happen as the technology becomes more widely available.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      you can buy a hero cam drone for $700

  • Gregg Smith

    Very, very cool videos!

    • ToyYoda

      You need to follow engadget.com or other tech blogs.  This is an old video.  A good one, but old.

      • Gregg Smith

        Thanks.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I’m excited for a drone the size of a dragonfly that my employer will use to peak in my window when I call in sick to work.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Now Shag, if you haven’t done anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to be afraid of.

      But seriously, that drone will have an infrared camera, so don’t say you’ve got a fever when you call in sick unless you can fake your way to 102F.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Can’t wait to see the blown up, grainy photo of me picking my nose…

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Ahh, and I’ve got the name already: “Upsnout” shots.

          (A slight alteration of the name given to certain disreputable candid photos.)

        • J__o__h__n

          That proves you had an illness.

  • Shag_Wevera

    If anyone is expecting “us” collectively to get in front of or slow down the spread and unlimited use of a technology, you are ignoring history and human nature (and capitalism).

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      That is not true. All technology develops within a social and political system. Sometimes it is tightly controlled (nuclear weapons) and sometimes it is loosely controlled (the internet), but technological determinism is a false and disproved doctrine.

      • Shag_Wevera

        I don’t think North Korea was intended to be a nuclear power.  I won’t go so far as to say determinism, but I’ll let the historical record speak for itself.

        • Expanded_Consciousness

          I agree that once the genie is out of the bottle, there is no putting the genie back, but it isn’t hopeless. Technology implementation can be shaped, and it can be slowed down.

  • madnomad554

    I am an ex-military sniper with two tours in Iraq, 03′ and 05′…served with 3rd Infantry Division. I am currently a bird photographer and have up to 1600mm worth of camera lens and a 16x (power) scope mounted on a very capable weapon. Any drone that can be seen with either of those two devices, will not make it back home.    

    • Gregg Smith

      Thank you for your service.

      • nj_v2

        Thank Mr. Young, too.

        http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318/

        A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

        To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
        From: Tomas Young

        I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.…

    • alsordi

      Hey mad,   Just how many human beings did you snipe?? Why??  Oh yeah…. the WMDs….forgot.  

      But hey.. that was then…. for now birds are fun… and no kidding… any decent hunting rifle with a scope will take out any visible drone.    It will be a common occurance in the US.

  • NrthOfTheBorder

    How long is it going to take an entrepreneur to devise a quick and easy way to shoot these things down? Not long I bet. 

    What legal justifications would there be to do this – assuming for instance that a neighbor is spying on you, or the police are doing it without a warrant?

    Drones will be another curse on the American soul, just like the proliferation of guns.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Shoot them down, or hack into their remote control. This is a major cyberwar front. 

      • nj_v2

        RadioWave Drone Blaster XL™ on sale now on Amazon for $29.99!

        • TomK_in_Boston

          LOL
          In terminator the humans used EMP.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Maybe we can use them to spy on able-bodied people who have gone on disability to milk the system but are simply lazy.  I bet that the program will pay for itself.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Hey, it doesn’t have to pay for itself. Forcing those people (if they exist in anything like the numbers you dream of) back into a saturated labor market is something our corporate uberlords would pay the relative pittance to have happen.

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    On the positive side, perhaps this technology can be used to enhance personal safety to amazing levels. Your drone hovering by you, at all times, as your own personal body guard. Never walk home alone at night. Never confront a stranger without your drone watching everything, recording everything, and ready to call 911 for you. This could really reduce crime.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      My drone can beat up your drone.

      • Expanded_Consciousness

        Exactly, that is the thing with technology, it becomes and a “Spy vs Spy” cartoon, a nuclear arms race. Well, it is more important to get ahead of the curve, then to fall behind.

  • AC

    i think it’s great. esp if it monitors aggressive drivers!!!

    • StilllHere

      … and takes em out!

  • JasonB

    When I was younger, I dreamed of the day when we lived with Star Trek-like technology. Now, I’m terrified of it. Privacy is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      It was unrealistic when they couldn’t find someone on board of the Star Trek Enterprise. Of course they will know where everyone is, at all times.

  • creaker

    This could bring the term “helicopter parent” to a whole new level.

  • madnomad554

    This feels a lot like electronic Communism… 

  • ToyYoda

    I could imagine an army of courier drones flying around Manhattan dropping off blueprints and other documents from one office to another.

  • Jason Vicente

    Isn’t there an issue with use of air space over private property – trespassing, invasion of privacy, etc?

    • creaker

      Also, how do you define “air space” – does that include 1 foot above the ground?

      • Jason Vicente

        Supposedly the law regarding property ownership includes the area to the core of the earth and up to the heavens. There are public policy easments allowing air craft to fly over our homes and zoning that controls how high we can build our homes, but technically a homeowner owns the air from the earth to space.

    • hennorama

      Generally, a landowner’s property interests extend to the airspace directly over the land, to the extent the airspace can be used to benefit the land below.  There is no need to have structures or other items occupying the airspace.

      However, the air is generally considered to be a public highway, restricted only by FAA minimum safe flight altitude rules and other FAA rules.  There are also some common law restrictions, such as trespassing, depriving one of quiet enjoyment, etc.

      Read more here:

      http://aviation.uslegal.com/ownership-of-airspace-over-property/
      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Airspace+Rights

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Maybe we can mount little wind turbines on them a fly them over to where the wind is strong, and then wirelessly transfer the energy to the grid.  This way, we can reduce our carbon footprint.

    • DeJay79

       except the laws of the conservation of energy contradict stable flight (use of energy) to produce energy from the flow of air. think of the air as a river and using a boat to keep a propeller in the water to generate electricity. it would be neutral at the very best.

      I like the attempt thou.

    • nj_v2

      It’ll work as well as the wind blades i have on my car.

  • rvl1

    People will use them to spy on family and neighbors. Criminals will use them to case their targets or monitor police activity.  There are beneficial uses but potential abuses. 

  • J__o__h__n

    Who will be the first celebrity to punch one?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lars.grantwest Lars Grant-West

    What’s the legality of private citizens flying over someone else’s property? Is it legal for someone else to have a drone hovering over your house?

  • Heidi Cron

    As I woman I learned a long time ago not to be concerned with who is watching me.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      “Every breath you take…every move you make…every bond you break…every step you take…the drone will be watching you.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/irvwestyouthadvocate Irv West

    The problem is that we humans are not good at establishing limits for ourselves. We split the atom and got xrays, MRI’s, treatment for cancer, and more. Then we used the technonlogy to create (and us) bombs.

    • Don_B1

      Actually, the discovery of x-rays came before fission, from observing the discoloration of photographic paper by an unknown emission (electromagnetic waves) created by the collision of electrons with the anode or glass sides of Crookes tubes.

      Fission radiates atomic particles (atomic fragments), beta particles, anti-neutrinos and gamma rays.

      Most of the useful things you mention are the result of x-ray generation, although radioactive products of fission are used medically and otherwise.

  • Nate Atkinson

    If my drone kept accidentally running into and downing other drones (perhaps due to a software problem), what would happen?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Why are we hearing this Rand Paul fantasy crap again? His worry is so far-fetched it makes the Mississippi lege look reasonable.

    And will he put up or shut up when it comes time to vote on the appropriations?

  • MaxBTV

    I work for a Geospatial firm in Vermont and we’re actually investing in a UAV eventually and they possibilities are endless for more local projects. One big reason we got it is for disaster response, such as the effects of Irene. Satellite imagery and government funded orthophotography is so temporally sparse that we need it for more timely responses. It’s relatively cheap, and has three different sensor bands for everything we need (red, green, blue, and near-infared)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1264914199 Martha Winkel

    I think this is worth noting on this program…if you have not already.  The CITY of Charlottesville, VA has banned drones.
    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/05/city-in-virginia-becomes-first-to-pass-anti-drone-legislation-

    • creaker

      It’ll be interesting how it plays out – I don’t think the city has jurisdiction over their airspace.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    Another great way to invade your privacy. 

  • creaker

    Funny how they keep saying “sky” – the technology is fully capable of using the “air space” just outside your bedroom – or in it.

    Also why do drones need to be limited to the air? Why not on the roads, on the ground, in the water, etc.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I read that the navy was “laying off” their trained dolphins in favor of underwater drones. It’s not just humans losing jobs.

      • StilllHere

        Smithers, release the drones.

  • vljcolombo

    Will there be any kind of regulation this time, before the devices proliferate?  Aren’t smart phones annoying enough without having someone else’s phone buzzing around your head?  You can look for me sitting on my front porch with a laser-sighted BB Gun…

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    Send me a Taco!

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Mechanical drones can’t be worse than the drones we already have, the entitled financial con operators like romney who suck the wealth out of the economy produce nothing. 

  • MarkVII88

    How is this issue of private drones that much different than the panoply of surveillance that European countries employ every day?  Traffic cams, building cams, speed cams.  I read once that you are guaranteed to have your photo taken a minimum of 3 times a day if you live or visit London.  And the citizens of those countries/cities have lived with this for years.

  • vljcolombo

    Will we implement any regulation to control drone usage, protect privacy, avoid annoyance before they proliferate?  Probably not.  I, for one, find other people’s smart phones annoying enough without having them buzzing around my head.  You’ll find me on my front porch with a laser-sighted BB Gun.

  • creaker

    I’m surprised we haven’t already seen incidents of paparazzi using drones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

    The argument that there are already cameras everywhere does not convince me. That may apply in the city but as usual so many people seem to forget rural areas. Right now there are lots and lots of places, especially in more rural areas, where I can look around and feel pretty confident that unless someone is out there mounting cameras on trees on my own land, there is not a camera that can see me. Adding cameras in the sky (that can make higher resolution images than standard public satellite or high level aerial photos) does change the privacy situation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

      I did hear a reasonable answer to this on the show. Photographing someone in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy is generally against the law.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BGHooke Bruce Hooke

    On the other hand, if a 6-year old child, or a 90-year old Alzheimers patient is lost in the woods it sure would be great if a drone with a thermal imaging camera could be sent up to look for them.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Exactly. There are great safety opportunities with drones. It ain’t all negative.

    • NrthOfTheBorder

      Nah. We always dream of technical solutions to common problems but in process fail to truly evaluate its effectiveness and get stuck with a host of unanticipated problems. 

      One example: hand guns purchased for home or personal protection.  For every one instance of the intended use and benefit there are hundreds, if not thousands, of accidents and abuse.

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        your example is a complete fabrication and very misleading. the most anti-gun researcher currently operating puts the number of times guns are used for self defense at 100,000 a year. if you were right than there would have to be 10 million cases of accidents and abuse but there are less than 10,000

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlos.w.kebe Carlos William Kebe

    As a hot air balloon owner and pilot in CT, I would worry about one flying into my balloon and tearing the fabric envelope!

    • Roy-in-Boise

      Very true … will these aircraft be operated under VFR or IFR?

  • Kyle

    is it legal to fly one of these over someone else’s property(within eyesight)?  I would assume not, but that may be key with some of these privacy issues

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    of course we need laws before the technology takes off. Its almost impossible now to keep people from talking on the phone while driving even though its almost as dangerous as driving drunk. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlos.w.kebe Carlos William Kebe

    As a hot air balloon owner and pilot in CT, I would worry about one flying into my balloon and tearing the fabric envelope!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/L7NCGP4BI7CHC3CAJHSWUIACUA Brian

    The one question is that with all the drones in the sky is that how can they cross into privite property when Every land owner owns from thier corner markers to infinity in the sky?

    • harverdphd

       yeah, right

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Two applicable quotes reworked and applied to this burgeoning new issue:

    1) “There are no bad drones just bad drone operators.”

    2) “Drones don’t watch people. People watch people.”

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      If there are drone-control laws, only bad people will have drones!

  • rvl1

    There a business opportunity in anti-drone technology.  As for me, if I see one in my yard, I’ll use my low-tech garden hose to take it out.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I’d pay to see that.

      • harverdphd

         Then you have more money than brains, Cory

      • StilllHere

        I’ll just send my drone over to stream it to me.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    The FAA says under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) fixed wing aircraft must maintain 1000 ft above ground level (AGL) over populated areas and rotor wing aircraft must maintain an altitude of 500 ft AGL. Private drones must not fly where they can cause a conflict with VFR traffic. However they must not be a low leval nuisance to people on the ground. Should Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) apply to drones? At least that way flight plans are filled and Air Traffic Control (ATC) knows where they are at all times.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

    Sure we can come up with reasons why drones are wonderful, but in the end the potential to do harm outweighs the good imho. I like St Bernards

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      Technology will always have positive and negative uses, the best we can do is try to shape technology’s implementation in a positive way.

  • hypocracy1

    We just got over the debate on gun control and the first reaction people have is to grab their gun and attempt to shoot down the drone?

    Put on your tin-foil hats and calm down.

    • hennorama

      These small private UAVs seem pretty fragile, so it wouldn’t take much to disrupt them.  A faster and more maneuverable kamikaze drone would suffice.  Costs will no doubt come down as production levels increase.  Or perhaps a private “Iron Dome” sort of automated interceptor system using advanced slingshot technology?  Maybe a converted baseball pitching machine? 

      Generally, a landowner’s property interests extend to the airspace directly over the land, to the extent the airspace can be used to benefit the land below.  There is no need to have structures or other items occupying the airspace.

      However, the air is generally considered to be a public highway, restricted only by FAA minimum safe flight altitude rules and other FAA rules.  There are also some common law restrictions, such as trespassing, depriving one of quiet enjoyment, etc.

      Read more here:

      http://aviation.uslegal.com/ownership-of-airspace-over-property/
      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Airspace+Rights

  • hennorama

    Once again, the use of available technology seems to be outpacing legal concerns, especially privacy concerns.

    Clearly UAVs will be used in ways that are not readily apparent at present.  As the cost comes down, we will see private use and  experimentation increase greatly, and new, unanticipated uses will emerge.

    As an example of new, unanticipated uses of technology.  Author Susan Spencer-Wendel was afflicted with ALS, and lost the use of all of her fingers except her right thumb.  Undeterred,

    “She wrote the book [called Until I Say Good-Bye] — all 89,000 words of it — on an iPhone, using her right thumb, the only finger she had use of. It took three months, and she compares the task to climbing a mountain or finishing a triathlon.”

    One doubts that the creators of the iPhone anticipated this use of their technology.  Who knows what uses for UAVs will emerge as their private usage increases?  No doubt  there will be a mix of uses, good and bad.

    http://www.npr.org/2013/03/09/173525564/d

  • StilllHere

    Look out pizza delivery guys!

    • hennorama

      Imagine the Dominos Delivery Drone (3D) equipped with insulated bays keeping your pizza hot and fresh.  It also has a robotic arm that rings your doorbell or knocks on your door.

      After opening their door, the customer then swipes their payment card in the card reader, the transaction is processed, and the drone bay door opens, giving the customer access to their pizza.

      3D done.

      • Expanded_Consciousness

        On Star Trek, food just appeared, too.

  • boadacia

    Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. This is a good example of the misuse of technology. As for use in rural areas, on farms–how is all this going to affect wildlife, especially birds, bees etc.? In addition, 100 years ago,  it took 90 people on the farm to feed 100. Now it takes 1.5 people to feed 100.  With high unemployment rates, maybe it’s time to consider going back to some less technical enterprises. I do not want drones flying around in my airspace. It’s already cluttered enough with pollutants galore as well as radio waves, etc.

    • harverdphd

       “should” is irrelevant.. you don’t want is irrelevant…I want is relevant….

      • boadacia

        Thinking like yours is bringing about destruction of just about everything that has sustained life for millions of years. Be careful about what you want. Reread the Grimm story about the Fisherman and his wife….

  • Trond33

    I think todays news that the CIA will lose its drone program to the Pentagon speaks volumes about this whole issue.  This technology needs rational and more-or-less open decision makers.  Hyped up mission driven and secretive organizations such as the CIA are not capable of acting in the publics best interest when it comes to such technology.  If the CIA is not, then I propose private corporations are even less capable of protecting the public interests from their own corporate special interests. 

  • William

    These things are cheaper to buy and operate than helos. All the police should be directed to get rid of the helos and replace them with drones. 

  • Ginger

    Hi Tom, I call them the Dreaded Drones, so that says it all as to how i feel about them. The sound of them alone is noise pollution to me as a sound-sensitive person. What about safety of them crowding the sky?  Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/allen2saint allen 2saint

    Am I the only one who thinks this Anderson guy is on a self promotion tour. As common as the personal computer? Come on. I notice he was so “objective” he mentioned the price of his product. Don’t believe the hype people.

  • casual_observer2

    Would have liked to have heard a more balanced program tonight – your guests all had profit stakes in the further development and implementation of this technology and pointed out only the positives.  Let’s hear the opposing side to the topic as well, there are plenty of issues that were barely mentioned.

  • Michael Burnett

    Hi Tom – As a remote sensing specialist I was a little disappointed with your guests today.  While they mentioned other uses for drones, they seemed to focus on aerial imagery, a technology in and of itself.  The drones are merely a way of acquiring the data. Multpile high resolution commercial imaging satellites pass over most parts of the world daily (not once/year) and can deliver imagery as high as 40-centimeter resolution.  Fixed wing aircraft collect millions of acres of high resolution multispectral orhtoimagery for in season pesticide/fertilizer application decisions every growing season in the US.  The imaging capability your guests advocated for drones is nothing new, it’s just a different (and currently more expensive) way of getting there.

  • Tyranipocrit

    The laws will be used to forbid citizens from using drones to monitor police and corporate criminals–called our leaders–but they will use them and reserve the right to use them against us.  The laws created are deliberately being created to protect elected criminals police thugs and prevent the plebeian mob form having similar or the same rights.

  • http://twitter.com/jiao_tu Winston

    Tom’s dismissive attitude of weaponizing other technologies in lieu of drones is baffling when example after example can demonstrate that people will pervert technology of all stripes for their own use. It just needs enough regulation and training. Just like any other technology.

    • Expanded_Consciousness

      No, some technologies are more dangerous than others. Everyone having a hammer isn’t as dangerous as everyone owning nuclear weapons.

      • http://twitter.com/jiao_tu Winston

        So how many people can use nuclear weapons without training? How were these people able to get WMDs even though they are heavily regulated?

        On topic though I was referring to other technologies that aren’t inherently made as a weapon. RC helicopters and planes are innocuous when first bought, strap a camera to it and it can be used as a makeshift spy drone. The point still being that technology will always be molded to fit a purpose aside from its intended use which needs regulations to help limit it to its intended use.

  • http://twitter.com/pdbraun Paul Braun

    Tried to call but couldn’t get through.  I wanted to mention an application with a social services dimension.  I’m using UAV’s and the First Person Viewing to help kids on the autism spectrum understand what perspective taking is all about.  Thanks to KickStarter, I raised enough funds to purchase equipment and pull it off.  Check it out at http://taking-autism-to-the-sky.blogspot.com. 

  • http://www.designbynewton.com/aerial-drone-photography Aerial drone photography

    “Drones on top of drones. New, commercial drones take off. Some say our skies will be dark with privately-owned drones.” this is really matter of worried if private drone are available then the national security will so week so I think private drone skying should be restricted .

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