American Drones Moving In At Home

America’s drone future, at home. With a near-miss airliner incident and debate over regulation, drones are moving in. Plus: Richard Clarke on his new novel of a drone-filled future America.

Parrot product manager Francois Callou holds a Parrot Bebop drone during a Parrot event in San Francisco, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The Parrot Bebop drone, which has a 14-megapixel fish-eye camera lens and battery life of about 12 minutes flying time, is scheduled to be released later this year. (AP)

Parrot product manager Francois Callou holds a Parrot Bebop drone during a Parrot event in San Francisco, Thursday, May 8, 2014. The Parrot Bebop drone, which has a 14-megapixel fish-eye camera lens and battery life of about 12 minutes flying time, is scheduled to be released later this year. (AP)

Big and lethal American drones have changed the equation of global power projection in the last decade.  Raised big moral and legal and strategic questions in skies around the world.  Now, a swarm of smaller drones is chomping at the bit to flood America’s skies.  The FAA is still working out the rules, but some aren’t waiting.  We had a near-miss with an airliner just reported in Florida.  They’re calling it the Wild West up there.  And it’s just begun.  This hour On Point:  drones in American skies, present and future.  And we’ll talk with former White House security guru Richard Clarke about American drones abroad.

– Tom Ashbrook


Jack Nicas, aviation reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@jacknicas)

Vijay Kumar, professor in the school of engineering and applied sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Former assistant director of Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Christian Sanz, CEO and founder of Skycatch, a data retrieval and aerial robotics platform. (@csanz)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: FAA, Drones Clash on Rules for Unmanned Aircraft — “Across the U.S., drones monitor crops, snap real-estate photographs, inspect roofs, shoot commercials and perform other tasks, according to people in the unmanned aircraft industry. Pilots of those drones are defying seven-year-old restrictions on commercial unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has said the curbs are needed for public safety. But limited resources and legal complications have led to scattershot enforcement by the agency, emboldening even more drone operators.”

Smithsonian Magazine: What Would You Do With A Drone? — “Drone technology was developed for military use, but a growing number of alternatives have popped up in the last decade. Citrus farmers now use drones to monitor crops. Conservationists keep tabs on endangered species, as well as any poachers. Police departments are thinking of using them in rescue and hostage situations. Drones have even helped shoot some major feature films, including Man of Steel and Skyfall.”

 Houston Chronicle: Drones give energy companies high hopes for safer work — “Unmanned aerial vehicles flying over pipelines while outfitted with special sensors could detect leaks quickly. And that’s not the only potential application. Energy companies are testing drones to inspect hard-to-reach spaces like refinery flare stacks, offshore platforms and even wind turbine blades in an effort to save time and boost worker safety.”

Richard Clarke On His Novel “Sting Of The Drone”

Richard Clarke, author of the new book, “Sting of the Drone.” Former White House National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism. (@ghsrm)

Read An Excerpt Of “Sting Of The Drone” By Richard Clarke

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