Aerial drones will gain access to much more US airspace this year. Some of our readers are understandably more than a little concerned about the fact that unmanned aircraft will be flying right alongside their manned counterparts, be they under military, government, commercial or private control.
Keeping pace with other technology, UAV’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and their maritime and terrestrial counterparts, have become more affordable. So much so that you will soon see your neighbors operating them in your neighborhood, if you have not already.
Good or Bad?
On the upside, like other technology, drones help save lives, save money, protect our freedoms, protect the environment and are powerful tools in the hands of the military and law enforcement. Drones can perform many tasks that would be excessively dangerous or enter areas that would put lives at risk.
Most of us are probably familiar with their military applications, but here are some of their many beneficial non-military uses:
- Search & Rescue
- Disaster Relief
- Delivering Medical Supplies
- Wildlife Conservation
- Power Line Inspection
- Wild Land Fire Detection, Mapping and Fire Fighting
- Aerial Photography
- Oil & Gas Exploration
- Weather Research
- Detection of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear) Agents
- Livestock Monitoring
- Surveying Crops
- Home Security
- Maritime Patrol
- Law Enforcement
- Homeland Security
- Border Patrol
On the downside, drones further extend the reach of a government that many feel is already out of control and have been misused to assassinate multiple American citizens, one of whom was only 16 years old. There was no trial or due process. No one was prosecuted or even lost their job. I doubt anyone even received a slam on the wrist, unless you consider high fives and commendations to be punishment.
So there is no question that drones will further erode the privacy of ordinary citizens.