Drones- Are they watching you?

January 8, 2014
Imagine a time in the future when you can get a package thirty minutes after you order it. Imagine a time where you never take another picture because you have a robot to do it for you. Imagine a time when you don’t have to worry about being late because you can see where the traffic is at all times. There wouldn’t be a need for many delivery jobs when a small robot can do it cheaper and faster. That time isn’t far off.

I’m talking about drones. They are the wave of future. With Amazon announcing its new commercial delivery service, and also a number of companies selling UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for the public, we are sure to be seeing many in the sky soon. However we must be aware of them, because while there are many amazing things they can do, we have to realize at what cost. They are available to most of the public and the fact that they can go almost anywhere is scary to think about. We must be aware of drones for the sake of our own security.

So what is a drone? “an unmanned aircraft or ship that can navigate autonomously, without human control or beyond line of sight.” More specifically it is what these robots can do. Most of the time when we hear about drones it is just the U.S. bombing somewhere in the Middle East. That is going to change soon. Drones are gaining speed and they are advancing. Most drones right now that are available to the public are very limited. There are simple RC (Remote Controlled) multicopter that are just for recreation or digital photography. Then there are also those that are programmed to fly on there own using sensors to gauge direction and altitude. Yet most of the public is extremely paranoid about drones and don’t trust them. Why?

The news headlines are what starts the anger against drones. “U.S. drone kills 20 suspected members of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Or maybe it’s the NSA and all their spying on the internet that now make people actually believe the outrageous conspiracy theories. It also doesn’t help that the media gives drones a bad rap. So what exactly does the public think? Well I asked some of my classmates and almost all of them said that while they think the idea of drones everywhere is cool, they wouldn’t like it for the simple fact that they don’t know if a drone could be watching. They aren’t the only ones that share this opinion many states have tried to outlaw drones. Some people have even taken it to the point to petition to make it legal to shoot down drones that they think are “watching them”. However at the moment it is mostly petitions

The hate and distrust of drones simply comes from the fact that we are quite ignorant about them. Most us don’t know that in 2015 the FAA will revisit the laws about commercial drones. If approved you will see drones everywhere. Even though it’s the twenty-first century people are still wary of new technology. The ups and downs of drones aren’t quite what everyone thinks. They aren’t out of control NSA spies that will fall on your head any minute now. They have real potential of reducing the time to take jobs it would normally take us days to do normally, because after all we can’t fly. The commercial advantages of drones far outway the disadvantages. After all Amazon isn’t investing so much money in this new service for nothing. So what is the comparison? Well drones are very energy efficient, or at least compared to a postal truck. The price of gasoline is much more than the price of the electricity it takes to fly a drone a good number of miles. Drones are eco-friendly as there are no gas emissions when flying a drone. Drones also use less energy because they are flying a shorter route the is not hindered by roads or traffic. Of course there are downsides however small they may be. While a drone can fly a package to your house in thirty minutes, the current battery lifetime is limited so you couldn’t really get one to fly out of state. However this is a temporary problem as battery technology will have increased in coming years. Of course there is also a loss in jobs for postmen who deliver packages, but there is an increase in jobs involving drones. The only main problem with drones is really humans ourselves. What is to stop someone from shooting a drone out of the sky and just taking it and it’s package for him/herself? While there is a GPS installed this can be disabled. So drones like Amazon’s “Prime Air” might be a couple years off. I have faith though that we will be seeing them in the sky in a few years.

If all this still has not quelled your fear of drones let me put it in this perspective. When the automobile was first put on the assembly line by Henry Ford, many of the people who bought it were ridiculed. And for good reason too. It went against most of what people thought was normal. A horse was the fastest mode of land transportation and here was something that wasn’t even an animal that challenged it. Yet here we are today with almost everyone using a car as their primary method of transportation years and years later. There are improvements too. There were no traffic lights or signs. There were no blinkers on the cars, no double yellow lines. There were not even any seatbelts. So the car has come a long way. That’s why I say be patient about drones. They definitely have their flaws now so be aware. If we support people who make and improve them who knows where they will be in thirty, twenty, or even ten years. With the amazing things that are happening with them right now between, researching animal populations from up above, to flying down the highway to keep track of traffic and accidents, I believe that drones are the future.

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