Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thought-Provoking Re Drones: Is Big Brother Hovering Near Your Windows?

New-Age of Drones: Little Privacy, Safety Concerns, Questionable Value, Future Uncertain

This New Growing Pervasive Technology Seems to Fit the Model

First from here on this topic: Early this year, Congress considered House Bill No. 5217 (An Act Concerning Use of Unmanned Aircraft) more commonly referred to as “Drones,” and more formally named: “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS).” Those Drones have gained notoriety in the war on terror regarding their use for surgical strikes, or so-called “targeted killings” of terrorists in remote areas. 

Military drones were first developed in 1948, and they fall into two categories: (1) surveillance and (2) those employed to deliver payloads to remote targets. The first powered flight occurred in 1951. Within a decade the development of surveillance drones emerged. Now, commercial America is contemplating the domestic use of these UAVS. For example, companies like Amazon and FedEx are exploring the possible use of drones as delivery vehicles for their packages.

Then we have the ever-present hobbyists. Like the model plane and rocket enthusiasts, there is now an active community of recreational drone owners. They operate like any radio controlled, miniature hobby vehicle, over limited areas and at limited heights. This has allowed the hobbyists to escape confrontation with the FAA, operating in the unregulated space from the ground up to 700-1200 feet.

Miniature UAVS like the Parrot AR (selling for $300.00), or the DJI Phantom ($700.00) can be equipped with high-powered action cameras and have the capability of being programmed to fly to and from locations.

Regarding FAA rules see this article from Raw Story (Reuters) – highlights include:

1.  On at least 25 occasions since June 1 this year, pilots have reported drones nearly colliding with larger aircraft (the FAA revealed in a report this past week).

2.  The FAA, in crafting its rules related to unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds, is weighing the interests of those who would like to begin using drones for commercial purposes against those of airline pilots, who are concerned that drone aircraft can be difficult to see.  I have serious issues about the commercial use of Drones across America … I suspect it’s a passing fad but with very serious concerns. Big profits for the manufacturers but that must not drive the debate. 

Surely big brother is watching — Geo. Orwell would not be surprised, what about you?

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