Is it Time to Stop Worrying and Love the Domestic Drone?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Drone (US Air Force/Wikipedia Commons)

"Drone" is becoming an increasingly common word in our 21st-century vocabulary, and to many it strikes a fearful note: it conjures images of stealth Predator drones, or incites concerns about Big Brother–esque surveillance techniques. And with a recent, and still largely opaque, mandate that offers new, less bridled regulations on the domestic use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, these concerns are rising more and more to the fore. But are these worries well founded? And how did we get to the point that UAVs are becoming an ever-readier part of quotidian life in the United States?

John Villasenor, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and professor of Electrical Engineering at UCLA, puts the unfolding history of drones into wider perspective. Also offering his opinion is Charles Easterling, founder of Crescent Unmanned Systems LLC, which manufacturers UAVs for public and commercial use.


Charles Easterling and John Villasenor

Produced by:

Ben Gottlieb

Comments [2]

Angel from Miami, FL

@listener Flying an American remote control airplane over a battlefield doesn't make Israel the creator of the UAV. Whatever.

As seen in 1983's Blue Thunder. It starts with a surveillance mission and ends with a 20mm Vulcan cannon for "crowd control". Except this time there won't be a conscientious pilot to park the drone in front of a freight train to rid the people of this gross infringement of constitutional rights and freedoms. Just because the Founding Fathers didn't envision robotic spy planes doesn't mean they didn't intend for us to be free of an omniscient eye.

When all is said and done it will be those with the keys to the drones that will never be spied upon by the same.

May. 08 2012 01:59 PM

"Are we the OPEC, the Saudi Arabia of UAVs at this point"

As usual, a horse and carriage can be driven through the holes in some of these segments.
The first modern UAV was developed by Israel and used during the Yom Kipper War in 1973 for the survival of their nation and not as a hobby on a Saturday afternoon. The US began buying the drones from Israel in the 1990's no doubt to the consternation of the same progressives who applaud the President's frequent use of them today.

Don't say thank you Israel all at once.

May. 08 2012 11:19 AM

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