Use of drones: Boon or Bane?

As use of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS) are becoming more popular, questions about safety, privacy and potential threats of its usage are asked by many.

Though it is being used for firefighting, environmental operations, police surveillance and search-and-rescue in different countries, if it falls in the wrong hands it may be used for nefarious activities like what happened in Taiwan where a gang of thieves used  remote-controlled helicopters to carry out a jewelry  heist.

There is also the fact that drone accident rates are seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times more compared to accident rates in commercial aviation.

Even Adriano Kancelkis, the president of AGX Tecnologia, which manufactures drones in Brazil, is a little worried about the use of drones. On the other hand, if used correctly he believes that drone technology can help improve farming. He said: “Drone technology will spread as the costs come down, just like cell phones or DVDs… In the future, I can’t imagine farming without drones.”

Though the use of drones are still prohibited and illegal in the United States, President Obama ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with regulations and guidelines for its possible law enforcement and commercial use starting September of 2015.

Peter W. Singer, an expert on robotics was enthusiastic with Obama’s decision and commented: “What the opening of the civilian airspace will do to robotics is akin to what the internet did to desktop computing,” and added, “If you are a maker of small tactical surveillance drones in the US right now, your client pool numbers effectively one: the US military. But when the airspace opens up, you will have as many as 21,000 new clients.”

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