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Other Uses For Drones Besides Combat?

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    We all know that the national dialog, or lack thereof, over drones is centered around their use for military reasons. And, that conversation gives me great pause. But, I want to instead consider the use of this technology for a moment in other domains, as new technology should not be feared completely just because man's first instinct is to use it to kill other men. I mean, drones can and seemingly will usher in a huge range of jobs and services that can make life's tasks easier, cheaper and wider-ranging.

    A few fields that can and will be changed by this technology will be:

    #1 seems to go to the world of Agriculture. Here's a great article detailing the strides made in this department with drone usage. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/26/unmanned-drones-may-have-their-greatest-impact-on-agriculture.html

    Another article http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/8-cool-uses-drones-130325.htm sights these areas being revolutionized by drone tech:

    Real estate sales, surveillance and data collection, sports photography, highway patrol, wildlife and atmospheric research, hunting and anti-hunting, disaster relief and environmental compliance.

    While some of these, especially surveillance and data collection continue to pretty much scare me with thoughts of BIG BROTHER, the others make me feel that this technology can and will be a great tool for us in the years to come.

    Care to throw in your opinion on the matter? Can you think of someplace else drones could actually help us? Or perhaps even a brand new domain that drones will usher in that's not Orwellian in nature? ... I'm trying to be optimistic here, please indulge me. :)
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    The drones are not the problem, it's the use and control of them and of course the lack of an oversight body which should have accountability responsibilties granted to them by congress,forgetting the Law Enforcement applications for the moment, drones would be great for finding possible new mining sites, farming sites, search and rescue missions,etc. Bring them on,but first set up parameters for their use with oversight measures.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    sbfriedman Wrote: We all know that the national dialog, or lack thereof, over drones is centered around their use for military reasons. And, that conversation gives me great pause. But, I want to instead consider the use of this technology for a moment in other domains, as new technology should not be feared completely just because man's first instinct is to use it to kill other men. I mean, drones can and seemingly will usher in a huge range of jobs and services that can make life's tasks easier, cheaper and wider-ranging.

    A few fields that can and will be changed by this technology will be:

    #1 seems to go to the world of Agriculture. Here's a great article detailing the strides made in this department with drone usage. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/26/unmanned-drones-may-have-their-greatest-impact-on-agriculture.html

    Another article http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/8-cool-uses-drones-130325.htm sights these areas being revolutionized by drone tech:

    Real estate sales, surveillance and data collection, sports photography, highway patrol, wildlife and atmospheric research, hunting and anti-hunting, disaster relief and environmental compliance.

    While some of these, especially surveillance and data collection continue to pretty much scare me with thoughts of BIG BROTHER, the others make me feel that this technology can and will be a great tool for us in the years to come.

    Care to throw in your opinion on the matter? Can you think of someplace else drones could actually help us? Or perhaps even a brand new domain that drones will usher in that's not Orwellian in nature? ... I'm trying to be optimistic here, please indulge me. :)
    Guess it is not all that simple as portrayed.
    I think the biggest problem is the "controlled" airspace; right now it is the FAA and DOT who are in charge; not just any person or company can launch anything into the air which is not subject to certain airspace rules. Especially if such use expands then oversight has to be expanded, which implies higher taxation. Right now the oposite is in effect; the government because of sequestration is cutting back on control; for instance in SW FL they are intending to shutting down 3 control towers on small airfields ( Ft. Myers, Naples, Charlotte)
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    I understand what you're saying Dutch, here in Meridian they had us on that control tower list, but we were saved because of the fact that we have the longest runways in the state. The President has landed here, as well as other 747s, so we were removed from that list. Insofar as drones, as long as they fly under some minimal threshold, wouldn't it be just like anything else lofted into the lower atmosphere, and be unregulated? I sure am no expert, but I believe some minimum altitude has to be reached before the airspace is considered as "controlled". Once this altitude is surpassed it IS controlled airspace, and regardless of whether or not control towers are in operation, the rules and laws are still in effect. It is just the enforcement that will suffer.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    michaels39301 Wrote: I understand what you're saying Dutch, here in Meridian they had us on that control tower list, but we were saved because of the fact that we have the longest runways in the state. The President has landed here, as well as other 747s, so we were removed from that list. Insofar as drones, as long as they fly under some minimal threshold, wouldn't it be just like anything else lofted into the lower atmosphere, and be unregulated? I sure am no expert, but I believe some minimum altitude has to be reached before the airspace is considered as "controlled". Once this altitude is surpassed it IS controlled airspace, and regardless of whether or not control towers are in operation, the rules and laws are still in effect. It is just the enforcement that will suffer.
    It is a bit more complicated than that; besides controlled airspace there is also "restricted airspace"; mostly around military area's; government restricted area's; even sometimes prisons etc. Allowable "free" altitude is often variable over populated area's. Washington DC, has the most restrictions.
    Of course depending on airport locations and "fly-in/out" layout of runways a lot of restrictions apply. Furthermore realize that "electronic" interference of such "drones" may also become a problem area; so likely they will be restricted to certain frequencies, in order not to interfere with civil/military aviation traffic.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    It always boils down to enforcement doesn't it, not just the enforcement but the fairness of the enforcement, a man buys a rifle for the express purpose of deer hunting, there are rules and regulations governing that very thing ,but instead he goes and shoots his neighbor ,now what? Change the rules but there are already rules and regulations for civil behaviour, so the best thing of course is to have an oversight committee ,of course in hindsight everything is 20-20, there is little in the way of prevention that someone or something can do to alter the course of a deranged person, but we can put in safeguards to mimize the chances of that event from occurring, now we have another problem,what is reasonable precaution and when does it become a venue of oppression, damn, man is so complicated!
  • Democrat
    Julian, CA
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    The loonies in the U.S. Government now think it is a great idea to arm those drones patrolling the Mexican and Canadian borders and if these drones start slaughtering and maiming thousands of their citizens like other countries on the planet then America will end up at war with their two neighbors.
    Do the American people realize that they can buy their very own drone for $300 and spy on the U.S. Government spying on the American people or even better all those gun toten patriotic Americans could use these drones for target practice.