Wireless Design and Development (WDD) has a lot of coverage on drones. And why not? They’re incredible feats of technology that are finding new applications in a variety of markets – and they’re really fun to play with.
However, a recent reader comment on “Drone Sightings up Dramatically” caught my attention. Take a look:
Drones, like any other tool, are great tools when used for the correct purpose and at the correct time.
However, it is only matter of time until someone uses one of these devices for ill intended purposes. I’m not talking about the “Peeping Tom” variety as that is already being done. I’m talking about a terrorist attaching a small device to inflict harm or damage to others.
The U.S. uses drones, un-manned, remote controlled aircraft for combat missions – no new news here.
Imagine a terrorist attaching an aerosol device with a chemical or biological agent instead of a camera. The operator flies over a crowed event like an NFL open stadium football game, the Boston Pops 4th of July celebration, or a simple Holiday Parade.
The crowd is search by police, monitored by undercover officials, but blocks away a drone takes flight. The drone then quietly releases its devices over an unsuspecting crowd.
The terrorists may already be test running these situation as drones have been spotted over some of these events. They have been spotted near airports or nearby known air traffic.
Who is at the control of these devices? Have they been vetted? Do you need a background check to purchase them? What is their true intent?
There are lots of controls in place to stop people from obtaining firearms, yet the unlawful will still try to get them. These new tools are easy to get, with enough money, and are on the open market. A little training and you’re in flight.
Just a thought, a scary thought, but just a thought.
This comment’s contents need to be taken seriously and considered by not just drone manufacturers, but by the Federal Aviation Administration as well (FAA).
I was recently in Barnes and Noble (I still like to read words on paper), and I had the opportunity to purchase a quadcopter. With very little experience of flying one, I was tempted, but ultimately declined because it was a holiday shopping trip for the family, not myself.
My nine-year-old nephew received a small drone for his birthday and crashed it several times within his home. I can only imagine what sort of mischief he could get into outdoors.
However, harmless play is completely different from intentional harm. As we all know, crazy people exist and will go to extremes to hurt certain people. Don’t get me wrong, my intentions of this blog is to not fill those particular people’s heads with ideas, but to raise awareness echoed in the above.
We need answers to some of these questions, especially as many companies move to commercialize drones to help with transporting payloads. With the many benefits to commercializing drones come equal risks. We need more safety precautions in place to guarantee that such technology isn’t intended for harmful use. Whether that involves setting up certain standards, protocols, and licensing procedures, I believe the FAA should take the lead on the process, and get as many drone manufacturers involved as well to set up the guidelines for owning and operating drones.
If we want to continue moving forward with the commercialization of drones, there should be safety precautions in place to guarantee that such technology isn’t intended for harmful use. Currently, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are “not authorized in Class B airspace, which exists over major urban areas and contains the highest density of manned aircraft in the National Airspace System.”1 Out of the three types of UAS (civil, public and model aircraft), model aircraft used for recreational flying doesn’t require FAA approval, but operators are required to follow safety guidelines that are covered by FAA Advisory Circular 91-57.2
I believe the FAA should continue to take the lead on the process, and get as many drone manufacturers involved as well to set up the guidelines for owning and operating drones in order to prevent any harmful intentions.
What are your thoughts? Should there be cause for alarm when it comes to owning and operating drones? What sort of threats are you concerned about when it comes to this type of technology? What are some of the solutions to prevent such threats? Post your comments below or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.