Drone wars are set to go big this year. After numbers of aircraft are now reporting near-misses with airliners near cities, the debate about drones is set to intensify in 2015. Some might say it is set to drone on, but it has a very serious application for life and limb.
Not only are there more of them now , there are set to be even more as businesses and individuals join the military and security services rush to get millions of cameras and workhorses into the skies above us.
They can now be bought for as little as £40. Soon the ‘selfie’ will be replaced with the ‘dronie’ as narcissistic people buy them to have themselves constantly filmed with their own personal airborne film crews overhead.
Drones will be a big issue this year.
On the one hand
As long ago as March 2013 Glenn Greenwald wrote in The Guardian that ‘dismissive claims that drones do nothing more than helicopters and satellites already do are wildly misinformed.’
Informed by the use of drones in the warfare that is going on in various places against degrees of terrorism, his views were that we should be worried about:
- future use of drones as weapons
- future use of drones as surveillance by law enforcement
- future loss of privacy and civil rights
As drones get lighter, more agile, cheaper and able to cover greater distances with more capability packed on board, drones could present a threat, perhaps even greater than many feel that robots and artificial intelligence generally will in the near future.
Police in Delhi are set to get a fleet of night-vision spy drones to patrol the streets of the city. Others are sure to follow.
The drone survival guide is available for those who are concerned enough to prepare themselves. Of course, nothing can make anybody safe should a drone collide with an airplane in mid air.
The Mail on Sunday reported (7 December 2014) one of the most serious near-collisions when a pilot of an Airbus A320 with a capacity of 180 passengers spotted at 700ft a drone that had not been picked up by Air Traffic Controllers’ radar.
Later investigations were unable to identify the drone.
On the other hand
People, ignoring the war aspects of drones, tend to claim they are transport of the future, saving fuel, reducing pollution and delivery costs.
According to the BT technology site Amazon are openly experimenting with deliveries by unmanned drones to given collection points if not yet directly to homes. Their Prime Air is aiming to deliver within 30 minutes and there is a video courtesy of BT.
In August last year we published a blog about the photographic potential – Look Up and Smile, You’re on Drone Camera when we reported on the first ever drone photography competition, ‘Dronestagram Photography.‘
Last May we showed some amazing images created by LED art from moving drones – Fearsome Drones Now Making Art and New Friends.
More recently, the BBC technology news has published some incredible aerial photos giving us insights into our landscapes and buildings we have not seen before. These were for another Dronestagram competition, this time in conjunction with National Geographic.
So, are drones a great blessing to us commercially and artistically, or are they Armageddon waiting to happen with missiles and Big Brother 24/7 observation?
The jury is still out. Have your say now.