Opinions

Drone flaws should not hinder usage

Rebecca Vicente

At first, drones were perceived as tools that government agencies used in order to spy on people. Over the years, drones have evolved to serve many purposes and have become inexpensive and accessible utilities. People have even begun to adopt them as highly functioning cameras.

The reliance of drones in journalism, filming and, of course, aerial photography is gradually increasing. In the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, officials used drones to film skiing and snowboarding events, primarily because humans could not withstand such dangerous heights.

Drones have boomed in popularity. Organizations and manufacturers are getting into drones, either for business, pleasire or science. In 2011, for example, the Professional Society of Drone Journalists was established to create an “ethical, educational and technological framework for the emerging field of drone journalism.”   

In addition to being a tool of luxury, drones are able to administer disaster management, such as search and rescue and healthcare assistance. Drones can be extremely accurate when it comes to forecasting potential natural disasters, which is extremely complicated and time-consuming.

According to Discover magazine, “Researchers analyze a mind-warping array of data that constantly stream from the sky, ocean, and earth captured by everything from satellites to drones … Today, better simulation models and instruments and new research into geophysical and atmospheric dynamics are ushering in a new era of natural hazard forecasting.”

Drones can quickly provide geographical information in the aftermath of a disaster because their technology enables them to navigate the debris. Drones also will not drown out the voices crying for help and can be deployed by teams that are working a specific area.

Since drones are equipped with high-definition cameras and radars, they can give rescue access to a higher field view without the need for wasting money or resources on staffed helicopters. Drones are also incredibly beneficial because their small size allows their cameras to provide close-up views of areas where larger aerial workers could not due to dangerous constraints.

Additionally, thermal sensors allow drones to quickly discover the location of missing people. Drones can also be used to drop in supplies to people stuck in unreachable locations.

Although drones have many positive attributes for society, they have earned a reputation as nuisances due to safety hazard issues and privacy concerns. In March 2016, Business Insider reported that a Maryland inmate was convicted again for collaborating with two other men to use a drone to smuggle drugs and pornography into the prison.

These cases show that drones can have negative effects if they land in the possession of people with sinister intentions. Drones can also prove inadvertently harmful to civilians. The Washington Post  published an article about a drone that made its way into the premises of an outdoor music festival and injured a bystander. Surely, such an act was merely a mistake, but mistakes like this lead people to draw negative conclusions about drones. Furthermore, privacy concerns have arisen because people assume that drones are often used to stalk and harass citizens. This is a major controversy in drone usage and it is perhaps the biggest point of concern for most people.

Drones are still beneficial to society despite any controversial behavior they may exhibit. Every drone owner has to follow a set of laws. The intention behind these laws is to reduce drone crimes. Drones that weight between .55 and 55 pounds must be registered. The registration number must be placed on all drones. Failure in drone registration results in either three years in prison or $250,000 in fines.

While drones can pose difficulties and challenges, they are ultimately useful and innovative.

March 20, 2017

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