Chris Anderson on Marketplace

Kai Ryssdal with Marketplace went on site to meet with Chris Anderson at 3d Robotics to talk about drones. You can listen to the segment here


So the question that Kai brings up that I think is worth talking about: How do we remove the stigma associated with drones? If your'e on this board, you think this technology is neat, you don't think about killing people.  Au contraire, it appears most of the public has a fear of drones.  How can we change this?  Do we need a new name like Chris suggested? 

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • From the terms page: (yep, shameless self promotion of our web page)



    • an unmanned vehicle capable of purposeful movement without real-time human guidance


    John and I chewed over the definition for weeks before coming to the vehicle neutral definition above. The word 'capable' clearly shows the ability of the vehicle but also indicates external control - when it works. We also wanted to move the conversation away from military applications - which, by the way, was the original use of the word waaay back in the day of pilotless aircraft. It is why we are struggling as a group to distance ourselves from the word now.

    I posted an alert about this article prior to the broadcast. HERE. I thought the 'sinister' comment was out of context completely and clearly shows how much taint there is to the word 'drone'. Chris's common phrase of a 'flying robot' is what we, as a group, should probably strive to use in our conversations with 'outsiders'.

    John Q. Public: "Hey man, is that a drone you are flying?"

    DIYDer: "Drone?No man, it is a flying robot. What's a drone anyway?"

    Jane Q. Public: "Do you take pictures of people with it and they don't know it?"

    DIYDer: "I can put a camera on it but usually I just enjoy flying it and improving performance. There are plenty of privacy laws in existence that address any use of a camera."

    etc, etc,...


  • I wish the conversation would be expanded to autonomous machines in general. The flying versions are my personal interest for now, but the cool thing about the APM is that it is a multi-platform pilot. I might build my Grandma a robotic mobility device at some point, who knows...

  • Listening to the broadcast and reading the responses is enlightening, - - unfortunately.

    All the reasonable and positive intentions in the World can't counter the irrational, sensationalist, knee jerk, media following sheep that seem to be the primary inhabitants of our little planet.

    It is much easier to simply decry and spread disdain than to attempt to integrate these things beneficially into our lives.

    I couldn't help noticing that most of the mainline negative responses were highly emotional and did not seem to result from rational analysis.

    It is now a political and public football that is mushrooming quickly goaded on by a sensationalist seeking media who would do anything for ratings.

    I hope we can find some way to bridge this growing gulf, but I greatly fear it is not going to come quickly or easily.

    In the meantime, "Drone" does have a decidedly negative implication and it would be a seriously advantageous coup if we could come up with a reasonable name that sounded useful and not threatening.

    I don't fly drones, I fly QuadCopters which have some automated assistance provided.

  • Hmm. "It smacks of sinister" - its not just the name "Drone" but how our vehicles currently look. I thought it was interesting that Chris's response was "its a camera phone with wings", but I think that Kai's comment went deeper than that; I'm not sure that flying cameras are the problem - how an object is presented changes our feeling towards it.

    I love my quad and its little robot brain, but it terrifies my family. It was four spinning blades of fury, it makes a hell of a noise and with all the open wiring it looks dangerous. Conversely, my family likes the Parrot ARDrone - its presented as an 'advanced toy', it looks friendly and doesn't appear to be threatening, and is clearly consumer grade device. It looks safe. Technically of course there is very little difference between the two; they are both flying robots with cameras. But, they're not archetypal, their cultural contexts and they're inferred uses are quite different.

    My feeling is that as civilian drones/UAVs become more common place people will feel less threatened, and as they proliferate they will also diverge. We can clearly see that there will be industrial drones, toy drones, hobby drones, professional drones, sport drones and so on, each with its own archetype. Some will be friendly, some will be cute, and some may continue feel dangerous. 

  • We do need a new name, to go a long with a new definition for the civilian side of this great technology. The drone terminology is hurting us, and we have got to find a creative way to market ourselves much better then we currently do.

  • We have to show off drones doing something cool, that will get people to see them as a useful tool that will be directly useful to them, rather than seeing them as merely a extension of someone's abilities to view/watch them. TacoCopter (and to a lesser degree, BurritoBomber, in my opinion) has somewhat promoted that view.

This reply was deleted.