I just caught the Foreign Correspondent documentary on Drones, Rise of the machines, and I have to say it was quite balanced, it presented all the issues currently surrounding civilian UAVs quite well. It features Chris Anderson and Team Blacksheep.
I imagine it will on iView very shortly: http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2012/s3582815.htm
Look! Up in the sky. It’s a bird*, it’s a plane. It’s a floating TV station streaming live to the web. It’s a prying lens snapping lucrative snaps of a celebrity party. It’s the police chasing suspects. It’s kids playing in the park. It’s a government agency keeping an eye on things. It’s all of the above.
Just as mobiles and wireless dramatically changed the way we live our everyday lives, drones are set to become the next game-changer.
"This is a powerful technology. It is real, it is coming. No amount of hand-wringing is going to stop it." PETER SINGER Drone Expert, Brookings Institution
For many onlookers, drones have been a controversial weapon prowling over foreign battlegrounds targeting enemy combatants and terrorists, often with devastating consequences for hapless civilians in the vicinity. Now as America’s military campaigns wind down many of those drones are coming home, losing the military decals and weaponry and turning their attention to porous borders, law enforcement and a myriad of civilian uses.
“The size of the industry - it’s billions of dollars. $30 billion by 2015 was one estimate I’ve seen.” CHRIS ANDERSON Editor, Wired Magazine, Drone entrepreneur.
The exponential growth is happening with smaller drones in the hands of anyone with a few hundred dollars and access to the local hobby shop. They can buy a sophisticated, unmanned aerial vehicle over the counter. Guided by GPS and tiny autopilots, hobby drones now have the ability to fly for miles providing sharp video vision directly back to the pilot. But hobbyists are one thing, some operators are defying the law and flying their drones for commercial purposes; Journalists chasing a story, real estate agents selling a house, paparazzi chasing celebrities and a big-pay day.
"Well I wouldn’t step out on your wife, that’s really the first thing. I think it will cut down dramatically on adultery. What should people do? I’d say carry an umbrella.” CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER Syndicated columnist and conservative commentator
In just three years an order from the US Congress will see tens of thousands of drones take off legally into an already crowded sky, competing for space with domestic aviation. It’s a regulator's nightmare. No one seems to know how it will be managed. Supporters see farmers and scientists at the controls. Opponents fear terrorist drones.
“There are political, legal and ethical issues that play out with this. Everything from how do we ensure rights of privacy, to what way the police should be allowed to use them, what way should they not be allowed to use them and how do we keep bad actors from utilising these technologies?” PETER SINGER Drone Expert, Bookings Institution