UAS proliferation protested


By Mark Walker

San Diego’s “drone zone” manufacturing hub is under fire from groups opposed to unmanned aerial vehicles carrying out deadly overseas strikes and serving as furtive eyes in the sky for domestic law-enforcement agencies.

A series of small protests that began Thursday in this region continued Friday and is set to culminate this afternoon at the USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego.

The demonstrations are part of a nationwide effort by activists seeking to focus attention on a growing debate over the technology, one that runs from Congress to think tanks to classrooms. They’re occurring as a business and military coalition seeks to have the region declared as a national test zone for drones, which generate more than $1 billion a year for the local economy.

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  • Moderator

    I think this is great news.

    At Blue’s gated home, demonstrators had to abort their plan to fly a small, drone-like vehicle over the house. San Diego police stopped the craft’s operator, saying a permit was needed for the flight.

    When Code Pink and the Cops are having fun with an ar.Drone, and the reporter identifies it as a "small drone-like vehicle", things are going our way!

  • You're just a perv." Is what I meant to say. Posting from a phone is not working great.

  • Brian,

    I agree, to an extent. We do need to advocate for ourselves. I am not sure the grassroots effort will be enough. We seriously need to consider media and political advocacy, as those are the people with the real influence over the population as a whole.

    I think another person I recently spoke with sums up the public perception. When I suggested average individual use of UAVs, he said, "if you ain't spying because you're thr government, you're spying for money, or you
  • So please get involved with your local AMA groups, local colleges, advertise your hobby for what it is and not what the media makes it out to be. Set up a static display at a local event or even a park and be friendly with people who come to ask questions. Help them understand that your hobby isnt about spying on them or hurting anyone emphisize on the civil benifits and seperate yourselves from weapons.

  • The people who are opposed to UAVs, UAS, or drones have some very real and valid complains regarding WEAPONIZED UAVs and UAS. Unfortunately, due to the valiant efforts of the American media to convince the public that those are the only uses for UAVs and UAS, that's all anyone hears about. There have been some stories regarding other applications, but those stories are very few and very far between.

    "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." -- (attributed to) Mark Twain

  • The people who are opposed to UAVs, UAS, or drones have some very real and valid complaints they are not ignorant, as UAV really do kill people and are used as weapons. I would say that most of the fault for this oposistion to our hobby may very well be our own fault we need to educate the masses and seperate ourselves from weaponized and survailence drones to a very extream degree. I myself have some uneasyness about my goverments seemingly indescriminate use of these weapons and I am not entirly comfortable with any sort of local law enforcment using these systems. However I do like the benifits that these systems may provide like arial mapping, access to remote locations for logistics, search and rescue, and a host of other aplications. We need to take reponsibility for how the masses view us.

  • I find the opinion against drones disheartening. I recently conducted my own little man-on-the-street survey regarding drones. Most people view them as bad, or evil. When asked about the possible good uses of UAVs, most said they felt the evils of drones outweighed any potential good. One person even said, "I don't trust FEMA already, so why would I trust them spying on me?" Now, this was by no means a scientific survey, but I think it pretty accurately reflects a middle-class, midwestern view of UAVs, and governmental use of them.

  • Most of the American public only knows of UAVs what they hear from mainstream media, and that's largely a matter of hearing about what went "boom" in Afghanistan. Ignorance, however, is NOT bliss.

  • I think there is a big disconnect between what people think of "drones," and the reality.
    Media is certainly doing little to change perceptions, and some politicians are not helping by turning this into a hot button issue. I think the amateur community needs to begin advocating for itself.

    I have recently been working with local emergency management officials to try and integrate RC hobbyists into our community emergency response teams. I imagine the use of camera equipped RC aircraft in search and rescue, and damage assesment.
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