Use of Drones Raises Questions
Drones – UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles – are not exactly ubiquitous yet. But that future may not be far away. The day after it was reported that Dominos is testing drones for pizza delivery, the L.A.-based Drone Dudes were on the UC San Diego campus with a remote-controlled flying camera, buzzing around the blue “Fallen Star” cottage high atop Jacobs Hall, getting shots an unassisted human would be hard-pressed to get. Inside the Jacobs School of Engineering, meanwhile, a team of students was hard at work developing their version of a UAV, one they hope will have a number of commercial applications. Drones range dramatically, from what UC San Diego visual arts professor and chair Jordan Crandall calls the “wondrous flying machines” of DIYers and other hobbyists, to copters that can monitor endangered species or the progress of wildfires, to the massive, weaponized systems operated by the U.S. military. That’s a big range: from geek-chic to deadly. And just as big as the differences between drones are the questions about them that we, as a society, have yet to fully address. Crandall, who co-curated the “Drones at Home” exhibition at Qualcomm Institute last year, has been working on a project he calls “Unmanned,” which examines the drones used for state-sponsored surveillance and military operations.