Aerial drones are having an increasing impact in our lives. News stories of military drone strikes have stirred controversy and much debate. Law enforcement agencies have been using drones within the United States, raising concerns about privacy. It’s not just the government. Businesses and private citizens use drones for monitoring agriculture and wildlife, scientific research, aerial photography, remote inspection, and communications. The FAA is preparing to open restrictions on unmanned aircraft as part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, and anticipates that thousands, even tens of thousands of drones could be in use by 2020.
Concerns for potential abuse as well as safety of aerial drones have caused nine states so far to pass laws restricting their use by either law enforcement, private citizens, or both. The ALCU has made statements about use of aerial drones to both U.S. House and Senate judiciary committees, urging rules to protect against America from becoming a “surveillance society”.
On the other side, inexpensive remote control (RC) plane and multicopter technology puts aerial drone-like capabilities within access to nearly anyone who wants to experiment with them. A growing number of hobbyists are enjoying flying RC models. Toys and kits are available from many sources, and enthusiasts have posted designs for DIY models.
Whether you are a maker hobbyist, a professional or business person using the technology, a company making the technology, or just a concerned citizen, aerial drones are a topic to watch.
Next week, the first Drone & Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC) will be held in New York City from Oct. 11-13. The agenda is packed full of interesting speakers and panel discussions, demonstrations, and networking opportunities. Topics range from “Drones and the Freedom of Information Act” to “Drones in Art & Activism” to “Drones for Good”. Key speakers from legal experts to technologists to business persons are scheduled to participate. For the DIY enthusiast, there is a series of three “Intro to Personal Drones” workshops.
Who will be there?
- Major robotics companies, such as Parrot and 3DRobotics
- Researchers doing cutting edge work with agile robots, such as Vijay Kumar of the GRASP Lab
- Aerospace veterans, such as former fighter pilot and Director of MIT’s Humans and Automation Lab, Missy Cummings
- Representatives from agencies including NOAA, NASA, NTSB, and more
- Anyone interested in the technology or cultural implications of drones
If you register for the event, use the promo code MAKEDARC30 to get 30 percent off the general admission price!