Why Drones Aren’t That Important

May 7, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Centives has done its part to suggest that drones are the future. Konstantin Kakaes thinks that the importance given to drones is overblown:

  • Technology that is used by the military isn’t always useful for civilian purposes. There aren’t, for example, many stealth passenger jets ferrying us across the skies.
  • Drones are expensive. The technology behind it requires huge capital investments, and the pilot on the ground controlling the aircraft still costs money – as does the satellite uplink that allows the pilot to see what’s going on.
  • Small drones would have some commercial uses – if they could stay in the sky for any period of time. Yet most small drones have a flight time of under an hour.
  • We might over-estimate the range of drones because when we see photos and videos we underestimate how large they are (see what the one in the picture above looks like on the ground here). Those large enough to carry fuel to stay in the sky for appreciable periods of time are also the ones that aren’t of much use to most people.
  • In this way drones are like helicopters. Helicopters too were meant to transform the world through the use of ‘helicopter taxi’ services and express helicopter mail. Neither happened – though helicopters are still used for military and specific industry purposes.

Read more about why this means that privacy concerns related to drones are over-blown, what the American Customs and Border Protection inspector general has to say about drones, and the planes the FBI maintains over here.

Source: Slate