drone- 1. a stingless male bee, (no…) 2. a low humming noise, (no…) 3. an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control or onboard computers (there it is!)
I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us are not personally familiar with these flying machines. Perhaps you have a friend who knows someone who flies them as a hobby, or maybe you know someone in the military who has utilized them, but very likely we’re getting most of our information regarding this technology from the news.
And the news isn’t flattering.
Dan has been an RC hobbyist for many years, now. As an Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) member, he enjoys all aspects of the craft, from creating and building, to flying and racing. His office is littered with pieces of wire, miscellaneous spare parts, and occasionally I’ll find bits of solder in the sink when I brush my teeth in the morning. While I’m not as keen on these machines as he is, I enjoy the fact that he enjoys them so much.
Recently, he shared with me that he’s no longer comfortable flying anymore in public places. The media has come full force against this innovative technology. They’ve jumped on the “be afraid” bandwagon with both feet, and it’s been very effective. He showed me this video of a man (A) confronting another man (B) who was flying his drone in a public playground, alongside (not above) a girls’ sporting event. In summary, A thinks B is filming his daughter for some perverted purposes. The two men continue to debate at length, and although B eventually decides to move on, he’s convinced that A is some kind of sick deviant. If you care to watch, at the end A explains in detail how he was totally minding his own business, but to the parents viewing the game from the opposite side of the field, it may have seemed as though he was flying above the girls. At any rate, I can see both sides. If at any point I feel like my child’s safety is being threatened, you’re damn skippy I’m going to be an asshole. But if someone ever approached my husband and accused him of being some kind of creep? That makes me really sad.
I’d like to share with you the other side, the quieter voices of the people who enjoy the technology responsibly. This article from PetaPixel compares drone technology to that of a common telephoto camera, finding the camera to be much more invasive than the drone. This article from Computerworld details some of the actual facts about the hobby, and the truth about some of the reports you may have heard. They’re quick reads, and it always helps to have more information. Like I said, as a Mom I can understand the fear that B was feeling, and I applaud his efforts to be a good Dad protecting his daughter. But on the flip side, the scary hype that you’re hearing is based on the behavior/mistakes made by a handful of irresponsible people. The rest of the RC hobbyists are people, like Dan, who simply appreciate technology and tech culture. Don’t be frightened- they’re really quite normal!