Today, the word “drone” commonly provokes energetic debates – often stemming from the technology’s controversial use in military operations. Some see drones as precision tools that reduce civilian casualties while eliminating terrorist threats; others see them as extralegal – or even illegal – implements of war. But while “drone strikes” and the broader military applications of drone technology have long-dominated headlines, drones offer a growing number of promising commercial and humanitarian applications that are frequently overlooked in the public discourse.
Indeed, the technological sophistication of hobbyist and commercial drones has markedly improved in recent years, enabling a range of capabilities and applications that were formerly the monopoly of major military powers. Commercially available drones can now carry thermal imaging and night-vision surveillance equipment, capture and transmit high-definition images and video, and persist for modest periods of time at growing distances. These capabilities have steadily increased the use of drones outside of a military context.
Read the full article on the Leading Edge blog.