The Pros and Cons of Aerial Drones
Unmanned aerial systems (UASs) – also referred to as drones – have been around for a while. The recent explosion in adoption and the inherent potential of UASs show that drones are here to stay. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the industry will be worth US$100 billion in the next decade. No doubt, there is still a lot of resistance, but flying machines are already integrated into daily use. We will take a look at both the pros and cons of drones below.
Potential for development: Unmanned systems have the capability to transform many sectors of the economy with commercial deployment. Weather forecasting, maritime monitoring, search and rescue operations, oil and gas exploration, agriculture, telecommunication, and other human endeavors stand to gain a lot with the incorporation of UAS. France, Australia, and Germany are a few countries that have given permits for commercial drones as they see the possible benefits.
Efficiency and cost management: Compared to manned operations, unmanned vehicles save more money, and are energy-efficient. Imagine paying workers to spray crops on a large field or using trucks and planes that burn fossil fuels to deliver packages. Some aerial vehicles are already doing this excellently, but there is room for more exploits. In carrying out these services, the drone industry will require manufacturers of parts, maintenance engineers, software developers, and so on, adding jobs that might be cut off. If the argument is that they add less than they take, then why did we allow technology develop this much?
Safety of human lives: This is one of the biggest bases on which the development of unmanned systems has ridden on. With advancements in technology, we could make a call and avert problems elsewhere, but with drones the person(s) would only be there only if need be. Flying machines hold many prospects in unmanned cargo handling, scientific research in hard-to-reach areas, coordinated security operations, inspections in difficult or dangerous scenarios, surveillance, and may other areas. Use of drone technology could open up more threats to human safety, but regulations and good management will alleviate the risks.
Possible abuse: This is most likely the biggest threat to drone technology. Drones are known to be used by the military for law enforcement operations, so many people are wary that the technology is vulnerable. Debates regarding gun control, wars, and foreign policies abound, so many fear the repercussions of abuse of the privileges. Drones have cameras, and with them being more accessible, owners could abuse it in violating the privacy of others.
Legal concerns: The legal framework surrounding the drone industry is still developing. There are still a lot of cases regarding the use of unmanned systems by law enforcement agencies for surveillance of civilians. Telephone surveillance laws took a lot of time, and with data still being refined, legal concerns have slowed the developments of UAS.
Public Perception: A flying machine crashed on the White House lawn , and some were seen flying over Paris, fueling public rage as they were untraceable. The public is yet to be fully convinced as they see unmanned systems as robots that would cause more harm than good.
After looking at both sides of the divide, the advantages clearly override the disadvantages. However, the concerns raised would have to be addressed for drone technology to get widespread acceptance.
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