Friday Flights #15! An Industry Dealing With Difficult Situations and Complex Challenges

Each week, on Friday, we’ve been taking a look at some of the funny, fascinating, weird, or inspiring drone-based stories that we’ve seen in the news during the week.

It does not seem appropriate to take that approach this week, given the complex circumstances and difficult conversations that have occurred with the murder of George Floyd in the US, the protests that have ensued, and the unprecedented violent response by police forces across the US.

We thought it would be more appropriate to consider this issue in the context of our industry. Like many companies, we strive not to express our political viewpoint in our posts. There is a personal time and a space for that.

Instead, we would just like to share this quote.

The time is always right to do what is right.

– Martin Luther King

This blog has always been about ‘all things drone,’ and with the words of Dr. King in mind, we thought we would take a moment to consider our industry in the context of this extremely difficult week.

Like any new technology and industry, the use of drones is being used for purposes both good and bad. What you consider to be good and what is bad, we suppose, will depend on your political viewpoint. But let’s lay out where we are.

Here’s a video that has been shared by protestors alleging police violence in Richmond, Virgnia.

Clearly, people understand that just as with cellphones, drone video can be a powerful tool in documenting their world.

Likewise, police know that drones are an important tool in their kit: there are many articles like this one which include a reference to the use of drones for crowd monitoring and control.

As in any situation, there are difficult moral and ethical issues, different political viewpoints, and often raging, heated debates. Is it appropriate for protestors to illegally use drone technology – in violation of federal flight rules – to capture compelling images? Is it right for police to use the same technology?

And sometimes, we witness in real time a scaling back of the use of the technology. Granted, a Predator drone is not the type of drone we use, but it still involves ‘insight from altitude.’

We will take no position here.

But we will observe that the drone industry is still, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively new industry. It will figure all of this out, as to what is appropriate, what is not, and where it stands. We hope that we can be a part of that debate.

There are drone industry associations being formed, drone companies who choose to have a voice, legislators with an intelligent approach and probing questions to the complex privacy, security and safety issues of the drone industry.

Before the global pandemic began, there were many industry and association events occurring that examined all aspects of the drone industry – and like all other events, these are being rescheduled and revamped into new online Webinar formats.

We know that this industry is maturing as quickly as the demand is being placed on the technology, and that it will confront, discuss, analyze and debate the difficult issues that are underway with the use and misuse of the technology in the context of this week.

And we have no doubt that the industry will eventually emerge with guidelines and guidance on how to move forward.

Stay safe everyone. And please, honour the legacy of George Floyd in any way that you can.

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