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Tag Archives: Boeing

Kevin Gosztola | The Dissenter

A drone and aerial robotics conference sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation is taking place in New York this weekend. In the first few hours of the conference, tension over whether to use the word “drone” to describe “unmanned aerial vehicles” (UAVs) or “remotely piloted aircrafts” (RPAs) became apparent.

Vijay Kumar, UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, who was invited to deliver a keynote talk, said he objected to the use of the word “drone.” Buddy Michini, a director of research for a company called Airware, said, I realize that the acronym UAS [Unmanned Air Systems] may seem like old time-y but it’s the industry-preferred nomenclature and I have been told don’t use the “D” word, which is drones.”

That prompted one of the hosts of the conference, who was introducing speakers, to say to the audience, “Why do we call this conference the Drone & Aerorobotics Conference? Because drone is a packed and loaded word and drone also has a specific meaning to people who are building and operating drones.”

“We are talking about flying robots generally,” he explained. “We are talking about both things that are remotely piloted, things that are halfway autonomous and fully autonomous in the past, in today, in the future and in the far future. Drones are really important if we’re talking about the zeitgeist. A lot of people just click with that term and they get the bundle of issues and the policy questions that we’re going to need to be answering.”

Why do individuals use “UAS,” “UAV,” or “RPA” instead of the term that people “just click with”? Does it even matter?

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Pratap Chatterjee | Common Dreams

Boeing, the aircraft manufacturing giant from Seattle, helped defeat a Republican proposal in Washington state that would have forced government agencies to get approval to buy unmanned aerial vehicles, popularly known as drones, and to obtain a warrant before using them to conduct surveillance on individuals.

Local authorities in Seattle and in King county experimented with conducting surveillance from Draganfly Innovations drones last year, only to cancel both programs in the fact of public protest. “I’m not really surprised that people are upset,” said Jennifer Shaw from the American Civil Liberties Union, a human rights group that campaigned against the drones. “It’s a frightening thing to think that there’s government surveillance cameras overhead.”

On February 7, 2013, David Taylor, a Republican member of the state legislature, introduced a bill to regulate drone use. The proposed law quickly won support from several Democratic party politicians on the state Public Safety Committee.

Alarmed by the growing bipartisan coalition, Boeing jumped into the fray. “We believe that as the technology matures, best practices and new understanding will emerge, and that it would be counterproductive to rush into regulating a burgeoning industry,” Boeing spokeswoman Sue Bradley wrote in a statement. (The company makes a variety of drones from the Unmanned Little Bird and the A160 Hummingbird helicopters to the ScanEagle which has been used in Iran and Iraq and the proposed new X-45C combat aircraft)

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