Changing Hearts and Minds About Drones

What does the American public think of drones? Not very much, according to a Feb. 5 online poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos.

The survey’s results show “widespread unease” about drones.  73 percent said that they wanted drones to be regulated. 64 percent said they would not want their neighbor to have a drones. And 42 percent opposed all private drone ownership, preferring that officials and trained experts alone should have access to the remotely piloted vehicles.

The public’s unease is not without reason. Some drone pilots are looking for trouble.  Take the latest news from Paris for example, where unidentified drones have been buzzing landmarks illegally.  While this may be innocent aerial tourism, French law does require a license to operate a drone.  And the BBC says that some unidentified drones have been spotted flying over nuclear power plants and naval bases where France keeps its nuclear submarines.

Despite the stories of drones being used for bad, an international team of drone enthusiasts is fighting to change hearts and minds by spreading the message, “Drones are Good.” In major cities around the world, these drone lovers are planning what they call International Drone Day on Mar. 14, which will highlight the positive aspects of drones. As they say on their website,

Drones (also referred to as multirotors, quadcopters, flying robots, flying cameras, and UAVs) are not used by the drone community to harm or spy on people. Instead they are used in search and rescue, law enforcement, fire fighting, environmental research, conservation and preservation, agriculture, sports, photography, cinematography, just to name a few.

The creators of International Drone Day, David Oneal and Sarah Oneal, also star in the online series That Drone Show. There are more than 130 different teams participating in the event, and drone pilots intend to set a new world record for the most drones to be airborne at one time.

After a rough first impression, perhaps International Drone Day can give drones a new reputation.

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