Missy Cummings recently appeared on The Daily Show with John Stewart to discuss the Rise of the Drones. She is a former fighter pilot and current professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and has some of the best insight on Drone technology in the world.
Drones like the MQ-1 Predator Drone pictured above have been operational for about 10 years and their Hellfire missiles have killed thousands of insurgents in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Iraq. Obviously, this technology brings fear into the hearts of the general public, and I think Missy Cummings delivers some salient points on the topic. Drones will only become more and more prevalent both at home and abroad. They’re cheaper and more reliable than any manned aircraft and they don’t risk the pilot’s life to fly. The U.S. military now trains more remote pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined. The training takes about half as much time and anyone who can play video games can control them reliably.
But drones are not perfect, and 23 civilians were mistakenly killed in Afghanistan back in 2010 in one of the biggest military blunders in quite some time.
And this technology is no secret. If you’re looking to build your own drone, here are the instructions from DIY Drones. Please don’t arm yours with a hellfire missile.
“Rise of the Drones” is a NOVA program which aired on January 23rd. You can watch the whole episode here.