02.08.12

War Games: This is why people are uneasy about drones.

I got a chance to play around with a quadrotor drone in an empty parking lot on New Years Eve. What’s the big deal, I thought. Yeah, it was cool that I could control the drone with an iPad using virtual thumbsticks, exactly like I’d play a first-person shooter. But the drone was pretty flimsy, it got blown around in the wind easily, and it could only fly for 10 minutes without changing the battery. There’s no way this could work in a war zone. Then I saw they can do this:

Next, I went back and reread our Sky’s The Limit interview on drones:

As a community, we are still striving for this level of autonomy wherein a quadcopter can make decisions for the preservation of itself as well as the safety of the people around it. Future enhancements will evolve our quadcopters into smarter and smarter flying vehicles. My dream would be to create a flyable machine that has enough smarts to avoid crashing, and basically travels from point A to B with minimal input from the user.

Turns out these flying machines are kind of scary!

-Jason Johnson

[via YouTube]