As of 2016 over a million drones have been sold in America—to individual consumers, private companies, nonprofits, universities, and law enforcement organizations at the local, state, and federal levels. New regulatory schemes—some mandatory, others voluntary—have been implemented to help these stakeholders manage the safety, privacy, and operational concerns expressed about the use of drones domestically. But recent developments raise critical questions about whether the full range of the possibilities—and the perils—of domestic drone use have been explored.
The recent mass shooting incident in Dallas involved the first use of an armed unmanned system on U.S. soil. Will the precedent lead police to seek to use aerial armed drones in the future? Technology is allowing drones to stay aloft for hours, even days at a time. Will such capabilities lead to persistent, pervasive aerial surveillance? And what about the economic promise of drones? How are they being used now in the commercial sector? Have aviation safety concerns been adequately addressed? Our panelists will explore these issues in depth.