Drone Physics

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7 Current issues with Drones

#1: Invasion of Privacy
This would be one of the main concerns about drones today. People have spotted drones spying on them on their own private property. Any creep, or big brother, could use drones to invade on one's privacy. It's possible, the victim wouldn’t know who was spying on them. The invader could be taking photos and videos of a person without permission. Recently, the military has been spied on by drones. Therefore, the Pentagon has issued clearance for any military personnel to shoot down unidentified drones nearing the military bases for security purposes.

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#2: Public Safety
Even if you do have the knowledge on how to fly your drone properly, accidents happen. You may unintentionally injure someone or damage property. There has also been issues with drones flying near airports. This could end up causing a disaster and has become another security threat for air travel safety.

#3: Legal Issues
At this time, drones have been barely regulated of all their capabilities. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has set rules on a national level only pertaining to where and how you can fly drones legally. The FAA has also made it mandatory to register your drone in order to use them. However, there are more ambiguous issues that need to be discussed and covered on a national scale. Some of these ambiguous issues are only covered at a local level.

#4: Security Threats - Terrorists, Criminals, and Weaponization
Drones are becoming more popular from businesses, to military, and consumer usage. However, it won’t be long until drones ends up in the hands of the wrong people, such as criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill. A drone could become weaponized, with the right knowledge, to carry out the task of harming the innocent or achieving any other twisted goals.

#5: Militarized usage
The militarized usage of drones has its perks, but it also has a lot of downsides at the same time. For example, Drone strikes may not always guarantee success of eliminating a target as well as civilian causalities may end up in the mix. There also very expensive to produce these types of drones each costing over millions of dollars.

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#6: Air Traffic Management
Another issue that needs to be addressed before drones become mainstream is air traffic management. How will we manage air traffic for drones taking the skies? Today, there isn’t much or any air traffic taken by drones, but in the future things could change. It would be best if we could have a manned and unnamed airspace separate. We would need technical solutions, guidelines, and tools to ensure drones don’t present themselves as threats to manned aircraft, such as airplanes and helicopters. Both manned and unmanned aircraft should always be aware of each other’s restricted airspace, so a disaster doesn’t strike.

#7: Limited Flight Endurance & Cargo Capacity
At this given time, Drones are only capable of achieving so much since it is a surfacing technology. Drones today can only fly for a short amount of time before needing to recharge or swap out the batteries. Drones may be able lift cargo to about a max of twenty pounds, but five pounds or lower is more of an occurrence. This is because there’s a balancing act relationship between how much weight the drone can haul and flight endurance. The more weight added on means less flight time overall. On the other hand, less weight equals increased flight time.

Jared Maltos
Physics 211 - F04
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fall 2018