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The UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Drone has been vilified, and demonized. It has been chided for its indiscriminate killing of innocent people abroad and for its possible invasion of our privacy here at home. These issues and concerns are real and they are valid.  However, we need to separate act from the vehicle, and we need to clarify what a Drone is, and what Drone is not.

A UAV or Drone is a remotely controlled aircraft. An advanced military UAV Drone can be flown directly from a remote station, or its path (and mission) can be pre-programmed. These vehicles are in a very real sense, flying robots.  If the military were using robots for ground attacks, and innocent people were being killed, this would be wrong. But, we would not outlaw Roombas(automatic vacuum cleaners), we instead would ask for charges to be brought against those involved, and we would demand the military change its policy and methods. When the Edward R Murrow building was bombed in Oklahoma City, we didn’t blame the U-haul truck. You didn’t see articles talking about how we should outlaw or ban U-hauls. No, someone, a human being, put the explosives into a large vehicle, drove it in front of a building, and detonated it. A Drone is no different than a plane, a car, a train, or a Roomba; it’s harmless unless someone wishes to use it for evil. To blame the Drone, is to give a pass to those who committed the offense. Maybe, the people who committed the offense are hoping for just that.

A UAV Drone needs more description to accurately describe what it is. Often, when someone says “Drones are bad”, they are actually referring to Military Attack Drones, or Domestic Surveillance Drones. These descriptive words are critical when discussing any matter related to Drones. Remember, a Drone is just an airplane without a pilot.  In the future these craft will have unlimited uses and capabilities.  They will do mundane and dangerous task, they will play helpful and humanitarian rolls. They will complete search and rescue missions, deliver medicine and supplies to remote, inaccessible areas, and more. They will save lives!

To call all Drones “bad” is just to not understand what a Drone is. It’s a transportation vehicle; it’s a platform in the sky, its many things yet to be discovered. People who lobby against Drones and try and pass restrictions against Drones will only succeed in slowing the progress of the good Drones, the ones being developed by thousands of little startups across the country and around the world. Their efforts might be more successful, if they properly identified their villain.  Perhaps if they lobbied instead for investigations into the people who called for these attacks that killed civilians. Or, if they lobbied for restrictions on all types of domestic surveillance and invasions of privacy, not just those committed from a Drone.

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