Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, may soon become commercialized. In Grand Forks, N.D., people are preparing for a coming boom in drones-related business.

March 17, 2013

Category: Technology, Video

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8 Responses to “Drones: A Booming Business?”

  1. PeterR says:

    Is it still the law that one’s real property rights include the airspace above? What’s next, mini anti-aircraft guns, perhaps laser devices?

    Or, yeah, this is it — signal jamming devices to mess up the drones’ guidance systems? I can see the acronym already for a new branch of profit-making capitalism:

    ADWS — Anti-Drone Weapons Systems!

    Wonder what the FAA and local legislative bodies will do with this? Shoot it down? Or will it crash and burn on its own after the first major accident.

    Will the drones have to receive flight clearance from a drone controller? Boy, it would be nice to have had a drone controller at the last party I went to!

  2. constantnormal says:

    … TV and radio helicopter pilots are seeing their careers disappear … or being rapidly transformed to sitting at a desk running several drones at a fraction of the pay, competing with teens working for minimum wage … never again flying into the skies themselves …

    Don’t take my comment as support for Luddites, but rather as another nail in the coffin of the medieval labor pyramid mechanism of distribution of the fruits of society … if we do not begin working real hard on alternatives, in no time at all we will find ourselves back to the Dark Ages and the kinds of economic distribution systems that operated then …

  3. I can’t wait for this technology to advance just a bit more. I am a farmer and have been investigating the possibility of using drones to get aerial imagery of my crops twice per week. I can use this imagery to monitor the health of my crops and make applications of fertilizers and pesticides at rates closer to what is actually needed rather than over-applying both out of caution. This is beneficial for the environment and for my business.

    The expense to do this via satellite is so large that it is not feasible. On the other hand, I believe I can get autonomous drones flying my fields on a daily basis within 12-24 months. I estimate this would result in a reduction in pesticide and fertilizer use of 10%.

    BTW, this is a job that no one is doing right now, so this is purely beneficial to the economy.

  4. constantnormal says:

    @RiverboatGambler …

    “BTW, this is a job that no one is doing right now, so this is purely beneficial to the economy.”

    … making my point perfectly. The Economy is not the same as the Society, or the People.

    So the “economy” benefits, in the form of increased profits to the owner-operator of the business, but this improvement is not directly helping the people who ultimately consume the products, and whose money pays the benefits of that improvement to the owner-operator of the business. Multiply this a hundred-thousandfold, and we see a declining prosperity in the consumers, as their money goes out, even on things that represent more value to their cash flow, but no additional money comes in. The cycle is broken.

    We need to be paying attention the the latter two (Society and People) in that list, but not harming or disturbing the economy in the process.

    A clueless economist will tell you that new jobs are being created as a result of new technologies, like designing and manufacturing drones in North Dakota. But the facts are that these new jobs have demanded steadily increasing abilities and capabilities on the part of the workers, and fewer and fewer people are up to the task of filling those slots. Retraining has been repeatedly shown to be a lost cause, and the older the workers are that are being retrained, the bigger a disaster retraining becomes. Add into that equation the increase in manufacturing automation, and there is a net decrease in the expansion in the pool of new jobs that might be filled by either the unemployed or the new graduates.

    Again, I am not a Luddite, and believe that technology offers us tremendous opportunities … but they are not opportunities that fall to societies and peoples that are unwilling to change.

    We need something better than the obsolete labor pyramid, and merely taxing and redistributing wealth (via the dole) ain’t it (but taxing and redistributing is almost certainly some part of a workable solution).

  5. wally says:

    Does the 2nd amendment include the right to own armed drones?

  6. constantnormal says:

    @wally …

    I believe that Justice Scalia would be inclined to say that it does, but only if they are hand-launched … the size and lethality of the armament matters not at all …


  7. b_thunder says:

    Have you seen the folks who operate those “drones” over the remote landscape Pakistan and Mali? do you think they have even 1/10th of the qualifications of even the rent-a-pilots who crashed a turbo prop in upstate NY a few years ago? compare the airspace over Waziristan to the airspace around the NYC…

    this “drone boom” will come to a full-stop when (yes, it’s when, not if) one of those 19y.o. “airmen 1st class” with 8+ years of MS Flight Simulator experience overdoses on Mountain Dew and crashes his drone into something like a a jumbo jet…

    Of course the DHS and Janet Napolitano will claim that it was an accident and they’ll take the measures that such things never happen again… but the investment will be compromised anyway. It will be like tobacco, but without steady cash flow and with increasingly cheap chinese knock-offs

  8. Greg0658 says:

    thanks cn at1113 .. my instincts too – but the baby steps to a new way – oh the pain
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