Drones: will they ever take off?

November 2, 2018

Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas 2018.

In the past few years, remotely piloted air systems and unmanned air systems – commonly called ‘drones’ or ‘multicopters’ – have become widely popular. A relative lack of regulation until recently has meant that drones are still a controversial if exciting new technology, and society is undecided how best to deal with the challenges they pose. But will the danger of excessive regulation and the attention given to a new technology when problems arise mean we never get those benefits? How do we deal with concerns about safety and ethics, while ensuring we create an environment that allows the exciting promise of this technology to be implemented? Will a wider mood of risk-aversion keep drones firmly on the ground?

SPEAKERS

Dr Owen McAree
senior research officer with responsibility for drone-related research, Liverpool John Moores University; member, UK Governments Drone Industry Action Group

Dr Sophie Robinson
flight physicist; lead engineer, Kopter Group AG

Alastair Muir
safety director, NATS; chair, UN International Civil Aviation Organisation

Donald Clark
EdTech entrepreneur; CEO, WildFire

CHAIR: Timandra Harkness
journalist, writer and broadcaster; presenter, FutureProofing; author, Big Data: does size matter?

Our partners for this session were NATS.

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