Increasing ‘popularity’ of drones

National Public Radio (NPR)  in the US broadcast an interesting short piece on the spread of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Drones of all sizes are now increasingly used by national and local states – I think ‘popular’ is the wrong word as most people have no idea that they are so widespread or even that they are likely to be operating at all. There’s also a longer piece by Barbara Ehrenreich on the more general issue of robotic warfare on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site today.

According to my sources in the UK, they have just started flying Reaper drones out of RAF Northolt over London, in preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

2 thoughts on “Increasing ‘popularity’ of drones”

  1. Hi David. Drones are certainly getting more “popular” but your London source is well wide of the mark. The reapers used by the UK are busy in Afghanistan killing suspected “Taleban”, “militants” and innocent civilians. They are currently controlled by UK pilots operating out of the USA’s drone HQ in Nevada. Soon, perhaps next year, they will be piloted from RAF NorthWOOD, once the MoD gets it technical act together. As to using them in the Olympics, unless Bin Laden himself shows up, it’s extremely unlikely. Large drones don’t have permission to fly in non-segregated airspace and the UK Civil Aviation Authority still needs a lot of convincing. I’m sure the Olympic securocrats will find a way around it of course, but expect much smaller and non-lethal UAVs. Chris Cole, who runs the excellent Drone Wars website , filled me in and I’d recommend him as the authority on all things lethal and unmanned. Best wishes from sunny Devon, Ben Hayes.

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