KCRW’s Drone Coverage

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From filming Burning Man to projecting views from Wilshire Grand to being programmed to kill, drones have multiple applications and raise many ethical and legal question. KCRW has been reporting on this burgeoning technology. Here are some of the highlights.

As KCRW embarks on a new series looking at how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly referred to as drones) are becoming more and more integrated into our everyday lives, we will explore questions about privacy, technology, and how best to use these devices, if at all, while the regulations remain murky.

We’ve talked drones — commercial and military —  on KCRW before. Here are some highlights.

Drones and Buildings

David Martin is design principal at A.C. Martin, the venerable Los Angeles architecture firm that designed City Hall and the DWP building. Among current projects is Wilshire Grand, currently under construction in downtown and to be the tallest tower in the West. Martin talks about using a drone to examine views from Wilshire Grand and how the experience prompted mixed feelings about the new technology.

Listen here.

Drones in Movies

Drones are changing the way movies are made, replacing the expensive helicopter shots. Eric Maloney of Drone Dudes says that he uses drones “to capture the most epic images you could imagine.” He wants drones to be able to shoot aerial footage so that they are able to create something beautiful that can’t be captured any other way. Similarly, Jack Nicas talks about the range of different recreational uses, some as bizarre as goat herding.

 Listen here.

Drones at Burning Man

This year’s Burning Man featured some amazing drone photography, but there were also questions about whether, at a festival celebrating freedom of expression, drones were invading the privacy of revelers. Festival goers have become wary of this new aerial vantage point. See the drone footage from Burning Man below.

Photos and story here.

Drones as a Weapon of Choice

As drones become America’s unmanned weapon of choice, their legality has ignited controversy.   Mary Ellen O’Connell, Professor of International Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School says drones might be an “addiction” because using drones is easier for the government than finding a creative legal alternative. Richard Clarke, Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting says there aren’t always legal alternatives.

Listen here.

So Will Robots Take Over?

According to Rodney Brooks, founder of Rethink Robotics, even if robots become more intelligent and gain power over time, “responsibility always vests with human beings.” One could say the same about drones.

Listen here.