Tonight: The Buzz Over Drones Part 2

Updated: 05/21/2014 9:23 AM
Created: 05/14/2014 2:04 PM

Incredible images... Never seen before.

We fly a quad-copter over and around the canal park area to give the viewer an idea of some of the many valuable uses these machines have. Remote control aerial hobbyist, Josh Kunze is our pilot but says anyone can do it. “You can get a lot of great shots with a very small learning curve”, says Kunze

An Evolution of Technologies

New technologies have produced light weight cameras. Other new technologies are allowing small but easily controlled drones to fly. When you put these two together, fantastic new opportunities and even careers are born. Pipeline inspection, tower inspection, bridge inspection can be done right down to the rivet with high quality camera equipment mounted on drones. Wildlife research, searching for lost people, firefighting, flood damage assessment and the list goes on.

Mike Nelson teaches aviation at Duluth’s Lake Superior College. He says the potential uses for UAVs is virtually unlimited. Including in situations too hazardous for humans. “A phrase that's used a lot is the dull, dangerous, dirty missions. Let's put a drone in where we won't put a person in harm's way”, says Nelson.

Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs

They're not just toys anymore. In fact, they are giving flight to what some experts predict will be hundreds of thousands of American jobs in the coming years. Entirely new industries are anticipated as the FAA drafts clearer regulations and corporations embrace all the potential uses of UAVs. LSC Aviation Instructor Mike Nelson says, “The growth of the industry is estimated to be an $80 Billion dollar industry by the year 2020”. In this Eyewitness News special series, you’ll hear from local college students who are taking classes and learning to fly UAVs in hopes of making it a career.

Not Without Controversy

But do we want these things flying around all over the place? That’s one of the biggest questions being asked in the debate over drones. Safety is of great concern by the Federal Aviation Administration as it tries to regulate this fast-growing industry. Privacy is another primary concern. But ready or not, drones are likely going to be a bigger part of all our future. This tempting technology and an eager marketplace has us all wrestling with what it means to live in a world of drones.

The Buzz Over Drones, Part 2 – Tonight on Eyewitness News at Ten.

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