HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS

droneA drone being flown by remote control by an amateur crashed into a skyscraper in Manhattan, reeled to the sidewalk below, and struck a man. You can watch a report of it on YouTube here.

Worried tourists atop the Seattle Space Needle called police when a drone buzzed the Needle and then returned to a nearby hotel.

This article reports that a groom was hit with a flying UAV at his wedding, and one crashed into spectators at a sporting event.

Motherboard.com reports that the DJI Phantom, the most popular commercially available drone, is a “magnet for reckless pilots.” Author Jason Koebler asks, “how, exactly, do you get people to not fly these things like a bunch of idiots?”

What would happen if a UAV got into an airport’s airspace? It wouldn’t be pretty.

Lest you think drone accidents only occur with amateurs, take a look at this map of the United States that shows the sites of drone accidents by amateur, professional, and military users.

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are becoming popular. In fact, you can buy one on Amazon for around $500. And they aren’t always about accidents.

Farmers can check their crops with them; also, drones can monitor wildlife, transport medicine, and put out wildfires, according to gizmodo.com. And a drone is being developed by three hardy young scientists to chase storms and fly into tornadoes in an effort to understand them better.

Although the FAA has limited UAVs to noncommercial uses, Hollywood movie companies have been given a pass to use them. “[O]ne is still able to fly as a hobbyist over their property. They can also take pictures of non-commercial items,” says John Fulton, Auburn University Extension precision agriculture specialist.

Of course, all this talk of UAVs or drones brings up issues of privacy, but we’ll save that for another prompt.

Now it’s your turn: Where do you stand on the issue of drones? Do you think that their usefulness outweighs their potential for accidents? Should they be regulated or licensed to prevent more accidents? Should they be allowed to fly in crowded areas? If you could use a drone for anything, what would you use it for? Write a paragraph or two to give your opinion. Use one or two solid reasons why you hold this view.

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Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson

Original image courtesy of pilipenkod, dollarphotoclub.com

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