Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DRONES: the wave of the FUTURE or a RISKY Business?

DRONES: the wave of the FUTURE or a RISKY Business?

A risk assessment on the emerging use of Drones in Aviation work by Dennis Taboada.

Dones are becoming more prevalent today in Aviation.

Drones, which are also known as “unmanned aircraft systems,” are seeing an uptick in popularity as they’re used by the U.S. government and are even the subject of plans by online retailer Amazon.com for use shipping products. But now, the drone controversy emerging from a Hartford Conneticut traffic accident has the FAA on alert because its use may have been illegal. The police report filed in Hartford Connecticut says that on Saturday Feb. 1, officers spotted the drone overhead with an attached camera.

Police say they questioned the man operating the drone, but no arrest was made. The question posed is this: Do we see drones a big part of the aviation industry in the near future? It is my opinion,  we will have to deal with their use due to the unique information gathering ability coupled with low risk. In the case mentioned, privacy was the issue more than anything else. The fatal accident had the victim still in the car when the drone, with camera attached and running, flew over. The body was not seen in the drone video but, that may not always be the case. According to FAA regulations, “drones cannot be operated for commercial use” and according to Hartford Police, “The presence of a drone at a crime scene for journalistic purposes is in violation of FAA regulations.”

Drone training by Law Enforcement around the world
Can we embrace the use of drones as long as their use is “under control.”  When I use the term "under control" I am refering to the establishment of limits and barriers that would be acceptable to all stakeholders in the use of drones. I assembled a QA team in our office, and formulated a risk assessment of the use of drones along with the effects of a possible drone accident. This risk assessment is missing the collective expertise in this area but, will serve as a good example of how we should approach this inevidable trend. We also broached the discussion of privacy. Privacy is more of a social discussion that would warrant robust analysis and control itself. See the following:

A preliminary Bowtie risk assessment on the possiblity of Drone Use Accidents. 

We can not ignore the advantages of drone use especially when you consider the protection to human life of an unmanned vehicle.  Police captain James Brinson makes a good point when he says, “These drones will be able to broadcast live during active shooters or SWAT team tactical units. “ However, could the use of drones in these application give an advantage to criminals who have access to the drone images?

It is clear that we don’t have enough mitigating barriers or answers to totally make the use of drones acceptable. I believe the risk analysis is at least the first step to making the use of drones possible…….your thoughts. 


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