Covered at Reason 24/7: Drone Companies Worried About Cultural Backlash


Not every drone is trying to kill you or spy on you on behalf of a nosy government agency. Unfortunately for the companies that make these other drones, the growing public discontent over the potential misuse of the unmanned aircraft may end up spilling over in areas where there probably is no real opposition.

Via the Associated Press:

The civilian unmanned aircraft industry worries that it will be grounded before it can really take off because of fear among the public that the technology will be misused. Also problematic is a delay in the issuance of government safety regulations that are needed before drones can gain broad access to U.S. skies.

Some companies that make drones or supply support equipment and services say the uncertainty has caused them to put U.S. expansion plans on hold, and they are looking overseas for new markets.

"Our lack of success in educating the public about unmanned aircraft is coming back to bite us," said Robert Fitzgerald, CEO of The BOSH Group of Newport News, Va., which provides support services to drone users.

Drone manufacturers point out that even in the hands of law enforcement agents, their products have a legitimate use in helping in rescue efforts and other activities that don't have the potential to violate citizen privacy. Their arguments would probably have more traction if law enforcement agencies at all levels of government weren't constantly looking for excuses to bypass the Fourth Amendment.

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