Comments on last week’s post on UAVs focused on safety and privacy, and rightly so. Most offered valid examples of why UAVs won’t work today, and I won’t argue because I agree. At the same time, I can see how UAVs will safely integrate with populated aircraft in the not too distant future. As for the privacy concerns, watch the video, and then we’ll talk.
The 1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS sensor is impressive, isn’t it. Imagine, a 20-square-mile view with the ability to focus on objects as small as 6 inches in 65 different windows while not losing the larger view. Each UAV equipped with this system streams a million terabytes of data, equal to 5,000 hours of video, a day.
It sounds threatening and scary until you think about who’s going to watch it. Don’t give the government too much credit. It’s as disorganized and dysfunctional as any civilian operation. I’m sure the government workers at all levels only wish their technology was as cutting edge and capable of finding and displaying needle in the haystack aerial surveillance video in any multiple of the time it takes in the movies.
As for safely integrating UAVs into a sky filled with populated planes, remember one word: NextGen. Yes, I know, it is not yet fully operational and it has its problems, but like the antiquated ATC technology we now depend on, engineers will work all the bugs out NextGen.
If you dig into the NextGen systems that keep everyone from bumping into each other in positive control airspace, it’s easy to see that the only real difference between a populated plane and UAV is where the pilot sits, cockpit or cubicle. –Scott Spangler, Editor