Drones are also being explored as a tool for journalism. While professional journalists are currentlybarred from using unmanned aerial vehicles for their stories, the University of Missouri and University of Nebraska both offer courses on drone reporting inanticipation of changing laws and practices. Dronescan fulfill similar functions in journalism as they do infilmography, providing pictures or video of hard toreach or dangerous sites. They can also takemeasurements and gather data safely, cheaply, andeffectively.Not all potential uses of private, domestic drones arepragmatic, however. Sometimes, drones are simplyfun. As robots and unmanned aerial systems growcheaper, they are finding expanded recreational use. Most drones are, after all, advancedversions of the radio controlled airplanes, helicopters, and cars. This trend has extended intolow cost personal quadcopters with novel applications such as the Joggobot, which tracks andfollows runners using a symbol on their shirts. Like most personal drones, however, theJoggobot still has a ways to go and is plagued by battery life and airspeed issues. Still,diminishing complexity through simpler controls, autopilot assistance, and greater technicalresilience in case of inevitable crashes or botched landings, along with dropping prices asunmanned systems become commodity technology, make recreational drones increasinglyfeasible toys and gadgets.
Domestic Drone Policy Issues
Technical issues aside, however, private drones stillface sizable policy and legal hurdles in the UnitedStates. There are a number of safety and privacy issuesthat need to be resolved before individuals andcorporations can operate their own drones or reporterscan use UAVs to break a story. From a purely practicalperspective, though drones are unmanned they are stillvehicles that may require skilled pilots and can dosignificant damage in a crash, necessitating licensingand safety regulations. Drones with recordingequipment also bring about warranted surveillanceconcerns as they expand private citizens’ means of spying and challenge reasonable expectations of privacy that determine legal and acceptable behavior. If, for example, it is acceptable to see