One Nation Under Drones

Drones are here, at home, and they’re here to stay. Not the wingnut fantasy of you being on a receiving end of a targeted assassination outside Hooters because you didn’t sign up for Obamacare. But what about a malfunctioning drone falling out of the sky and hitting your kid? Or maybe flying into the flight path of your 767 as it makes it final descent on your return home from vacation?

The thought is scary but the system the federal government is now forced to build to prevent these things from happening is mind-bogglingly complex. And the more I heard about it the more interested I got. Our whole air safety regime today is based on having still relatively few things up in the air. They all have human pilots. There are places where commercial planes can go and the recreational and small scale operators can’t. But how do you keep everything safe when you have an order of magnitude larger number of vehicles up in the air and the vast majority don’t have a pilot and often don’t have anyone controlling them anywhere nearby? There’s no increased number of air traffic controllers who can grapple with that new reality. The FAA has been given the job of solving that problem. And it’s the subject of our newest TPM longform One Nation Under Drones (sub req).