Forget Weird, More Like Well-Monitored – Drones Coming to Austin

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The Statesman published a really great, in-depth story about the emerging drone industry in Austin, led by DJI Innovations, a Chinese company that’s recently set up shop in the overly-hip high tech hub.

Here’s a quick recap and critique (the story’s got some bias-I mean problems), but if you’re an Austinite, consider buying a premium online subscription to the Statesman; it’s pretty nifty.   

“Drones are showing up in this country in increasing numbers — and they could be coming to a neighborhood near you.”

The article discusses the many sides of drones – from vantage points for photographers wanting to get that perfect aerial shot, to inspectors of tall equipment, like telephone poles.

In addition to being versatile, they’re also affordable and easy to build:

“The company’s Phantom drone, which debuted in January, costs less than $700. The small four-rotor copter also is relatively easy to fly and to navigate.”

While the Statesman gets occasionally distracted by the complex issues of privacy created by drones, it mostly focuses on how harmless and fun drones are, and reads like a long advertisement for DJI Innovations – no joke!

I, on the other hand, am not so eager to welcome commercial drones to my neighborhood when the FBI hasn’t even figured out the difference between lawful and unlawful spying yet! Seems to me, snapping photos from above can quickly turn into spying from above. Not to mention, we’re not talking puny little toy drones here. DJI Innovations is the “global leader in UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) design.”

Fortunately, drones aren’t the only ones watching our backs. So is State Rep Lance Cooden:

“Texas state Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Athens, authored one of the first drone regulation laws in the nation that passed in the regular session of the legislature.

The law prohibits “indiscriminate surveillance” by drone without a warrant or use of it for malicious intent.”

It intrigues me that so, so many drone-related news reports and sightings popped upright after the subject got attention from the mainstream media. Remember when a guy at SXSW told us 30,000 drones would be patrolling Austin by 2020? I highly doubt drones were that much more uncommon before CNN, Fox News and the gang acknowledged their presence and seemingly got on Obama’s case for it.

Perhaps we’re just finally opening our eyes wide enough to see them… Them?

3 thoughts on “Forget Weird, More Like Well-Monitored – Drones Coming to Austin

  1. I live in Austin and near the airport. Believe me, it’s not too hard to tell the difference between a regular plane and a drone. They fly these bastards everyday and NO ONE even acknowledges it, especially at the park. They never bother to look up as it is slowly circling the sky. I look at everyone and say, “Look, it’s a drone” and they don’t even so much as change the subject, shift their heads or even give a hoot. It’s absolutely zombie town here in Austin public places. But in private, many others know what’s going on.

    Also, the author of the article is right. By encouraging people to buy drones to watch other drones, that may be good privately, but when you are publicly stating it in the news, you open up a whole new SPY vs SPY can of worms and the politicians will eat that up by passing more draconian laws to prevent not only us from watching them but from us flying anything or doing anything about them in general.

    With Texas A&M building drones and with army helicopters flying around the city of Austin every Monday for no reason other than to shake up things and get people acclimated to them as they travel to and from work on the I-35, it’s no wonder it’s so gotten out of hand. I just can’t believe people want to get used to this bullshit or give up on it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE???!!! When I see these choppers on the way to the city, I’m ready to run for cover or shoot the damn things down, but nope, the people just keep being ignorant (Ignorance is strength in an Orwellian world) as they are driving like zombies on the road.

    I remember working outside at an early childhood school in Round Rock over a year ago. It was play time outside and all of a sudden three military choppers came roaring past the area, flying at about 20 feet above the ground, scaring the hell out of everyone (that’s one of the few times the people of this area actually bothered to acknowledge the existence of something flying over them) like it was the Zombie Apocalypse or something as they head South to the city of Austin. I told everyone that was completely illegal and that we all should call the damn government and do something about it because they are scaring the children and the people in the area and that someone needs to get their ass whooped.

    However, this young dumbass, air-headed, zombie teacher, a native of Texas, said, “Really? They do this all the time even when I was growing up.” I just looked at her like she was nuts. Really? This is why our country is so F**ked up now. When you have sheeple like her teaching our children. Unbelievable. Welcome to Austin.

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