In just five years from now, 7,500 licensed unmanned aircrafts — commonly known as drones — will fly the skies above United States soil. By 2030, there will be 30,000.
However, these numbers are conservative. At this very moment, the popular drone hobbyist community DIY Drones boasts 40,000 members. Drones are not the technology of some unknown future. They are a fact of our lives.
That is why, when I received a request to attend a state legislative hearing for a bill to virtually ban all drone flight in the state, the whole thing felt a little ridiculous.
My colleagues and I started the Missouri Drone Journalism Program late last year to figure out if and how journalists could tell compelling stories with these small, unmanned flying vehicles.