Co-habiting with Drones

Projektstart: Mai 2020

As commercially available drones get smaller, cheaper, and easier to operate, they become quotidian objects of daily life—popular Christmas gifts for middle-class parents and kids, for example. Their smallness, durability, affordability, and maneuverability make them suitable for diverse commercial, recreational, and social purposes such as aerial imaging, natural resource development, search and rescue, emergency response, transport of medical supplies, wildlife protection, freight delivery, infrastructure maintenance, and crop monitoring. Yet, as these “toys” proliferate in the international consumer market, they also push the technological and legal limits of sovereign airspaces and air traffic management systems. If there will be more drones than birds flying over the urban areas in the near future, then what will life with drones look like? How can we bridge technophilic and technophobic projections of human futures with drones? What are the possibilities of cohabitation with drones? At the intersection of artificial intelligence, law, and ethics, this project investigates the opportunities and challenges of drones’ integration into society. Through multi-sited ethnographic and institutional research with diverse stakeholders, it explores safe, secure, and sustainable ways of integrating intelligent urban mobility systems such as drones into everyday life.