With the rising proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Australia set to order the Triton, The Williams Foundation is conducting a timely enquiry into the topic: Protecting Australia with Drones: Cheaper? Better? Smarter? Safer?
The enquiry will canvass the broad scope of issues surrounding the deployment of UAVs in civil and military use in the Australian environment, and will look in particular at intelligence surveillance, strike capabilities, ethics, legalities, privacy, the environment, commercial aspects, technology, R&D and people and training.
“There are indications that economic and technological imperatives are driving the use of drones at a pace that’s making it difficult for the legal and ethical dimensions, for example, to keep up,” The Foundation’s Dr Alan Stephens, said. “Presently there’s little debate in Australia. We hope to generate a robust public exchange. Our report will comment on all of those aspects and will make recommendations where appropriate.”
The Williams Foundation – which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to promote a better understanding of the use of airpower in the national interest, has developed a website containing useful background to the development of UAVS and their deployment as a background to the inquiry. The site can be found at: http://www.dronepower.org.au
The report and recommendations will be published in October.