Researchers at the University of Las Vegas’ Center for Crime and Justice Policy have published the results of a nationwide web survey, studying public perception and acceptance of aerial drones. The study, which surveyed 636 adult US residents, reveals how Americans really feel about drones hovering over football games or delivering stuff to their doors.
The survey shows that gender, income, and political affiliation all affect the public’s view on drones. Republicans are more in favor of drones for border patrol; Democrats are more interested in using drones for journalism. Higher income brackets proved more open to the idea of drones in general; and men were more likely than women to be familiar with potential applications for drone technology.
“Public support for drone use in different contexts is strongly associated with the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents (e.g., age, marital status, political party affiliation, income, views about public safety and individual rights),” says the report.
The survey then asked for respondents attitudes about 9 different applications for drone use, including search and rescue, military and law enforcement uses, and private commercial applications.
“Public support for drone usage varies widely across contexts. Support is greatest for search and rescue activities (93% support) and climatic/geological mapping (87%). The lowest support for drone use is for crowd monitoring at large public events (43%) and for package delivery services to private residences (42%).”
“These survey findings suggest that aerial drone usage in public and private settings is a controversial social issue that is represented by both strong levels of support and opposition across these settings,” the report states.
They may also suggest that law enforcement planning on using drones to monitor crowds will face some opposition; while Walmart and Google need to invest in some PR campaigns before counting on drone delivery for everyone.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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