What happens when terrorists realize that they can use drones too?
There was a short piece in Sunday’s NYT about autonomous drone aircraft as a fast-growing hobby, but the darker implications seemed to escape the writer (or she wasn’t given enough space to go into them). One guy’s quote at the end was revealing:
After a day of sputtering failures and spectacular and often unpredictable flights, first place in the aerial category went to Antonio Liska, a 29-year-old aerospace engineer who hopes to start a business selling drones. He programmed his own autopilot and plans to fly his unmanned aircraft into volcanoes in Central America — “just because I can,” he said.
If Bin Laden were still alive, he would have seen his job become a lot easier with this technology. No need for suicide pilots! No need to get past airport security! Just buy one of those big, recreational, GPS-fitted autonomous drones, stick some high-explosive and a cellphone detonator inside, and you’ve basically got a poor man’s cruise missile — able to strike any set of coordinates within range.
I imagine this technology will also prove useful to ordinary assassins (will bodyguards have to start carrying mini AA missiles in response?), as well as UFO hoaxers.