Making Friends with Drones

Interview

Friday, September 27, 2013

Missy Cummings saw the dawn of the age of drones — sorry, “unmanned aerial vehicles” — firsthand from the deck of an aircraft carrier. As one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots, flying an F-18, Cummings realized that improvements in GPS were going to obviate her job. So she switched gears, becoming a leading researcher on UAV engineering at MIT. “I’m not sure how other professors do it without having been a fighter pilot first,” she says. “I probably lost two dozen friends while I was in the Navy who crashed because of bad interaction with the system, either poor design or their misunderstanding of what the system was doing. That really helped spur me on to develop better aviation systems.”

While military applications are what concern most of us about these devices, Cummings says that the cutting edge of development left military research a year ago, and the big leaps are happening in the commercial world: get ready to see driverless tractors and flying pizza delivery bots. And bowing to reality, Cummings has given up trying to stop us from calling UAV’s "drones."

Missy Cummings gives the closing address at the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference in New York, October 2013.

    Music Playlist
  • Someone to Watch Over Me
    Artist: Willie Nelson
    Album: Stardust
    Label: Columbia/Legacy
    Purchase: Amazon

Guests:

Missy Cummings

Produced by:

Eric Molinsky

Comments [2]

Leital from Studio 360

Anita,

It's a music video by the band Phoenix, for their song "Entertainment."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c3PoD_qW1Y

Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Sep. 27 2013 02:36 PM
Anita from Santa Fe, NM

Please send me the name of the French film/short that was taken from a drone at Versailles. Thank you.

BTW, I look forward to Fridays so I can listen to the next studio 360...I dream of having dinner with Kurt Andersen someday.

Sep. 27 2013 11:44 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.