How people make sense of drones used for atmospheric science (and other purposes): Hopes, concerns, and recommendations

Janell Walther, Lisa Pytlikzillig, Carrick Detweiler, Adam Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can advance understanding of the atmosphere and improve weather prediction, but public perceptions of drone technologies need to be assessed to ensure successful societal integration. Our qualitative study examines public perceptions of UAS technology, and the associated risks and benefits, for such civilian purposes. We examine how people form perceptions, and discuss the implications of these perceptions for UAS design and regulation. Our study finds the public to be favorable toward UAS used for "noble" purposes. Participant views are informed by popular media, personal experiences, comparisons between technologies, and consideration of the trustworthiness of the users, regulators, and technology itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-234
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Atmospheric science and weather
  • Drones
  • Public perceptions
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization

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