Drones have burst into the collective consciousness, receiving attention from countless media outlets, lawmakers, and citizens. Drones — or, more accurately, aerial robotic platforms — are poised to transform fields ranging from warfare, to environmental conservation, to movie making, to everyday journalism. Much of the current coverage of these technologies, however, has been sensationalistic or focused on a narrow slice of use cases, ignoring a large spectrum of our technological future.

We decided to create Drone University as an online educational platform for people interested in learning more about the social, technological, and policy issues surrounding the proliferation of drones. It will consist of a series of podcasts housed on a website that are organized thematically. When taken collectively, they form a curriculum. The university targets an educated segment of the general public that would like a deeper, more holistic perspective on these emerging technologies. Drone University does not take a position on any of the issues surrounding the use of drones, but instead seeks to expose community members to a wide array of perspectives.

Drone U was founded by Nabiha Syed and Timothy Reuter and is produced in cooperation with the New America Foundation‘s Open Technology Institute.

20130421-Timothy-ReuterTimothy Reuter is the founder of the DC Area Drone User Group, an association that seeks to promote the use of flying robots for humanitarian, artistic, and recreational purposes. He became interested in drones through the maker movement, which dictates that if you see something cool you should try and build one for yourself. During the week, Timothy works as a senior adviser on issues of international development. He is a former Presidential Management Fellow and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Timothy can be reached at timothy@droneu.org .


20130421-Nabiha-Syed-cropped-001Nabiha Syed is the creator of the Drone List, a premier forum for the exchange of news and ideas about drones run out of Stanford University. She became interested in drones while working on drone-related FOIA litigation as a New York Times First Amendment Fellow, and observing the public impact of drone use while traveling in Pakistan, where her family is from. During the week, Nabiha works as a lawyer at a First Amendment and media law firm. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and is a fellow of the Yale Information Society Project. Nabiha can be reached at nabiha@droneu.org .


newamericaThe New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. The Open Technology Institute formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open source innovations and facilitates the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks.

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