Drones: week 9


The drone is gradually conquering its place in the smart cities. In the military, the drone has been used since the beginning of the 21st century. Its main purpose was providing war managers with intelligence, information. The drone is capable of transmitting long-distance surveillance information as well as carrying weapons (Jensen, 2016). Jensen (2016) also states that “the latest technological trajectory of drone is centred around database” (pg 67).

However, recently, its usage has also been extended from from playing the role of airborne mobile sensor to delivering light postage packages. According to Jensen, this latest use of drones has raised an ethical and political concern especially in this time where the fight against terrorism is at its highest point (pg 68). Jensen states that this is due to the fact that despite its purpose (even if it is for domestic use), “having remote-controlled flying devices that are capable to communicate between them in urban and domestic area can have a negative effect on the privacy of the population “(p68).

In 2015, Switzerland post service had their first parcel delivered by a drone. Although it was part of the testing, postal service executive affirmed their satisfaction even though they believed that if the project had to go ahead, a full postal service via drone will not kick off until 2020 (Agence France Presse, 2015). This service is said to be quicker but also safe. Jensen explores the idea of mobility of goods, people, vehicle which he states that is more important that the movement itself. He also states that this is because, mobility explores the social, cultural, economic and political dimension of this new increasing mobile society (2017, pg 69).

According to Flood 2017), the drone delivery service is considered as an agent of hope because several discussion have been held in regards to the importance of using drones to deliver food and medical supply and others important product in deprived areas. In Rwanda, for example Flood states that, because of the long raining season, some areas become inaccessible by road. Therefore, as stated by Flood, “this technology has the potential to erase barriers to access for countless critical medicines and save lives on a scale not previously possible” (Flood, 2016).



Agence France-Presse (2017). Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/08/swiss-post-begins-testing-postal-delivery-by-unmanned-drone [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Jensen, O. (2016). Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “smart cities”. Geographica Helvetica, 71(2), pp.67-75.

Flood, Z. (2017). From killing machines to agents of hope: the future of drones in Africa. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/27/africas-drone-rwanda-zipline-kenya-kruger [Accessed 1 May 2017].






2 thoughts on “Drones: week 9

  1. Switzerland post service began delivering parcel via drone in 2015 and stated that they could also use drones for emergency situations and the transportation of high priority consignments, such as laboratory tests. (Agence France Presse, 2015). Making deliveries using drones eliminates face-to-face contact, i.e. between a customer and a postman or delivery driver. Jensen describes this as “situational stretchiness” (Jensen 2013 in Jensen, 2016: 70), in that communication at face-to-face distance with visual gestures and speaking is replaced with “distantly mediated technologies.” (Jensen, 2016: 70). The situation of drones making deliveries is stretching and carrying networks and things across time and space (Jensen, 2016: 70) and this raises concerns about who owns airspace and where drones should or should not be able to go. For example, flying over schools or army bases.

    Agence France-Presse. 2015. Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/08/swiss-post-begins-testing-postal-delivery-by-unmanned-drone (Accessed 04/05/17).

    Jensen, O. (2016). Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “smart cities.” Geographica Helvetica. 71(2). Pp.70.

  2. Ngoy discusses the benefits of using drone technology to deliver packages in effect an extension of the postal service. Ngoy goes on further to look at the benefits of using a service like this to areas that may be hard to reach because of environmental issues such as flooding. While she suggests that a service of this sort has its benefits. As a vehicle that has been used in military situations to gather information one can see that the operator could use drones that delivery packages to also gather surveillance information.

    The idea of using drones to continually gather surveillance information on environments that are not in combative situations is a growing concern as it reinforces the message that big brother is watching you. The impact on the general public could be “the detriment of individual liberties” (Jensen, 2016, PG69).


    Jensen, O. (2016). Drone city – power, design and aerial mobility in the age of “smart cities”. Geographica Helvetica, 71(2), pp.67-75.

    Ngoy, S. (2017). Drones: week 9. [online] Digital Cities. Available at: http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/digitalcities/2017/05/01/drones-week-9/ [Accessed 13 May 2017].

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