Drone U podcast: Shayna Gersher on UAVs in Canada.

Drone U Podcast: How Canada Has Embraced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drone U Podcast: How Canada Has Embraced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 12 2014 11:06 AM

Drone U Podcast: How Canada Has Embraced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

A drone hovers over Petrie Island park in Ottawa, Canada.

Photo by MICHEL COMTE/AFP/Getty Images

Every week on Future Tense, we highlight a talk from Drone U in which a leading thinker speaks about what our drone future may look like. Drone U is produced in cooperation with the New America Foundation. (Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University.)

This week, Drone U features a podcast from Shayna Gersher of the Institute of Political Economy at Carleton University in Ottawa. Gersher looks at Canada’s role in the emerging global drone industry and how the government and private sector work to promote the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.


Canada was one of the first countries in the world to have civil regulations governing drone use, starting in 1996, and the strengths and weaknesses of its approach may have lessons for U.S. agencies as they write their regulations for commercial use in 2015 (or maybe later). Gersher points out that the current joint efforts between businesses and transportation agency technocrats are not set up to address the social and political circumstances around the technology. But one benefit to Canada being an early adopter of drone technology is clear. It has already been able to try out exciting applications like keeping their beaches clear of goose droppings while the United States is only just beginning to allow testing of commercial applications at six test sites around the country. 

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Timothy Reuter is co-creator of Drone U and the founder of the D.C. Area Drone User Group. He also works on issues of international development.

Nabiha Syed is a media lawyer in New York and a visiting fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project.  She is the co-founder of DroneU.