(credit: Microdrones Gmbh)

Friday marks the fifth and final day of Ars Unite, our week-long virtual conference exploring the horizons and boundaries of the future of technology. Obviously, we’re saving the best for last, which means drones! These flying toys and/or death machines have become increasingly commonplace—so much so that earlier this month that the federal government has said that they will now need to be registered. We’ll be jabbering about what new drone pilots should know before they fly, and where the legal landscape is taking us, all over on our YouTube channel at 10am Pacific Time / 1pm Eastern Time.

Here at Ars we’ve been following drones closely: and there hasn’t been a lack of news. A drone crashed into power lines in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, taking out power for a few hundred people for several hours. A Kentucky man who shot down a drone over his backyard had the misdemeanor charges dropped against him. A company that flew its drones over New York and Chicago may face a $1.9 million civil judgement. A newbie pilot, who downed his drone in an unoccupied section of the stands at the US Open, was sentenced to five days of community service. And all of those stories were from this month alone!

As the news has demonstrated all too often, drone pilots often don’t really know what the heck they’re doing. Even one of our colleagues, Lee Hutchinson, managed to crash a drone into a tree. Many people are just ordering the things online, and taking them outside, with little regard to themselves, or their neighbors, or whatever restricted areas might be nearby. (Remember that dude who crashed a drone onto the grounds of the White House?) That’s what our drone feature explores.

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