Drone use just got a little scarier with reports that the United Nations wants to start using them to strengthen MONUSCO, their “peacekeeping” mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They want to use them to monitor the Rwanda-Congo conflict amid accusations that Rwanda has been aiding rebels (something that only the U.S. government is allowed to do).
The idea of the UN using drones was considered at one point, but it was dropped because of the cost. But now that so many countries are using them, the cost has come down, and the UN has even approached the US among other countries about providing drone technology.
As with every other UN initiative, spokesmen for the international organization say that there’s nothing to worry about, and the drones will be used for surveillance purposes only in identifying armed individuals crossing the border into DR Congo. One such spokesman said, “Of course, we would do this carefully, in full cooperation with the government of the DR Congo, and trialing their most effective uses for information gathering to help implement our mandate to protect civilians.”
The UN won’t be able to implement such a program immediately as that would take equipment and training, not to mention support from the member states and an approval from the UN’s Security Council. But sooner rather than later, they will acquire drones and use the conflict in DR Congo to experiment with them.
Drone use is becoming increasingly commonplace, and some estimate that by 2020, the U.S. will be using 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and law enforcement.
By 2025, law enforcement hope to be able to use them to patrol highways. Auto manufacturers such as BMW, GM and Honda entered into a contest hosted by the LA Design Challenge to design a “highway patrol vehicle” for 2025. Most of the designs focus on specialized unmanned police vehicles that can operate on land, water or in the air. By design, they’ll be able to pursue “suspect” drivers and even disable a person’s car remotely by emitting an electromagnetic pulse. Infowars summarized some of the major manufacturers’ ideas:
“Honda’s entry, the Honda CHP Drone Squad, includes both a four-wheeled drone vehicle and a two-wheeled motorcycle-style drone, both of which would hunt down suspects without the need to be manned. General Motors’ concept, named the Vault Squad, includes three futuristic vehicles designed to ‘observe, pursue or engage.’ The NY Times noted that the term “engage” was ‘left menacingly undefined.’ BMW’s DesignworksUSA studio came up the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle), which would allow the operator to deploy an airborne armed surveillance drone which would have the capability to disable a suspect’s vehicle using an electromagnetic pulse.”
The only thing worse than having these local police drones monitoring highways and “engaging” civilians is having UN “peace-keeping” drones doing the same thing.