If you haven't been following the day-to-day happenings of drones, it can be hard to know where to get started: Who's flying drones, and why? What are they doing with them? How does the government feel about them? What are they used for in the military, besides drone strikes?
In the last couple years, drones and model aircraft have gone from niche chatter, something that you may have heard about only when relating to targeted killings in the Middle East, to being one of the most promising and exciting new technologies.
We cover them regularly here at Motherboard (and we produced a feature documentary about them back in 2012), but an intro-to-drones primer is long overdue, and finally here. The Bard College Center for the Study of the Drone has just released The Drone Primer: A Compendium of the Key Issues, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Having had our heads in this stuff for the last couple years, Motherboard's Alex Pasternack, Shawn Musgrave, and, well I, helped write certain chapters of the report, which editor Arthur Holland Michel says "compensates for what we believe is a shortage of impartial, basic, one-stop readings on the main drone points."
The report "represents the culmination of what we have learned and taught over the past two years, presented in an accessible, straightforward way," Michel wrote. "Our hope is that the reader will gain a basic, comprehensive understanding of the key issues and, more importantly, a desire to keep learning about them."
The primer covers military and civilian drones, takes a look at their history, their uses, and their future. Check it out below, or at the Center for the Study of the Drone's website.