Living in the Age of Drones

How are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) changing the way our world works? While we hear many ominous predictions around surveillance and drone warfare, the current applications of these elevated appliances are much more pragmatic and beneficial.

In this panel session we here from the experts about how UAVs (including, but not exclusively, drones) are working in areas of agriculture, emergency services, and beyond. They discuss the limitations and potential, alongside the ethical and legal implications surrounding use of UAVs.

The talk is of import to multiple disciplines including engineering, agriculture, law and ethics, but is equally fascinating for new technology enthusiasts. We hope you enjoy the session and please join the conversation on hashtag #AgeOfDrones or tweet us your thoughts to @MelbNSI.

This event was a collaboration between Networked Society Institute and Melbourne School of Engineering at University of Melbourne.

The panel

Dr Airlie Chapman

Dr Chapman’s research interests are networked dynamic systems and graph theory with applications to robotics and aerospace systems. She has recently authored the book “Semi-Autonomous Networks” published by Springer in 2015. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Chapman received the PhD degree from the William E. Boeing Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2013. Dr. Chapman was awarded the College of Engineering Dean’s Fellowship at the University of Washington and is a two-time recipient of the Amelia Earhart Fellowship.

Professor Chris Manzie

Professor Manzie is currently the Head of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne, and also the Director of the Melbourne Information, Decision and Autonomous Systems (MIDAS) Laboratory, which includes academics from multiple faculties including Engineering, Science and Law. Over the period 2003-2016, he was an academic in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, with responsibilities including Assistant Dean with the portfolio of Research Training (2011–2017), and Mechatronics Program Director (2009–2016).

Dr Ranjith Rajasekharan Unnithan

Dr Unnithan is a Research Group Leader and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University of Melbourne. His research areas span CMOS image sensors, drones based sensors and applications, electronic sensors for biomedical applications, thermal image cameras, and nanophotonic engineering.

He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2011. He joined the University of Melbourne as a lecturer in 2014.

Dr Unnithan is Co-founder and Director of Sensor Research, Hort-Eye Ltd, precision agriculture drone sensing company founded by a team from the University of Melbourne and aligned in partnership with XM2, a major drone equipment and services company.

Dr Jake Goldenfein

Dr Goldenfein’s research at Swinburne University of Technology addresses the intersection of law and technology. He is currently exploring automation from a legal theoretical perspective, seeking to understand how the use of artificial intelligence and automated decision making affects processes of governance and the nature of law. He is also interested in distributed ledger technologies (block chains) and smart contracts and the ways in which new forms of registry systems might affect the administration of intellectual property regimes, housing systems, and governance more broadly. His doctoral work explored how law might address automated state surveillance and profiling.

Dr Goldenfein’s recent publications have explored: the relationship between blockchain platforms and the public domain, the significance of the dynamic RAM chip for intellectual property, the potential for automation of privacy law, the history of law enforcement intelligence databases, the relationship of privacy to police photography, and computer surveillance in remote indigenous communities. He was admitted to practice as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria in 2010, and is a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation and the experimental arts organisation Liquid Architecture.

Panel host: Dr Suelette Dreyfus

Dr Dreyfus is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Computer and Information Systems at The University of Melbourne. Her research interests focus around the application and usability of emerging technologies for broader social benefit. She does research in e-Education, e-Health and the impact of technology on integrity systems.

More Information

Kate Murray

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