Mind-Controlled, Rideable, and Emergency Drones: My Top 5 Favorite Stories of 2017

Before 2017 is over, let's revisit my favorite stories of the year.

Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

All good things must come to an end, as do overwhelming, frustrating and troublesome things like the year 2017. As we look back on this year of alarming domestic political groups, terror attacks, and the massively disconcerting antagonizing of a dictator armed with nuclear weapons, it's important to reflect on the positive things we got to witness. After all, the holidays are meant to inspire a period of gratitude and communal appreciation of life, experiences, and the things we hold dearest. Fortunately, for us at The Drive, we need only look through the vast list of stories we were able to report on to find a slew of grin-inducing pieces we'd like to share with you one more time before the year officially concludes. 

As someone who only seriously began delving into the world of the unmanned aerial vehicle this year, and discovering its potential uses in society in the near future, I've decided to keep my list drone-centric. I've learned so much this year and genuinely appreciated the opportunity to not only learn about drones myself but to share these revelations with you. Some of these articles gave me joy, while others forced me to sit back and think. All of them together, however, form a truncated microcosm of why I love this job so much.

Let's take a look back at 2017, and my top five favorite stories of the year.

5. AK-47 Machine Gun Maker Kalashnikov Developed a Rideable Drone

CGTN / Kalashnikov

Kalashnikov's rideable drone in action.

I'm sure we've all dreamt of flying cars at one point or another. While Kalashnikov's eight-rotor drone can't be purchased, let alone legally used in public, it's still quite the feat of engineering to behold. The simple fact that we're officially at a stage where producing a flying, manned vehicle is utterly feasible is enough to warrant a slot in my favorite news items of the year. We've witnessed other attempts at creating flying cars before, such as the SkyHopper or MIT's approach, but it's Kalashnikov's model that really stands out. That video alone is enough to make a grown man jealous and giddy enough to make the list.

4. Should We Let Police Use Drones Post Emergencies Such as the Las Vegas Shooting?

Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty

Drones are becoming an increasingly useful tool in law enforcement.

Covering tragic news is never easy. It's difficult to find an approach that doesn't make you feel like you're using someone's loss as a resource for content. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history was confusing, alarming, and utterly unnecessary. I'm thankful that my position as a drone news contributor allowed me to not simply reflect on the event and expound on the facts and questions surrounding it, but to suggest having a conversation regarding the use of drones during and post emergencies such as this one. How can we do better? I think that question, alone, deserves a prominent spot here. As a runner-up, I think the Los Angeles Police Department's victory in garnering itself a one-year period of legal drone implementation in law enforcement deserves to be part of the conversation. We are now at a stage where serious discussions regarding privacy versus security have reached the world of UAVs. Those conversations are vital to our democracy and absolutely imperative to have. 

3. Drone Helps Find Ancient Temple Remnants in Israel

Anadolu Agency/Getty

UAVs have become a highly effective tool for archaeologists.

As a huge Indiana Jones fan, as well as anything that forces us to re-think and reconfigure our timelines of history, this was a particularly appealing story. It's not just that we've discovered a new structure that had remained hidden for thousands of years, which, alone, is stupefyingly cool. It's the fact that drones are beginning to ramp that process up. Who knows how many temple sites and historically significant remnants will be spotted by unmanned aerial vehicles moving forward? The mere fact that drones are affordable and useful tools could alter our knowledge of history. Surely, even Indy would appreciate that.

2. Eminem Reveals REVIVAL Cover Art via Drone Footage

Jeremy Deputat/Eminem/Shady Records

Eminem's REVIVAL projected against Michigan Central Station.

Eminem was the first artist to take utter control of my 11-year-old brain and its reward system. I needed his music, it spoke to me, and it hit me at the perfect time in my life. His was the first concert I ever went to, during the upswing of the peak of the man's career. While I now make a living writing about drones and their place in society, I spent much of 2017 theorizing and speculating with fellow Eminem fans what his newest album might sound like, and touch on, thematically. Unfortunately, the end result was massively disappointing. But that didn't stop me from rejoicing like a teenage girl that I was actually allowed to write about both drones and Eminem in one article. 

1. Mind-Controlled Drone Fleets Are Coming, Researcher Says

Arizona State University / Human Oriented Robotics and Control Lab

Mind-controlled drones are coming.

Perhaps I knew that this would be my favorite piece of the year as soon as I finished writing it. Perhaps the title alone, sumptuous in its cyberpunk and science-fiction constitution, had immediately won me over that day. It's also possible that this was the first time an article I wrote was picked up by other publications, including a fairly respectable one, that pushed this piece over the top for me. Ultimately, it's all of those things. Above all, however, is the fact that we get to research and learn about subjects we're voraciously curious about, share them with the world, and get our nerdy science-fiction fix taken care of all at the same time. 

Happy holidays from everyone at The Drive. We hope you've enjoyed our work this year. As for us, we can't wait to share even more mind-bending, exciting, and fun news from the automotive and drone industries with you. Stay tuned, as the calendars get replaced and the content just gets better.