Can Drones Be Good?

It was a cool day in Dallas last November, when a small quadcopter lifted itself off the ground of an American Airlines hangar and buzzed towards a Boeing 737. The drone, a DJI Mavic Enterprise, had been outfitted with a spotlight, but otherwise looked a lot like what you might see your neighbor flying in the backyard. The remarkable difference was that this particular aircraft had been programmed to inspect the hull of the much larger aircraft, the jet. It could do in a matter of minutes what it would take a maintenance crew hours to do. It was, in its own way, a tiny flying robot with a job.