Read Austin's latest piece in Slate here.
The Good Drone Lab is a start-up that mainly focuses on drones use by civil society and for the public good. Policy discussions regarding drones are relatively new. Recently we have witnessed drone use restrictions in several countries. By looking at the whole picture, here at the Drone Lab we aim to build general frameworks for civil society use of drones. An example of this is an easy-to-use method for estimating the size of a crowd. We’ve noticed that main crowd estimation techniques remain unchanged. So by employing aerial photography and existing knowledge we have designed a methodology for counting the crowds. Knowing exact numbers of the crowds is important, because civil society can keep governments accountable. Also civil society groups can increase their legitimacy in fighting for their rights. So, we hope that this work will not only help civil society groups to increase their power in fighting for their rights, but will also contribute to policy discussions regarding drone regulation internationally.
The Drone Lab was founded by assistant professor Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick and School of Public Policy MPA student Tautvydas Juskauskas. Austin is a political sociologist, whose main academic interest is in social movements for human rights, especially related to human trafficking and contemporary slavery.
At the Drone Lab Austin brings a theoretical and practical familiarity with civil society and movements. He has finalized an academic article advancing an ethical framework for civil society’s use of drones. Tautvydas is a former lobbyist, who has worked in communications field for a number of years. At the Drone Lab he has pioneered the technological and conceptual framework for the crowd-size estimation technique. He is also the project’s lead tech. Together we are finalizing the crowd estimation method and the accompanying academic article. In the meantime we are running field tests of the method at every possible demonstrations, protests, or other public gathering.
Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy and core faculty at the Center for Media, Data, and Society both at Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). His recent work explores the use of new technology, especially drones, for the public good. Recent work on the topic can be found in the Journal of International Affairs, Slate, and Mobilizing Ideas.
Mr. Juskauskas works in the field of political communication, technology and lobbying. He is a founding member at the Good Drone Lab. Tautvydas was pivotal in documenting the biggest protests in Budapest, Hungary since 1990 and in developing an improved method for estimating crowd size. Currently he consults on policy entrepreneurship.
Jon Holland is a geek with a passion for humanitarian work. His diverse background and creative approach to problem solving were a great asset during the founding days of the Good Drone Lab, as was his penchant for whisky. Jon currently works in the field with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).