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Alarming Drone Crash on College Campus Turns Out to Be an Elaborate Hoax


" event that is difficult to understand as either real or not real."

(Photo: UC Center for Drone and Policy Ethics)

Earlier this week, a drone appeared to have crashed on the University of California-San Diego campus, causing a stir among students and staff. The so-called UC Center for Drone Policy and Ethics stated it would hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss the drone's malfunction and crash.

(Photo: UC Center for Drone and Policy Ethics)

All was not as it seemed though. Everything from the crushed metal fashioned to look like an unmanned aerial vehicle to the press release for the public meeting were a hoax.

The first clue could have been that the meeting would take place at the college's Calit2 Gallery. According to NBC San Diego, the whole setup was part of an art installation called "Drones at Home."

"I'm sure some of [the students] probably did think it was real," artist and professor Ricardo Dominguez said, according to NBC, "but that’s one of the practices of new media art – what we call minor simulation. It creates an event that is difficult to understand as either real or not real."

Even the center issuing the phony press release was made up to be part of the installation as well. Would you have believed this statement made by Guerne N. Ka, principle investigator for the center that was in the press release?:

“We understand that the recent drone crash incident has caused alarm amongst students and staff surrounding the research and use of drones on the UCSD campus and surrounding areas, and very much wanted to take this opportunity to educate the public about drone technologies and local deployments. While drone crashes are rare and another malfunction is extremely unlikely, we at the UC Center for Drone Policy and Ethics would also like to take this opportunity to teach basic drone safety techniques that can be practiced on a daily basis to keep ourselves and others safe.”

(Image: UC Center for Drone POlicy and Ethics screenshot)

The year-long installation is meant to raise awareness of drone us on U.S. soil. Dominguez, according to NBC, has concerns about drone use and privacy, but the staged crash was not meant to be a protest but more so to spur conversation.

The campus' Calit2 gallery specifically takes a look at the relationship between art and technology, according to NBC.

(H/T: Boing Boing)

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