You have touched on a something that I call the Pentium Effect: the belief that all technology should advance at the same rate as semiconductors. This leads people to declare that we will have electric or hydrogen cars and solar power in the near future, and that private inividuals can send a rocket to the moon. It tends to cause confusion and disappointment when these things don't happen.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.