PX: Increasing Engineers’ Sensitivity to Ethical Concerns Related to UAS Operation


The increasing use of UAS for a broad range of research, commercial, and military purposes has raised concerns about their safety, environmental impact, and potential use for privacy-invading purposes (e.g., image capture, data collection). Engineers need to consider these ethics-related concerns when designing and operating UAS. The goal of this LAUNCH project is to:

  1. Create an educational ethics module that aims to enhance engineers’ sensitivity to the ethical concerns associated with UAS and
  2. Pilot-test the module with a group of engineering students and examine whether it improved their sensitivity to these issues.

The module will include a variety of educational media, including online videos, case studies, role plays, and hands-on activities. Ultimately, this module could be integrated into undergraduate aerospace courses. Integrating the module into the existing curriculum will draw on students’ UAS design activities and knowledge to provide a deep, broad, and enduring exposure to key ethical issues in the design and operation of UAS.

Student Participation

LAUNCH students will create an educational module on ethical issues related to UAS. The students will learn about creating educational content and assessment as well as effective pedagogies for ethics training. Once the module is created, the students will pilot test it with a group of engineering students and receive feedback from the group. Students will also conduct interviews and administer surveys to examine how the pilot test group’s awareness of ethical issues related to UAS changed after they completed the module.

Project Mentor: Dr. Benjamin Ahn