Leaders of the unmanned aerial vehicle industry instructed journalists at a convention this week in Washington, D.C., to stop using the word “drone” to refer to the terrifying flying robots the government uses to monitor and kill people.

Inside the media room Wednesday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where the sector’s top trade group — the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International — was meeting, the password to connect to the Wi-Fi network was the not-so-subtle phrase “DontSayDrones.”

The group’s president, Michael Toscano, said the word “drone” conjures up mental images of Predators firing missiles at alleged terrorists around the world. “If you look around here today, you don’t see that,” The Washington Times quotes him as saying.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Washington Times:

Indeed, the showroom at the convention is filled with smaller craft that in the coming years will be used by farmers, oil and gas companies, first responders, the news media and a host of other industries.

Mr. Toscano also contended that the phrase “unmanned aerial system” more accurately describes the craft, which consists not just of a flying machine but also of data links, payloads and, most importantly, a human operator.

“The key word is the word ‘systems.’ That’s the word we hope the public will understand,” he said. “There is a human being in the system. The human being is what makes the system. When you say the word ‘drone,’ you don’t think of a human being in control. That’s the real reason why” not to use the word “drone,” he said.

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