03/29/2013 06:34 pm ET Updated May 29, 2013

Ground Control, Part 1

Last August, before domestic drones had become a concern worthy of a 13-hour Senate filibuster, I found myself inside a stretch limousine with a bunch of engineering students. We were on a rural highway in eastern North Dakota, rolling past bales of hay and soybean fields, the limo's mirrored bar set with a row of empty champagne glasses. No one paid attention to them. Instead, the student engineers were deep in a marathon conversation about flying robots.