If any institution can rebrand the drone, it’s MIT. Most Americans justifiably think of the sinister-looking unmanned aircraft as flying killing machines — since, in their best-known application as a military vehicle, that’s what they are.
But like astronaut ice cream and the Internet, drones are a military innovation that has plenty of potential civilian uses. An MIT lab is working on turning a drone into a flying tour guide that would help direct lost visitors around the school’s Cambridge campus. Users could summon the robot with the swipe of a smartphone, and the device would direct visitors to their destination — all while sharing sightseeing tips.