Bringing The World Home To You

© 2023 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

From Navy Fighter Pilot to Drone Advocate, Meet Missy Cummings

Image of Duke Professor Missy Cummings, drone advocate and expert.
Missy Cummings


Although the word drone may at first evoke an image of a stealth killing machine, the work of Mary 'Missy' Cummings proves drones are much more than that initial thought. 

Cummings directs the Humans and Autonomy Lab at Duke University, where she builds interfaces for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and studies the social and ethical implications of technological advancement. She believes that UAVs have the potential to dramatically impact industries like agriculture and medicine as well as the commercial sector. 

Cummings started researching the relationship between humans and technology after spending 10 years in the military. She was one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, but her experience witnessing many colleagues die in preventable accidents encouraged her to devote her career to bettering and advancing our technology. Cummings recently helped a national task force develop recommendations for US Drone Policy. Host Frank Stasio talks to Cummings about her life and work.

Watch Missy Cummings on the Colbert Report in 2011:

The Colbert Report
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Colbert Report on Facebook

Cummings was also featured on The Daily Show in 2013:

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Daily Show on Facebook

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
More Stories