Ever since I saw the piece on CBS 60 Minutes last month where Amazon’s Jeff Bezos coyly introduced a product not quite ready for prime time – the Delivery Drone, I’ve again been thinking about personal drones. A January 2nd, 2013 NY Times article featured a $1,200 personal drone called the Phantom 2 which can be controlled by your Apple IOS device. The article author Kit Eaton notes that using this drone to take photographs is great fun and it sounded really cool until I thought twice.
Picture a world where the average American has an affordable personal drone. The drone could be used in a variety of ways to insure the security of one’s house, car, and family. A drone could be a very useful tool indeed. But what would happen with the rampant use (and overuse and misuse) of personal drones? The range of drones has been shown to be substantial.
I have this vision of people using drones to scope ‘talent’ at the beach. A snowstorm of drones checking things out trying to avoid one another while the buzz and unsightliness of the flying robots drives everyone crazy – and away from the beach. That won’t work. Nor will unregulated drones that could be used to crash parties, sporting events and public gatherings. Will there actually be a need to have signs posted that scream NO DRONE ZONE? And will venues need to have anti-drones that would be employed to take out privacy invading drones? Or personal surface-to-air anti-drone kits to protect your domicile from snooping drones?
Wouldn’t the regulation of personal drones have to fall under the (FAA) Federal Aviation Agency? I looked into it and found some references but no policy as yet – The technology is advancing so quickly that action needs to be taken sooner than later before drones become…a constant drone.
If personal drones did not look so much like flying junk perhaps they might be more acceptable when snooping around. Making a flying personal drone look non-threatening could become important. I remember growing up and watching The Flintstones cartoons. There was a Martian-like character named the Great Gazoo. There were times Gazoo appeared to be a somewhat drone-like (but not controlled by anyone or anything else) popping up anywhere and everywhere (and usually messing things up for poor Fred Flintstone). For the record the Great Gazoo was not regulated by Bedrock City in any way. The point is that Gazoo was kind of cute, non-threatening but could see and tell all and that seemed to be ok with Fred and Barney (the only ones that could see the Great Gazoo).
So do you feel the FAA will have to have stringent regulations regarding the use of personal drones?