Drones are Fantastic. In the Right Place.

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Gordon goes hunting...

When I first saw a drone on a technology show, it struck me how incredibly useful they would be. And they are. Now, even the lowest budget TV programs and movies have fantastic drone photography. Drones can find lost, or injured hikers and they can sometimes be successfully employed in animal conservation (though maybe not for rhinos: www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/thorny_issues/the_use_of_drones_in_rhino_conservation).

But, with little effective regulation, they have become pests. I experienced this directly, when I went in for an impromptu dip at my favourite Dorset beach and a drone hovered directly overhead to film me. My attempts to hit it with pebbles were unsuccessful, but I wonder who would have been breaking the law in this case: me, the drone operator, or both?

throwing rocks at drones

What do you think of drones – do you love them, or hate them, or feel indifferent? 

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4 thoughts on “Drones are Fantastic. In the Right Place.

  1. You are exactly right, Alex, but add to that the danger that badly operated drones present to aircraft. They have also been known to pester firemen.

  2. There’s a lot of hysteria about drones, but the evidence shows they are less of a threat than many things we take for granted. Dogs, for example, which routinely attack thousands and kill dozens of people a year. Guns, if you’re in the US.

    Aircraft collisions are a concern, but note that the regulations already prohibit flying over 120 metres or close to an airport. More stringent restrictions wouldn’t have stopped the close calls. (And in several cases I know about, the “drone-like objects” weren’t drones but weather balloons — which many people buy off the internet and launch for fun.)

    Idiots will be idiots — drone pilots as much as any other group.

    In the case of the drone over you on the beach, clear violation of the regs which prohibit flying within 50 m of a person or overtop of a person (unless they are under the direction of the pilot). Whether that would excuse your trying to damage the drone I don’t know. Suppose your neighbour is recording you in your back garden — you don’t have a right to damage their smartphone to stop them doing so.

    In the case of breaches of privacy, I’d class smartphones as more dangerous than drones. Scan Youtube for the vast number of surreptitious videos recorded and publicly posted, for example. Drones, by contrast, are bloody obvious. They may be annoying, but they aren’t secret!

    • Good points, but I’d like to KNOW what you can personally do about them. In the case of home invasion in the US, it seems you can use a gun to protect yourself. I’d like to argue that you should be allowed to use a well-aimed rock to protect your privacy. The problem with smartphones is that they are usually attached to people, so throwing a rock at them could be risky!

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