This year, I’m getting my dad something special: his first drone.
I’m not the only one. More than 1 million people in the US are expected to find a drone under the tree this year.are also looking at a bumper month for drone sales, thanks to falling prices and growing interest in the technology.
Excitement about drones has been mounting, thanks in part to plans by companies to use them for, . Drone racing is also sparking interest (see “ “). But questions remain about how ordinary people can use their new toys. Skyrocketing sales may mean we get some answers in 2016.
Mishaps involving drones are now regular news, whether, hitting people and property, or bothering neighbours by hovering over homes. This year, a man in Nottingham was the first in the UK to be prosecuted on drone-related charges.
But so far, the rules governing privately owned drones are uneven and often behind the times. Many users are also unaware of what’s allowed. The prospect of millions more air vehicles whizzing around has alarmed US government agencies, which were alreadyof the .
The European Aviation Safety Agency has suggested there should be Europe-wide regulations on where and how high civilian drones can fly. And the US Federal Aviation Administration has floated the idea of a database identifying all pilots with a drone over 250 grams. The agency is also reportedly testing military-grade technology to hunt down drones flying near airports.
Tighter and clearer may be for the best. Until then, check before you fly.
Image credit: Jonathan Alcorn/Corbis
This article appeared in print under the headline “Prepare for the drone invasion”
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