The most popular Christmas present of 2014 was also one of the most dangerous. Interest in small, commercially available drones exploded last year, propelled by professional and hobbyist photographers and cinematographers. As camera-mounted quadcopters became cheaper and better, we got to fly through exploding fireworks, witness Burning Man from the air, tour abandoned Pripyat, and see the rise of the ‘dronie’.
Unfortunately, fragile hovering robots can be difficult to fly. A German tourist was banned from Yellowstone after crashing his quadcopter, and a mistletoe-mounted drone sliced off a journalist’s nose in T.G.I. Friday’s, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to release an underwhelming seasonal safety campaign.
At least 100 new types of drone are due to be released in 2015, with the drone market set to hit $1bn in value by 2018. However, popularity and growth may be halted by the FAA’s proposed rules surrounding drone use, something Amazon is not happy about, threatening to derail the businesses’ dreams of drone delivered packages.