Reports of a drone narrowly missing a passenger jet that was flying into Heathrow airport, the disastrous marketing stunt by TGI Friday and this case of neighbourly disagreement highlight the urgency of drone regulation before they take to the skies en masse.
It’s certainly not an easy task and it’s one that must take into account a vast array of uses, including high utility cases (for example, drones that help farmers monitor crops). In the US, some people worry forthcoming regulation from the FAA would unfairly inhibit drone use in agriculture. Scientists and photographers alike are making significant advancements using drone-mounted cameras, and amateurs have successfully and safely used drones in photography for the past couple of years (Martha Stewart is using her personal drone to photograph her farms and properties). Meanwhile, Amazon recently threatened to take their R&D elsewhere if the FAA refuse to approve testing in the US. So where does this leave us when drones are poised to be a big seller this Christmas?
Thousands of drones are being sold to excited novices. Pressure to increase and enforce regulation has never been higher, but retailers are happy to let regulators play catch-up as they watch drone sales take off.