Droning on Responsibly?

Droning on Responsibly?

You're walking along the street minding your own business when bam, out of nowhere something hits you hard in the chest, winding you. You fall backward and lose your feet, landing on the sidewalk. You've been hit by something solid, then you feel wet and cold. Looking down you realize that you are saturated and there is ice on the floor, with what must have been a full one-liter take-out cup of coke. As you come back to your senses a truck drives past, with a couple of guys in the front howling with laughter, the remainder of their drive-through now covering you.

Put a couple of jerks in charge of a one-ton vehicle doing 30 mph and anything can happen. In this case, it was throwing something out of a moving vehicle which hits you hard — very hard. Imagine that was, well, a drone. Put a couple of jerks in charge of a two-pound drone doing 30 mph (the DJI Mavic Pro weighs 1.6 pounds and can do 40 mph) and, if it hits you, you are really going to know about it. And that's before you get into near misses with passenger aircraft, delivering drugs to prisons, flying over sensitive military areas and general issues around the right to privacy.   

We require people to be licensed to drive cars and, thankfully, aircraft, but not (at least non-commercially in many countries) to fly drones. This is a tricky area because drones are cheap, anyone can fly them and (perhaps the biggest problem) it's difficult to police. Even if we did criminalize it, it would affect every 12 year old who picked up a mini-drone for $9.99.

So, with this backdrop, the BBC reports on planned U.K. government legislation to increase non-commercial restrictions (proposals due Spring 2018). The Civil Aviation Authority already has the helpful DroneSafe website but wants to see:

  • Registration for pilots of drones weighing more than 250 grams.
  • Mandatory drone safety awareness testing for this group.
  • New seizure powers for police.
  • Greater commercial use, for example, parcel delivery.

I imagine we'll see a range of similar proposals appearing piecemeal in different countries. Given the explosion in the commercial and non-commercial use of drones by photographers, do these proposals go in the right direction or are we on the verge of over-regulation (and yes, I speak from experience about being hit by flying coke)?

Images used with permission of pixel2013.

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53 Comments

michael buehrle's picture

all of these UK restrictions would still not stop 2 knuckleheads flying it into your chest, or delivering drugs or flying over super secret gov bases. people will just do dumb things sometimes, and sometimes bad people do them too. nothing you can do to stop it.

Anonymous's picture

Regulation is not about eliminating problems. It's about lessening occurrences and mitigating damage. There's no way to completely prevent a person who is willing and determined to cause damage from doing so. Just because there's nothing you can do to stop an extreme example of a person that's being purposefully reckless doesn't mean that you shouldn't do anything at all. The goal is to adjust the risk/reward calculation so that less people (hopefully far less) deem the reward to be worth the risk. The tricky thing is to introduce that change without being overly zealous or oppressive. It's a delicate balancing act.

This sounds a lot like the gun debate in the U.S. I'm not trying to equate the two, obviously, but there it is. In both cases, sensible laws regulating their use are in order. I think size is a good way to determine levels of regulation but I have no use for them so I don't really know. I certainly see Michael's point but not regulating them, somehow, could easily lead to some bad encounters.

It's a bad comparison Sam. The right to own guns in America is critical to prevent tyranny, not to mention allowing people that could otherwise not defend their lives and property from others to do so. Drones don't provide such a benefit. Because guns do it is accepted, at least by rational, semi-intelligent and non-fascist people, that some people will abuse that right and that some people will be injured and killed.

As for the UK's laws, or proposed laws, regarding drones, it's none of my business. I'm not British.

Don't care.

So, if some people who are injured and killed are 5 and 6 year olds, is that "accepted" by "rational, semi-intelligent and non-fascist people?" I guess the answer is "yes" because, if the gun laws didn't change after the slaughter at Sandy Hook, I fear they never will. I know this article was about drones but I felt inclined to ask Bob about his posted view.

I rejected Bob's admonition because I already stated I wasn't trying to equate the two. I guess he couldn't be bothered with the details.

However, and I'll try to keep this short to avoid a protracted discussion, he's basically right. The key is "rational" regulation and, while we would probably disagree concerning what is rational, no additional gun laws, even an outright ban such as they have in other countries, would prevent these kinds of mass murders. Gun laws, like locks, are designed to keep honest people, honest. They do nothing to deter bad actors. The reasons such attacks are more prevalent in the U.S. are sociologic in nature, not based on laws.

Sam, you originally said you "don't care." Now of course that wasn't true or you wouldn't have responded. You simply disagreed with me in some way. You were also not admonished. That is an inaccurate view and unreasonable reaction to what I posted.

As to your claim that I missed you not trying to equate the two, that is also inaccurate. I said "It's a bad comparison." I mentioned and suggested nothing about equating the two. Because two things are being compared doesn't equal them being equated.

"The reasons such attacks are more prevalent in the U.S. are sociologic in nature, not based on laws."

Correct, but they could also be greatly mitigated by law abiding citizens being able to properly own and use guns. The ignorant and lying gun control people like to make it seem like it is a free for all in America when it comes to guns, and that is far from the truth. The fact is there are so many gun laws in place, even at the local level, that it actually deters law abiding citizens from not only owning guns but also from using them as they should be able to.

Disagree with your first two paragraphs. The third was just a reference to my post. And I agree with your third paragraph.

Simply saying you "don't care" or I "disagree is not very productive in a discussion or a debate.

Given our disparate baseline arguments, no discussion or debate would have been productive anyway. That's, obviously, not always the case, but I call 'em like I see 'em.

Debates are always productive, just not for both participants.

In this case, I don't care about anyone else's benefit. That's not always the case.

Why should it make a difference if it's children? How are the lives of children more valuable? That is heartstrings nonsense of our age. It's also one of the main reasons why so many marriages and families fail, because children are wrong made the center of the family.

What "change" would you like to see?

Of course Ms. Ninja may disagree but, it makes a difference because adults had a chance at life, for good or bad. Children haven't. The main reasons marriages and families fail are finances and blaming one's spouse for a lack of happiness. Children are sometimes given too much emphasis but that's rare and nothing close to being a main reason for broken marriages.

"..adults had a chance at life, for good or bad. Children haven't."

Adults created that "chance" to begin with. Adults can also have other children, even if that means adopting. If it was a choice between saving my wife's life and saving the life of a child, my wife would win every single time. I wouldn't sacrifice my life for a child over my wife either. My lifelong vows were for my wife, not for a child.

Within what is humanly possible, I also get to determine what my "chance at life" is.

"Children are sometimes given too much emphasis but that's rare"

Nonsense. Children today are typically put on pedestals and marriages and relationships and families suffer greatly as a result. They also typically terminate with emotional declarations of undying devotion and support "for the children," when the undying devotion and support should be between the husband and wife, man and woman. Finances, poverty, sickness, none of that crap, factors in one iota if that devotion is there. The only thing that would factor are those that are mentally ill, those that wouldn't be able to think and reason properly.

Well, we'll have to COMPLETELY disagree on this one but I admire your commitment to your wife. :-)

Anonymous's picture

If Bob starred in "Sophie's Choice", it would be a much shorter movie, lol.

"You can kill both children, I'll just produce more later."
The End

I didn't see it but understand the concept from your comment. :-)

Anonymous's picture

If you’re in the mood to get depressed, I highly recommend watching it. :)

Being Irish, my life is depressing enough. ;-)

If you do not have Irish citizenship Sam then you are not Irish. Doesn't matter if your ancestors were.

...if you define such categories by citizenship. I don't and don't care if you do.

A ridiculous comparison.

Anonymous's picture

Of course it was! It was a joke. :)

Michael Holst's picture

Wow... I hope your child doesn't read this or experience a situation where your feelings about him/her really hit home.

A nihilist concerned with morality? How is that possible?

How does me putting my wife first equate with me not caring about my children?

Michael Holst's picture

The where I mentioned nihilism I only said I was looking at the matter in a nihilist way meaning I was indifferent. Not that I am a nihilist. Nice try though.

I know I'd have had a hard time dealing with those words if my dad had publicly expressed such a statement. You don't have to care about your kids, that's your choice so you do you buddy.

Of course you're not a nihilist. Your use of nihilist was at best a poor choice of words and at worst intellectually dishonest. In either case it's remarkable to then see you reply in such an emotional way.

"I know I'd have had a hard time dealing with those words if my dad had publicly expressed such a statement."

No offense intended, but only a child with psychological problems and/or not properly raised would have a hard time knowing a father put his wife first and foremost.

"You don't have to care about your kids,."

You're being irrational. Because someone puts their spouse first doesn't equate to them not caring about their children.

Anonymous's picture

“It's also one of the main reasons why so many marriages and families fail, because children are wrong made the center of the family.”

Do you have any evidence to support this claim? In my (admittedly brief) research into this, according to the Pew Research Center and the CDC, marriages of families with children are 40% less likely to divorce. And recent national surveys of divorcees state that “lack of commitment” (73%) is the leading reason for divorce, not issues regarding children.

http://www.wf-lawyers.com/divorce-statistics-and-facts/

I’m interested if you based your claim on any verifiable evidence, or if it is just your personal opinion.

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