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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37 Comments

Previous comments

Well, guns brought us together in a good way, which can't be bad.
Mile End in Stepney is smack bang in the middle of London, I am what is called a cockney.
You can ask your wife if she has any knowledge of this, or London generally.
I am by the seaside now so love going out with my camera, with similar reasons to yours.
Apart from the professional bit.

user-156929's picture

Shooting for money sucks! Even though they tell me to shoot things however I want, it's only because I know what *they* want! Portraiture is the worst! I want to make portraits that reflect the personality of the individual...they want cookie cutter shots. I get what I want during setup and light testing, which also helps the subject relax but the subject and I are the only ones to see them.

I would love to live by the sea. I'd be there every day!

Yes I suppose being a professsional takes the fun out of photography.
I can go out and take photos of what I want and when I want.
Living by the seaside is great, although I do not actually get into the sea, oh no.
I often stroll around for hours or jump on my bicycle photographing people and things.

I cannot get in to a long discussion with you Bob, your opinions are possibly too ingrained to have a sensible dialogue.
I am not anti-american or a fascist.
What I actually said was if ONE OF MY FAMILY, not me, was on holiday I would feel entitled to have an opinion. I cannot stop them from deciding to go and so have no power to prevent them being killed by a gun. Therefore my belief in the right to an opinion.
I find it astonishing and conttadictory to hear from an American citizen that I have no right to an opinion on USA policy when your country has historically dictated, with violence when deemed neccesary, to the world, lately North Korea.
Don't come back to me about the morality of North Korea, you have already discounted this aspect in your post to me.
By the way, you and fellow posters strayed from the drones subject, not me.

You really are one sad, confused and angry individual Bob.

Yes, people will always do dumb things. Yes there needs to be regulation for drones, but lets not go overboard with them. Using the USA gun debate ther are already enough gun laws/regulations but they only really effect the people that follow them. Where I'm at in the USA, there are several laws that cover getting hit by a liter cup of coke the simplest being littering with a $2000 dollar fine. For drones its you don't fly over or into people, and a potential fine that's much larger than $2000. Do we really need to create more regulations for idiots that aren't going to follow them anyway? For those of us who are flying responsibly (the vast majority) do we really need more hoops to jump through and more regulations to try and keep track of, for what supposed to be a fun hobby.

Genius and regulations have their limits, Stupidity knows no bounds

Drones are the perfect exemples that flying cars won't happen... for the masses