What if I ...
Wednesday's Dilbert is so appropriate!
The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee on Thursday warned lawmakers to take concerns about data protection and surveillances seriously in drawing up new rules for drones. The opinion, approved by 50 votes to four, will now be sent to the Parliament’s transport committee, which is leading the charge in coming up …
1) all UAV operators must hold a current PPL
2) All Operators must have £10,000,000 in public liability insurance (minimum) 
3) All Operators must take a competency test in drone operations before they are allowed to fly unsupervised
 It is only a matter of time before one of these things drops out of the sky and injures or even kills an innocent bystander
I seem to have at least one drone flying over my home most weekends. Ok, they make a change from those effing Chinooks but it is obvious that the pilot can't control it properly.
"1) all UAV operators must hold a current PPL"
You can fly manned aircraft without needing a PPL. For UAV it's gross overkill and not actually necessarily the most appropriate qualification. Also, are you going to extend that to the diddy indoor rigs people are using for drone racing? Grouping diddy racing drones in the same category as big rigs carrying kilos of camera is downright silly.
It's rather more nuanced than that (you know, the same reason you need different licences to fly helicopters, Cessnas and Learjets).
Strange reply to irresponsible and probably illegal activity of some UAV users, to illegally and irresponsibly use another "self control required" hobby against it. You are not part of the UAV solution you may be part of another problem.
I could be wrong, you might have tens of acres so can be sure no projectile from your air gun will lave your property but I'll take a punt on not. I've used both and the biggest threats to both hobbies is idiots, you see they get everywhere and risk the pursuit for others.
Having worked at one government department which thought that 'Welcome to Stratford 2012' was actually a tourist advert for Shakespeare Country I am pretty sure that if we are talking about 'killing drones' then DEFRA will start culling all bees instead.
Despite that, exactly how are they going to enforce those regulations anyway? Counter-Drones? Black-clad, masked Eurodrone cops, armed with coil guns?
1/ A Drone may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2/ A Drone must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3/ A Drone must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
Great, now all we need is the Zeroth Law:
0/ All Drone Manufacturers should include an AI clever enough to successfully interpret the other three laws.
This may take some time...
I thought the whole point of Asimov's "three laws" stories- which too many people seem to forget when they invoke them in a pat manner- was to explore the *potential loopholes* and *unforeseen consequences* of any such attempt to codify behaviour in what at first might seem a clear, straightforward and logical manner.
Besides which, the three laws were in effect aimed at the artificial intelligence underlying these robots. Current consumer drones are human-controlled with (at most) limited automatic behaviour in certain situations that doesn't come close to Asimov-level "intelligence", though it's possible the proposers might have more advanced military applications in mind.
These potential regulations are likely to have more to do with rules surrounding air safety and social privacy. It's not clear how much- if at all - AI is intended to enter into this.
Besides which, the three laws were in effect aimed at the artificial intelligence underlying these robots. Current consumer drones are human-controlled with (at most) limited automatic behaviour in certain situations that doesn't come close to Asimov-level "intelligence",
That was rather my point...
By coincidence, I started re-reading Asimov's "I, Robot" (the real one with the collection of short stories threaded together as Susan Calvin's memoirs, not anything related to the execrable film of the same name) last night. It has been a long time since I last read it, and I've got a lot more education in relevant areas since the last time. Two things struck me fairly quickly: a) "harm" needs a lot of definition (leading to the Zeroth Law, of course), and b) they are cautionary tales. Asimov seemed to be saying that there is no effective way of controlling autonomous machines because they are, well, autonomous!
I don't recall any similar fuss about people using RC helicopter or fixed-wing models despite them being in use for decades.
Is the camera attached to the drone the real issue? Is it the perceived connection with military spy drones? The possibility of remote assassination?
As I've mentioned here previously, I won't play with my quadcopter in public precisely because of the general perception.
Here in Germany at least there are a lot of restrictions of what, where and when you can fly, when it comes to remote controlled aircraft. You can't fly them in built up areas, for example.
And they used to be expensive enough and difficult enough to fly that your average idiot couldn't afford to be stupid with them. Drones are robuster, quieter than helicopters and are often flown illegally over built up areas by idiots that don't know better... Having a GoPro strapped on is just another nail in the drones coffin.
"Here in Germany ..."
There are similar rules/laws in the UK. Probably across much of the EU, I would expect the same rules to apply to drones etc anyway with little more required than publicity campaigns rather than new and specific laws which, despite being specific, will actually be quite a bit woolly causing most people to ot understand them until some poor sap end up with a fine or in court.
Originally I thought it would be good if a law would require drone operators not to enter areas marked with a "no drones" sign on penalty of fines and declaring the drone in that position eligible to be destroyed without any compensation for damage, but the problem is that you cannot see that you enter such a zone when it's in the air.
This is not an easy one, but I can tell you one thing: if someone works out a reasonably cost effective way and safe way to shoot drones they'd have quite a market - a market that would not exist if some drone users didn't fail to behave responsibly. As usual, the few stupid idiots ruin it for the rest, so I'm not surprised we're now heading for regulation in all its ugly forms.
If you want to use a UAV in a built up area you must be prepared to have the vehicle driven at full chat into your body with just normal clothes on, if that idea makes you wince you should not consider its use around people.
The DJI's and clones risk damage to the hobby as they are consistently sold on the “anyone, in five minutes” ticket, if anyone can get going without any other control, training or test then the onus is on the individual to reduce risk and protect others, if the advert says “anyone in five minutes they must mean me and right here!” DJI and some traders looking to ride the wave risk driving us all onto rocks.
A bicycle is a dangerous device, people are killed by them, and on them, but we mostly leave the control and activity to society, there are so many upsides of cycling the trade off is worth it.
It's early days but the opportunities provided by UAV's could benefit so many more than just the geeks and lads inspired by 250-Class racing but until you have strapped on some FatSharks and been flown around some beautiful, or exciting location, it won't make much sense, there is something very deep about the perception of flight from the first person viewpoint.
Like bikes, once it goes over a certain speed or weight it's a different class of risk so takes on more licensing and test responsibility. The UK UAV laws are currently quite specific, I could (almost) safely fly a QAV250 type around my street but it's not legal, I could record with a camera but I'd have to go at least another 100m to do so legally, the problem is in the UK that to get 150m from a built up area is quite hard for many people, the guy in London, Manchester looking to get started is probably going to break regulations to get going so then people assume the regulations are the problem
I know that is using the 150m "recording with a camera" distance but most people seem to think all quads have them, with yet to be invented stabilised super-zoom spy lenses.
Right now we are gathering opinions from those who have never ridden a bicycle on control of bikes.
YouTube channels with examples of the technology, small flying things you pilot from a chair. Let some of us learn to ride bikes then come back with ideas?
Mr Steele (mad as a box)
(there are others with fantastically valuable info like RCModelReviews but he is being shut out by the old school RC club)
Government is always behind technology. What they don't understand they regulate. Not going to change in the foreseeable future.
I've flown nitro copters for years, the past 6 years with a camera mounted. Stabilized gimbals were few and far between as well as a system to stabilize flight. Along came DJI with the Phantom series quads and Light Bridge first person viewing the the world exploded.
Too many different government agencies have their hands into attempting to regulate UAV's and as such, the current regulations don't work, sort of like Mozilla with FireFox
For every system (geo fencing) put in place to restrict UAV flight, there's a cheap work abound.
Education and licensing is the only thing that's going to work. Get caught with no license, lose your quad until you get the license. Infractions after that, huge fines for repeat offenders..
We are trying to establish a club in Hull in the UK to teach the laws and safety of flying QUADCOPTERS and DRONES. We also aim to teach building, repairing and flying these RC craft on a hobby level and business level.
Yes we will have insurance for every one in the club.
We think that what we are doing is preventing RC craft and commercial aircraft flying in the same space.
Preventing by education peoples privacy being invaded.
Encouraging youngsters to get there adrenalin rush by way of quadcopter racing in FPV mode. First Person View Mode is achieved by flying the quadcopter wearing googles that receive a video link from the camera on the front of the craft. Rather them be doing this than stealing your vehicle and getting the adrenaline rush via that way
Please dont confuse a drone with a quadcopter. Quadcopters are flown at low levels at high speed round a course built by the clubs. A drone is capable of automated flight, it uses range from private photography and video, search and rescue, inspection work and sadly in the governments case war. Excluding the government the law for flying quads and uav say the ceiling height for flight is 400 feet ( comercial helicopters fly as low as 500 feet hence why were are limited to 400 feet )
This is why we aim to teach people about the fast forming hobby.
Yes people who break the laws should be fined and the revenue of the fines should be fed back to support educational RC clubs
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