The biggest issue facing those attempting to legislate and/or regulate the use of drones within the UK and around the world, is that they share the same sort of space as other aerial vehicles do, namely airplanes. While drone operators are warned to keep them under a certain height and within line of sight, the fact that they have the ability to go higher and further worries many. Amazon’s suggested solution, is to give drones their own special airspace, just above the rooftops of our cities.
The area in particular that Amazon wants to see earmarked for drone only usage, would be between 200 and 400ft from the ground. This wouldn’t be the realm of hobby aircraft though and would instead be restricted to highly advanced drones, incorporating avoidance sensory equipment and long-range automation features.
A further 100ft (between 400 and 500ft from the ground) would be designated a no-fly zone to prevent any potential collisions with more conventional aircraft (as per the Guardian).
Some of the technology that Amazon’s experts have proposed would be required to operate within this drone-zone include highly accurate GPS tracking, a reliable internet connection for command updates, an accessible online flight plan for potential human correction if needed and avoidance measures such as M2M communication between drones, as well as sensors that can detect and help avoid any incoming objects.
This of course comes from Amazon’s initially jokey, but now quite serious push to allow parcel delivery by drone. It’s thought that by cutting out drivers to pay and vehicles to maintain – since the electric motors of drones are much more simple – that costs can be reduced and perhaps more importantly, packages can be delivered far faster; in some cases, within hours of ordering.
However if Amazon wants to claim a slice of the sky for itself – particularly as low as it is suggesting – it will not only need to combat those that fear privacy invasions from the technology, but hobbyists who themselves would want to utilise such a prime piece of real estate. If limited to just 100ft below the commercial drone-zone, their own developments and fun could be severely limited.
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KitGuru Says: The drone debate is a difficult one, as no one wants to stifle the technology’s potential, but there is some real worry about drones dropping from the sky if they collide with a bird or similar.