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Beauty shot of the countryside from a drone

News Regulations and retail – drones are hanging around

10 January 2017 Daniel Curtis

Were you one of the estimated 1.2 million people who found a drone under the tree this Christmas? As previously predicted, the sale of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) spiked over the festive period, doubling numbers from 2015.

Considering their growing popularity, we start another new year with the need to assess ‘where we’re at’ with drones.

As we have documented previously, the swelling of drone sales for commercial use has meant that it is set to become a multi-billion-dollar industry. This has meant changes to licensing and regulations as well as exciting and creative uses for UAVs.

Well ahead of the most recent holiday season, the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States had taken great strides towards integrating the drones into the nation’s airspaces.

As of 21 December, 2015, the FAA had developed an online registration system in response to the rule that owners of UAVs weighing more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must make themselves known to the Federation.

As well as aiming to keep account of the growing number of drone operators across the US, the FAA also wanted to enforce a certain level of responsibility to their hobby, as well as making drone-owners to feel part of the aviation community.

Counter-industry tactics

The FAA seem sensible in their decision to regulate drone use in this way, as the safety of these aerial vehicles has been called into question in recent months.

Security has been threatened so much in both public and private arenas that numerous counter-industry start-up firms have begun to develop various techniques as a means of stopping drones from flying in forbidden territories.

Here in the UK, some cases of improperly managed and irresponsible drone use have led to fears of them colliding with forms of air travel. There are additional worries over UAVs breaching the privacy of others or even being applied to more malicious uses.

There have also been reports of UAVs being used to smuggle contraband in and out of prisons, unlawful surveillance and just causing general disturbance in residential areas.

Personal counter-drone technologies – ranging from anti-drone rifles to deploying birds of prey – are being developed in an attempt to disable drones that operate illegally.

Happy shoppers

On the flip side, however, other commercial developments in the UK have meant positive advancements for online retail giants, Amazon.

As part of their pioneering Amazon Prime Air service, the company successfully delivered a package via drone to a destination in Cambridge in December, 2016.

With Prime Air development centres in the US, UK, Austria and Israel, the potential impact on shopper expectations could be staggering – with the company aiming to deliver packages within 30 minutes from order.

Even with the pros comes the cons, though, with Amazon’s growth looking to threaten courier services and the shipping industry. It is predicted that Amazon will eventually have a global shipping operation which will be capable of moving goods directly from factories overseas using drones and automatic vehicles.

Using drones safely and creatively

Stepping aside from any misuse of UAVs and also their burgeoning application in retail markets, these ‘cameras with wings’ allow us to be more creative than ever when it comes to photography.

Using this technology for artistic reasons means more and more businesses are benefitting from the stunning results that are simply not possible from traditional aerial capture – such as helicopters.

At Hideaway Studios Group, we are fully trained and insured to operate the most advanced drones, with UAPQ qualified pilots and permission for aerial work granted by the CAA.

Drones are incredibly useful for many reasons, not only in their recreational uses, but for artistic, scientific and social progress. With the revolution of UAVs only set to accelerate globally, it is important any regulatory kinks are ironed out sooner rather than later.

We are sure to hear much more about drones as the year progresses. And if you need any aerial photography work completing, or would like to find out more about the wide range of integrated services we offer, please get in touch with our team.

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