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AZ Tech Beat | May 23, 2019

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How drones are creating a buzz with the FAA and pissing off your neighbor

How drones are creating a buzz with the FAA and pissing off your neighbor
Carlene Reyes

There have been many exciting developments in uses with drone technologies. These buzzing UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) could change the way we seek out missing persons and deliver goods, for example, but on the other end of these uses, comes concerns for safety and privacy.

Just this week, The National Park Service (NPS) has banned the use of drones across its network of 401 parks in the United States. Which means if you planned on taking your drone to the Grand Canyon, forget it and leave it at home. UAVs can be used to get a better look at these breathtaking landscapes, but some parks like the Grand Canyon have reported noise disturbances. California’s Yosemite National Park, among several others, had already banned them several months ago. According to NPS’s official website, drones are noisy and disrupt the wildlife as well as the visitor experience.

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Drones are being used to capture landscapes from a different perspective, like this haboob in Arizona. Photo credit: Images courtesy of U of A Communications & flycamera.ca

 

The national ban is temporary, however, until more research is done to set official regulations.

In New York earlier this week, a drone had a close encounter with an NYPD helicopter over the George Washington Bridge. The helicopter was forced to swerve to avoid crashing with the UAV. The two men who were flying the drone only for fun, and described it as just a toy, were arrested. A source used in the report by the New York Post pointed out that drones may only weigh several pounds, but so do birds which have always been a risk to aircrafts. Take for instance the Sully Airbus that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River back in 2009.

Another rising problem, people are more concerned about how drones can easily be flown over private property and and become a major invasion of their privacy. Detection technology is even being made to alert people when drones are nearby.

flying drone with camera on the sky

For example, a startup called Domestic Drone Countermeasures from Portland, Oregon have created what could be  “the first low cost, credible drone detection system to your home or office.” Their product, The Personal Drone Detection System, is in its early stages and has a live Kickstarter campaign. Their system is made up of three boxes, creating a “mesh grid network that can triangulate moving transmitters” over WiFi. When the system detects a drone, an alarm will go off or a message would be sent to the owner’s mobile device. Their Kickstarter page says they need more testing in real life scenarios.

With these types of concerns on the rise from the public, there has been an increased push to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create stricter regulations.

Remember that really cool video last week of a drone flying through a fireworks display? According to Forbes.com, the FAA is now looking at multiple similar instances “to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions.”

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According to the same article, hobbyist and recreational use of drones don’t require approval from the FAA. But safety is still the FAA’s top concern so the organization continues to encourage drone users to register their UAVs when flying in U.S. airspace to avoid any potential hazard.

Do you have a drone? The FAA has some resources debunking regulation myths as well as information on how to register with them.

Tell us your take on the use of drones in the comments section below, or tweet us at @AZTechBeat.

Read more of AZ Tech Beat’s coverage of drones click here.

Contributions from New York Post, Forbes and Discovery News

Main image courtesy of Yosemite National Park Facebook page.