Drones won't fly

I see all this media hype about Amazon, and now Google, investigating using drones to deliver packages to replace the traditional courier vans, motor cycles etc. I just don't see that this idea or the unrestricted use of drones is going to fly. - not with current technology anyway. There is no way governments are going to let any Tom. Dick or Harry or kid acquire a drone and fly it anywhere they please for the following reasons:

  1. Drones, like any other machinery, will be prone to failure – electro-magnetic interference with communication systems and deliberate jamming, fuel/battery and engine failures, bird strikes, flying into obstacles, flying into each other and being shot at by irate property owners, vandals or bad guys after the parcel. A drone hitting a person or a car could cause serious accidents, injury and death.

  1. Noise pollution: any propellers or propulsion system creates noise so residents are going to object.

  1. Privacy and security: who is going to allow anyone to just fly a drone over their property, whether a peeping Tom or a criminal, checking the security and if people are at home?

Imaging how long a low flying drone with a big fat parcel underneath is going to last flying over any populated up area in South Africa.

Of course drones have very import role to play in search and rescue, mercy missions, military/police surveillance and for certain economic activities like farming (monitoring stock, checking crops, etc.) but flying around the suburbs delivering parcels? As I said, not with any existing technology, and it is going to take decades to be able to develop systems that overcome the drawbacks I identified. In the meantime you will see many governments introducing regulations to restrict their use.

Am I being realistic or am I a Luddite?

Ratfink66 2014/08/29 01:08:24 PM
Gotta start small... App on the Smart Phone - Beer Please! The app orders and pays for the beer. The drone locates the phone via GPS. Stay seated in the beer garden and viola - beer via drone.
Siebert Mazus 2014/08/29 01:12:50 PM
Atheitis writes: -Drones, like any other machinery, will be prone to failure - They sure do, but look at the alternatives. Humans do have a tendency to be very prone to failure in doing their jobs. Just like drones not doing what they are programmed for. Drones don't take sick leave or maternity leave or paternity leave or religious holiday leave or compassionate leave or normal leave or anything else such as that. Drones don't demand money to send their kids to Uni. Drones also don't strike. And, when drones get old, nobody has to pay them pensions.
Kwaaitjie Kabouter 2014/08/29 01:14:12 PM
Some drones, especially the so-called quad copters make a little more noise than a cooling fan. It has range limitations though. They are apparently outlawed for commercial use in SA, especially affecting news media with their cameras. I do not foresee that privacy may be such an issue if they are just flying over, but filming a private or business premises will be a problem. The reason for the current commercial ban of drones in SA, including smaller drones like quad copters, is definitely as a result of the absence of any regulations in regard thereto. I am not even talking about smaller (micro) domes, the size of insects that are being used by agencies such as the CIA. I can see no pressing reason for the commercial use of such drones. But, let's agree, we are living in exciting times. I just love and marvel at the technology and gadgets that hit the markets virtually every day.
Rammsteen 2014/08/29 01:19:17 PM
I'd say you're being realistic. I mean, can you just imagine handing the bulk of SA's road users a personal, unmanned flying machine to handle? There where there is no road, up in the sky? We'd all have to walk around with hard hats and safety boots - all the time!
TygerQB 2014/08/29 01:28:17 PM
Lol they gonna be shot down and stuff stolen for sure. But it can still be a very effective thing in the first world countries. Remains to be seen what happens with them.
Clive Pops 2014/08/29 01:41:19 PM
"Imaging how long a low flying drone with a big fat parcel underneath is going to last flying over any populated up area in South Africa." That's legend!:-)
Bruce Wilson 2014/08/29 01:52:12 PM
news 24.com/Africa / News / Swazi-broomstick-flying-witches-to-fly-low-2013051 These drones had better stay away from Swazi air space! (Presumably it's safer to stay in the apiary. LOL) ..
Reality 2014/08/29 03:23:48 PM
You could probably use a drone, add some c4, a detonator and small cellphone and some gadgetry and voila..you have a remote controlled bomb.
James Smythe 2014/08/29 04:26:51 PM
Realistic. Right now our CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) is mulling over new rules (since none exist at present to regulate the use of these machines) to accommodate drones in our skies and they have in the meantime effectively banned their use!