Drones, if you haven't noticed, are one of the hottest categories of consumer electronics productstoday. They're also one of the most controversial. Just in the last couple of months, a quick Google search reminded me, the following (and probably more) has happened:
- An out-of-control drone crashed into a (thankfully) empty section of the stands at the US Open tennis match.
- Another one nearly interfered with a Southwest Airlines flight on final approach at Dallas' Love Field.
- Several others did interfere with (therefore resulting in a costly delay in) fire-fighting operations in southern California.
- One crashed uncomfortably near the White House, thereby representing “the ninth time a drone has been flown in a national park in the greater Washington area in 2015 and the 26th since 2013.”
- An over-protective Dad used one to follow his daughter to school.
- Another over-protective Dad shot one down that he claimed was spying on his sunbathing daughter, and later had his actions sanctioned by a judge, in spite of telemetry and other data that the drone operator claimed vindicated him.
- Yet another neighborhood drone dispute involved the only-slightly-paranoid belief in surreptitious CIA surveillance.
- And most recently, a drone got tangled in overhead power lines, knocking out service to hundreds of Hollywood residents and businesses for several hours.
It's gotten so bad that California's governor recently had to veto several state bills that attempted to aggressively regulate hobbyist drone flight. Meanwhile, the FAA has named a 25-member task force chartered with coming up with drone registration and other regulation recommendations, and whose activities are also being closely watched by the DOT.
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