Can drones truly be controlled with new UK regulations?
Drones that weigh over 250g will be subject to the new rules, and owners must prove that they understand the regulations. This should lead to far less near-misses with aircrafts and court cases of people damaging machines that encroach onto their property.
Drones have the ability to deliver anything – including dangerous or illegal items – utilising the freedom of uncontrolled airspace, and the government is now cracking down in an effort to protect the public.
Colin Bull, Principle Consultant on Manufacturing and Product Development at SQS, states that while this announcement may be welcome, drones are still at risk of falling into the wrong hands. He offered Business Review Europe the following expert comment:
“We certainly welcome the government’s announcement that drone owners must register their devices in a bid to ensure public safety. But this does not go far enough to control the use of these flying machines. As with all connected technology, drones are at risk of falling into the wrong hands.
“Putting it bluntly, these devices have the potential to be a flying payload and spying systems with the ability to deliver anything (including incendiary devices or grenades) into uncontrolled airspace or areas in the way that only Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) have been able to do in the past.
“The government is planning to expand the use of geofencing to protect airspace around critical infrastructure, prisons, and major sporting and music events. But this is just a virtual barrier which is only as good as the software that employs it, a determined cybercriminal could override this technology if the correct security and protection of the software is not implemented.
“One step drone manufacturers and governments must take is to ensure software programming and quality is considered more seriously in the development phase of a drone. It is essential for the government to implement regulations and the standardisation of the radio frequencies drones operate on before these devices become more widespread.
“Doing so ultimately makes it easier for security teams to jam and stop suspect drones from entering uncontrolled airspace and better control drone use. By ensuring strict regulations are in place the use, or misuse, of drones can be better controlled.
“Ultimately, drones must be embraced and feared in equal measure. They might have the potential to save lives, which has been demonstrated by defibrillator drones or be used by businesses to increase efficiency, such as for deliveries, but on closer inspection, the lack of security and regulation surrounding them is terrifying.”