Menu
The good and the ugly about drones

The good and the ugly about drones

Both facets of the technology were on display over the weekend

Langley’s SR-22 unmanned aircraft system

Langley’s SR-22 unmanned aircraft system

Both the good and bad sides of drones were on display over the weekend in the US, with a drone delivering medical supplies to a remote area in Wise, Virginia, even as some other drones were obstructing the fighting of a wildfire in far away California to apparently shoot videos.

The delivery drone from Australian startup Flirtey made the first authorized delivery in the country on Friday, transporting 24 medical packages to patients in Wise County. The Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at the Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, which is an approved drone test location of the Federal Aviation Administration, oversaw the research flight. See video.

Earlier, a fixed-wing aircraft, operated remotely by pilots from NASA Langley Research Center, was to deliver medical supplies to Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise, which would then be transferred in small packages by the Flirtey drone.

In startling contrast, InciWeb, an interagency all-risk incident information management system, reported Sunday that a drone had obstructed fire fighting work after a fire over the weekend in San Bernardino County.

A drone, also referred to as an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), halted tanker operations for about 25 minutes on Friday afternoon, according to an update on InciWeb. It added that incident commanders have no choice but to suspend air operations and ground aircraft until a hobby drone that flies into a fire area is removed, to avoid damage to aircraft, and injuries to crew and ground fighters from collisions.

As hobby drones have become more popular, firefighters have seen an increase in drones interfering with firefighting operations, InciWeb said. Drone operators, flying in the area, could face criminal charges as a temporary flight restriction of the FAA kicks in for most wildfires.

The "North Fire" destroyed 20 vehicles and damaged 10 more on Interstate 15, after the fire jumped over the highway.

There were five drones in the area, presumably taking close-up videos of the fire, CNN reported.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department tweeted at one point that firefighting aircraft had been grounded due to drone activity in the area.

The FAA has previously issued guidelines for people flying UAS as hobbyists and for recreational purposes, including the requirement that the drone should not be flown recklessly and endanger people or other aircraft. The rules on model aircraft also require that the UAS, weighing 55 pounds (25 kilograms) at the maximum, should be flown below 400 feet (about 122 meters), within visual sight of the operator, and 5 miles (8 kilometers) away from airports.

The FAA launched a "Know Before You Fly" campaign to advise users on the safe and responsible use of drones, in tandem with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition.

The agency is also approaching the issue of commercial use of drones with some trepidation because of safety and other issues involved. It has proposed rules, which would possibly allow programs like those of Amazon.com for the commercial delivery of packages by drones to take off. But the drones would operate under restrictions such as a maximum weight of 55 pounds, and rules that limit flights to daylight and visual line-of-sight operations. For now, the agency has provided exemptions, including for research, under strict conditions to some companies.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceVirginia TechFederal Aviation AdministrationFlirtey

Brand Post

What to expect from your IT Distributor

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been around since before the dot com rollercoaster, choosing the right distribution partner can be a pivotal factor in your success. This definitive guide outlines the traits that every IT partner needs to look for in their IT Distributor.

Featured

Slideshows

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 500 technology leaders in Auckland on 21 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards
Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments