We reported on drone safety in previous editions, but technology in this area is developing so rapidly we wanted to keep you up-to-date.
Last November saw a world-first in New Zealand, where Dominos delivered their first pizza by drone. It was a Peri-Peri Chicken Pizza.
This year at the recent Avalon Air Show, a whole section dedicated to remotely piloted aircraft.
Some of the new advanced commercial drones are being fitted with ADS-B receivers to provide the operator with real-time information about the position, altitude and speed of any nearby aircraft equipped with ADS-B transmitters, which are carried by virtually all commercial aircraft in Australia. Innovations like this, when made available on all drones, will greatly improve air safety by helping to maintain separation between manned (normal aircraft) and unmanned aircraft (drones).
NSW Westpac Rescue to use drones
In NSW, the Westpac Rescue service has just graduated the first group of drone pilots who will:
- Direct rescue drones to people with lifesaving devices;
- Spot sharks; and
- Deliver messages to people who may be drifting into hazardous areas.
If that is not enough, the Minister of Transport in Dubai recently announced they will commence a trial pilotless drone taxis from July this year.
Dubai to start pilotless drone taxis this year
The Dubai drone taxis will have a load capacity of 100kg (eg one adult with some light luggage) and a range of 30km. They will travel at 100km per hour. The Dubai Minister believes 25 percent of all journeys are expected to be driverless and pilotless by 2030.
Locally, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has also been busy - issuing fines for people who have operated drones in contravention of the drone laws.
CASA prosecuting careless drone operators every month
CASA prosecuted 16 people last year and has fined four people this year already including; $2,000 fine for a commercial operator for crashing his drone on farmland and starting bushfire. You better have good drone liability insurance if you start an expensive bushfire.
You need good insurance if you fly drones
A private drone operator in Melbourne CBD area crashed his drone onto the top of the Eureka Tower. He was fined $1,080.
Commercial drone use is doubling each year, and no one knows the number of recreational drones now being flown.