Drones are one of the most innovative inventions of the 21st century. Technology that was previously only available to military firms and the super-rich are now sold in most high street stores and online for a fraction of their previous cost. Anyone with a bit of spare cash and time can now grab themselves a drone and take it for a spin.
And people have been finding increasingly creative uses for drones. Filmmakers have ventured to new heights with their drones, capturing scenic landscapes and previously inaccessible vistas. Certain jobs have been made easier, such as mapping or search and rescue due to the versatility of drones.
But drones are not without their own issues. When a product such as this becomes so widely available, with so many uses attached to it, the laws surrounding them are murky at best. With no concrete rules in place for when and where drones can be used, there have been many cases of confusion and disarray caused by drones.
And because of this, a lot of organizations and public groups have banded together to demand stricter drone control laws. But there is one company no one expected to throw their hat into the ring. And that is Amazon.
The Drone Fleet
Amazon has been the butt of a lot of jokes and memes in recent years due to its new drone initiative. An entire fleet of drones designed to deliver amazon packages the same day. Many people have compared this to 1984, saying it is a small step from this to total drone control over everyone.
Amazon also stands to benefit more than any other company from loose drone control. So why are they one of the biggest companies petitioning for stricter drone control?
There are a number of key reasons. Of course, we know nothing for certain. When it comes to a cooperate giant like Amazon, you can never be truly sure of their motives without being in the inner circles.
The first reason, as far as we can guess, is to eliminate the competition. Stricter drone laws would make it more difficult for smaller companies or rising competitors to create their own fleet of drones. A feat amazon has already completed.
In unison with this idea, Amazon has an incredible legal team at its disposal. Any legislation or red-tape that will be put on drones will easily be handled by their legal department making it all too easy for them to continue on with their plans while staying a step ahead of the competition.
The second biggest factor in Amazon’s petitioning for legislation change, we believe, is security. If anyone is allowed to own and fly a drone wherever they like, they could easily target Amazon drones and knock them out of the sky. Parcel theft is already a huge problem in the USA, and being able to get them before delivery would be crippling for amazon. So tighter drone legislation would help them secure their drones.
In recent years we have seen many incidents of drones causing disruption to public services. We saw Heathrow brought to a standstill on multiple occasions due to a drone flying too close to the runways. A prime example of how much chaos these seemingly simple devices can cause.
And there are hundreds of instances of small cases as well. People attacking neighbors or shooting down drones that fly over their property. Since it is too easy to attach cameras to the foldable selfie drones, they can easily be used as spying devices by people with less than savory motivations. And this has instilled a great sense of paranoia into the general public.
Conspiracy theories pop up all the time. Any new technology always generates a buzz on the conspiracy blogs and in the minds of those a bit more suspicious of the world. And drones are no exception.
The Amazon drone fleet has been the target of a number of these theories. Some saying they are actually designed as policing drones, able to track and monitor people wherever they are. Others have said every drone camera on the planet is being fed to the government.
Outlandish theories, but it still shows just how powerful this drone craze is.
So what does Amazon want doing in terms of legislation? The main point they are petitioning for is better control over air space traffic. As it stands the altitude at which drones fly isn’t very well regulated, unlike the altitudes conventional planes fly at. Amazon wants there to be a similar system in place, with matching air traffic control organizations, to make sure the skies are regulated in terms of drones.
Secondly, they want to make sure all drones have digital tags that can be scanned and read remotely. These tags will function as a license plate, meaning every drone in the sky can be traced back to its owner with ease. This will stop air assaults on their own drone fleet and also correct a lot of the current issues surrounding spying and air disruption caused by drones.
While we are unsure about Amazon’s motives for stricter drone laws, we have to commend them. Everything they are petitioning for seems to be a smart move and the correct next step in the drone revolution. As drone tech improves we must balance and check them to make sure everything stays above board.