Drones, or more correctly Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), can refer to small hobby remote-controlled planes for taking photographs as well as autonomous aircraft that use GPS and follow a pre-programmed flight plan for military surveillance or as a robot flying bomb.
I want to concentrate on the first group, the ones that look like a cross between a science fiction flying bug and a helicopter with a camera underneath.
(Ed. that’s essentially what they are!)
If you believed all the press you might imagine that the sky would be black with hovering, parcel-delivering, photographing, life-endangering drones. Well it’s not, but they are definitely a big thing, and worth a little explanation and a word of caution.
The legal stuff
To fly drones for commercial gain – however loosely that is interpreted – you need to be CAA-approved in the UK and have the necessary training, operating manual, qualifications, insurance and flying hours, effectively you need to be a pilot and an airline!
Recreational use is so new as a large-scale hobby that rules are still evolving in each jurisdiction to protect the privacy & safety of everyone concerned, normally as a special dispensation of the guidelines that apply to small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS).
For example, in the UK, your drone has to weigh less than 20KG, you must be in control and in sight at all times, and not be within 150 meters of a congested area or 50 meters of a person or structure.
The fun stuff
As with most things in life and technology use your common sense and try to have fun without hurting others.
Your pictures and video could be spectacular!
Postscript. This is the first of a series of IT shorts, shorter simple explanations of IT topics and terms. I hope you found it useful?
Please let the staff at the IT elementary school know if you want anything specific covered here. We are always happy to help and take special requests!
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