No doubt this will continue to be a subject matter that sparks hot debate.
Drone use has exploded over the past 12-18 months. In early 2015 there were reported incidents of drones buzzing around Rush Limbaugh’s home. A month earlier, security at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club reported that a drone cruised overhead shooting video that later appeared on YouTube.
Obviously, privacy and safety are the main concerns for city officials and Palm Beach government. An ordinance was placed on drones in 2015. In January, the ordinance was put on hold as officials reviewed the Federal Guidelines. The ordinance is scheduled for a second reading this upcoming Tuesday.
The rules and regulations for drone usage are badly outdated. It seems that modern lawmakers were unable to keep up with the booming technology of drones. As the popularity of drones continues to soar, town officials are regularly peppered with requests for permission to fly them for commercial purposes. This could include real estate agents using drones to showcase properties, restaurant owners or even wedding photographers.
“Technology moves so quickly these days,” said councilwoman Danielle Moore, who served on the committee that recommended the new ordinance. “Part of our job is to protect residents from intrusions of our privacy.”
The new ordinance is meant to help with the privacy issues. Under the new ordinance, drones can be used by hobbyists on the property of the resident. Public safety officers are given special permission to use the drones as long as they have a warrant or an immediate need for fire rescue, ocean rescue and with the director of public safety’s approval. The ordinance also lays out rules for drone usage with a permit for educational, environmental and commercial purposes.
Drones are Only Getting More Popular
The projections for drone sales are staggering. By 2020, it is expected that there will be 4.3 million drones flying in public airspace. This comes directly from a report done by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Business sales are predicted to more than quadruple from 600,000 drones to 2.7 million. The FAA has promised to issue updated regulations for light commercial use later this year.
People are finding more and more creative uses for drones. All over the world, we are even seeing competitive drone races being televised and live streamed over the internet. It is only a matter of time before this because more of a mainstream “sport.” I imagine we will even see drone battles in the future.
Check out this amazing footage below.
The Dangers of Drone Use. Is It Really a Threat?
But drones also can be hacked, as a recent Johns Hopkins University study found, or used by terrorists or criminals.
Users’ knowledge of how to operate drones safely and legally hasn’t caught up with the devices’ popularity, Holmgren said.
A common mistake is buying cheap drones that employ Wi-Fi communications and using them in densely populated areas. “There are only 11 channels in the Wi-Fi band,” Holmgren said. “If you’re the 11th person, you’re almost guaranteed to lose control.”
Drones have opened up a thriving market in aerial photography. About 70 percent of the Boca Raton-based Aerial Image Pros’ work is done with drones, owner Nicole Maples said. Many of its clients are Realtors.
Drones can capture aerial views at a fraction of the cost of helicopters and airplanes, said real estate broker Bill Yahn, who heads the Corcoran Group’s South Florida region. They’re especially useful for showing large properties’ scope and proximity to the water.
But Yahn discourages his agents from using them. “They almost always annoy the neighbors,” he said. “I don’t want my brand associated with something that irritates potential clients.”
At least four of the drone incidents reported to Palm Beach police involved real estate photography.
The Future of Drones in Boca Raton
Stay tuned for up to date reports on the results of tomorrow’s review on the ordinance.
All things considering, this is a very important ordinance that people should be taking seriously. In just a matter of years, we have seen drones go from a fascinating gadget to a daily part of our lives. Drones have many practical uses and hopefully, we can write adequate legislation to make the best of this exciting tool.