I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly sick of those much glorified flying ‘drones.’ I went off them in a big way when a few years ago I saw a bunch of hoons deliberately take down a seagull with one in a park. I shamelessly admit I now get a devious thrill whenever I see somebody flying one into power lines, a TV antenna or the branches of a tree.
I am tired of gratuitous drone shots in documentaries and TV news coverage and the idea of competitive drone flying is akin to watching lawn bowls after popping a Mogadon. I am sick of reading about some moron who flies a drone into aviation air space or over a neighbour’s yard to spy on somebody sunbathing topless. And need I mention the sordid history of military-style drone attacks in Iraq, Pakistan and other unfortunate countries.
Whilst I am prepared to acknowledge that drones can be useful in spotting sharks at beaches, assisting in surf rescues and as surveillance following natural and man-made disasters, it’s their use as delivery vehicles that really makes me want to unleash one of those specially trained drone destroying eagles.
The ABC recently reported that “whining drones bringing burritos and coffee are bitterly dividing Canberra residents.” The story involved a company in suburban Bonython offering drone delivery of various fast food items within 10 kilometres of their base. It went on to say that already an action group titled Bonython Against Drones (BAD) had been formed with 500 signatures on a petition urging the noisy, bird dispersing, flying gadgets to be banned.
Home delivery via drones is nothing new as we well know with Amazon and other big merchandisers already adopting the concept in the USA. It exposes a legal minefield of course with the law in most US states still to be updated to cover a myriad of possibilities with the new technology – like drones landing on small children and pets, duck hunters mistakenly shooting them down and remember the massive payout that McDonalds made to 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns when she accidentally spilled hot coffee in her lap. What happens when the backyard sunbather cops a similar piping hot brew when a delivery drone strikes a sudden wind gust?
There are of course many who endorse the idea of having pizzas and Amazon purchases delivered, in some cases in a matter of minutes, to their front yards or apartment balconies. How much people pay for this additional service I’m not sure, but I suppose it beats tipping the local pizza delivery guy – as well as putting him out of a job. In the brave new world, we may well see the kindly folk who distribute ‘Meals On Wheels’ superseded by the non-vocal and mechanically cold-hearted drones.
Whilst it only took a few decades for the internet to be infested with cybercrime, stand by for an explosion of illegal drone based activity. We have already seen drones dropping drugs into high-security prisons and whilst drones were used to locate the fugitive drug kingpin El Chapo, the cartels are now using them to carry out their filthy trade. If a drone can deliver a parcel from Amazon whose to say another ‘robber’ drone won’t be there in minutes to whisk it away.
The possibilities are as limitless as they are foreboding. If angry residents have their say, as they did in Canberra, we could well see specially sanctioned drone free suburbs, patrolled by massive birds of prey and even a crack marksman, ready to consign any noisy interloper to an inglorious descent of gadgetry gone bad.