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United Kingdom Government Transportation

UK To Require Drone Registration And Safety Exams (bloomberg.com) 97

An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: Drones will have to be registered and their users required to pass safety tests under new rules to be announced by the U.K.'s Department for Transport... Registration will be mandated for owners of drones 250 grams (8.8 ounces) or larger after research found that drones as small as 400 grams (14 ounces) could damage the windscreens of helicopters. Other security measures like "geo-fencing" -- GPS-based technology programmed into drones to prevent them from flying into sensitive areas such as prisons and airports -- are also under consideration, according to a statement from the department.
The BBC points out that "There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced and the Department of Transport admitted that 'the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out.'"

"The UK government says 22 incidents involving commercial airliners and drones were investigated between January and April of this year," adds TechRadar, "with police unable to trace the owners of the drones -- one of the reasons for the new legislation."
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UK To Require Drone Registration And Safety Exams

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  • Be careful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Mandatory registration is usually the first step toward criminalization.

    • Re:Be careful (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @02:49PM (#54863137) Homepage

      Mandatory registration is usually the first step toward criminalization.

      Eh? We do registration and licencing for cars/driving, and there's a fairly clear parallel here. Unless you think driving licences are an unacceptable curtailment of your freedom, I can't get worked up about this. There's plenty of terrible things that the government are doing to rile against, this isn't one.

      • Agreed. If anything, this change is well overdue. Unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that a significant number of people buying drones don't know the legal rules for operating them and are doing so in ways that are dangerous, invade people's privacy, etc.

        Given that there have already been multiple near-miss incidents close to major airports, for example, it's obvious that we've basically just been lucky so far, and the consequences when that luck runs out will be very bad.

        • Given that there have already been multiple near-miss incidents close to major airports, for example, it's obvious that we've basically just been lucky so far, and the consequences when that luck runs out will be very bad.

          While I agree that licensing of drone pilots is a Good Thing, let's not get carried away. The risk to the airspace from consumer level drones is real, in reality pretty modest and certainly not to the point of 'multiple near-miss incidents close to major airports'. The actual number of real UAV incursions into the airspace is pretty low. There are lots of 'sightings' and 'incidents' which typically are ludicrous on their face (altitude 10000 feet, 4 foot diameter object, speeds over 100 mph) or just repo

        • On the other hand....

          It is NICE that in the US, the courts rejected the FAA's authority to require registration of non-commercial drones in the US recently.

          I just got my DJI Spark to start learning, and I don't have to bother registering it...quite nice.

      • We do registration and licencing for cars/driving

        No registration or license is needed to own or drive a car. These are only needed for use on public roads.

      • by MercTech ( 46455 )

        Hobby drones do not have to be registered. Hobby drones have limits on weight, payload capacity, cannot be flown over another person's property without permission, and are not allowed to be flown in public areas where people congregate or out of sight of the operator. Hobby drones may not be used for commercial purposes. See https://www.faa.gov/uas/ for actual regulations and training requirements.

        Any drone that you want to operate out of sight of the operator, carry a decent payload, actually be useful;

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Step away from the bong, dude. You've had enough already.

      You already have a driver('s) license, and your automobile already has a government issued tag that requires periodic inspection, and you're required to purchase insurance for damage that your vehicle may cause whether you're behind the wheel or not. Aside from the "self-driving cars are going to take our freedomz!" nut-jobs, nobody's claiming that they're going to criminalize driving. (When level 5 self-driving cars are mainstream, it'll just cost yo

      • Step away from the bong, dude. Drones are a legitimate threat to public safety.

        B.S. The word "Drones" is a catch-all word that can mean anything from a nano-quadcopter the size of a beer coaster to a 5-foot octocopter big enough to lift a person. It also refers to autonomous fixed-wing aircraft. Just because someone labels something a Drone doesn't make it dangerous.

        A multi-rotor helicopter that weighs 8 oz is no more dangerous than a Frisbee.

        ---

        • A multi-rotor helicopter that weighs 8 oz is no more dangerous than a Frisbee.

          That's bullshit. Frisbees don't start fires when crashed into brush in a mode that keeps the rotors spinning. They also don't tend to be able to take out an eye.

          • Go find an 8oz multi-copter and look at it. The battery is about the size of a stick of gum. The props are usually behind a bumper and made of soft plastic. If a prop is obstructed, it just draws more current until the battery is exhausted. It doesn't cause it to burst into flames.

            Frankly I would be more worried about being hit with a kite than a mini multi-copter.

            ---
            • Frankly I would be more worried about being hit with a kite than a mini multi-copter.

              I would as well, except that kites are quite predictable.

              There's still lots of little bitty quads with exposed props.

              I didn't say it was a serious danger, but they're still more potentially dangerous than a frisbee.

              It only takes a teeny tiny little battery to catch a bunch of plastic on fire.

        • ...and the proposed regulations only target flying vehicles over 250grams.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Mandatory registration is usually the first step toward criminalization.

      Like cars, for example.

      Oh, wait.

  • It's only for the Brits, because they drive on the left.
    • It's only for the Brits, because they drive on the left.

      No it's not. Similar measures are being proposed to be implemented in Portugal [rr.sapo.pt]. And I reckon more countries will follow suit, soon.

      • Well if people weren't idiots when flying them then we wouldn't need to have to get registered and have laws in place. Governments are almost always reactive. They are writing these laws because people are flying drones into the flightpaths of planes (which even if it doesn't cause harm to the plane it causes the pilots to react), using drones to deliver contraband into prison areas, and generally fly them into areas where they shouldn't.

        There are plenty of people that are using them responsibly. However en

    • by donaldm ( 919619 )

      It's only for the Brits, because they drive on the left.

      Go to countries like India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tialand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand just to name a few and they all drive on the left. I suppose the question to ask is why do you drive on the right?

      • just to name a few

        That's mostly it, actually :-) List [rhinocarhire.com]

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        Anyone driving on the right is doing so at the behest of Maximilien Robespierre. Well it is a product of the French Revolution where peasants walked on the right and the aristocrats drove their coaches on the left (you always walk on the opposite to the vehicular traffic). As such driving on the left was a quick way to get yourself identified as an aristocrat and your head chopped off. This convention was then spread by Napoleon. The British Isles, and much of the empire spared this tyranny kept to the lef

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If drone flyers had acted responsible, this would not be necessary.

    They didn't, and now it is [arstechnica.com]. Do not complain droners [arstechnica.com], you made your own bed [telegraph.co.uk] to sleep in.

  • because last drone scare turned out to be one.

  • Casey Neistat did a video review [youtube.com] of the DJI Spark drone [amzn.to]. Unfortunately, he can't fly it in New York City since he's under investigation by the FAA [youtube.com]. I guess NYC is a no fly zone with the Trumps out of town.
    • The FAA decided that Casey had no case to answer because (apparently) the YouTube videos were insufficient evidence to conclusively prove he broke the regulations. I have a feeling however, that if he wasn't a big-name YouTuber and well connected politically, the FAA may have formulated a slightly different position.

      • The FAA decided that Casey had no case to answer because (apparently) the YouTube videos were insufficient evidence to conclusively prove he broke the regulations.

        I wasn't aware that there was a resolution by the FAA. Casey is still filming his drone shots outside of NYC.

  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @03:01PM (#54863179)
    AKA "toy RC aircraft".
    Why was this not required before?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because in the past, before stabilization controllers became cheap and common place, it took a great deal of skill to fly an RC aircraft.

      It cost hundreds of dollars for a machine capable of flying anywhere near high enough to bother anyone or anything. Unless you were a skilled pilot or in some sort of club with a simulator, you would probably wreck one before even getting it off the ground. Thus breaking your hundred dollar toy in seconds.

      Thus the only, small number of people capable of flying RC planes we

    • Because they behaved better.

    • Re:"drones" (Score:5, Interesting)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Sunday July 23, 2017 @03:40PM (#54863289) Journal

      Why was this not required before?

      Most legislatures don't sit around thinking up new laws in a vacuum, they are on the whole pretty reactive not proactive.

      So, essentially the advent of cheap, high capacity, high power li-po batteries for the power supply, high strength neodynium magnets and amazing MOSFETS for power control, remarkably good, cheap 9 axis IMU chips (3mm by 3mm) and cheap 2.4GHz radio comms have made making plug-and-play drones viable. CPU power hasn't had much to do with it, you can run the control loops on a couple of ATMegas.

      But the point is these things are (a) very cheap and (b) fly themselves for everything but direction (even that if they also have GPS).

      Previously, RC planes were (and still are) much, much more expensive, much more specialist bits of kit. They required many many months of dedication, lots of money, and nice big wide open spaces and the sort of user community of knowledgeable people who would tell you how to get going. Helicopters were that times about 20. Phenomenally hard to fly, experts only.

      Now any idiot can go to maplin, buy a drone and be flying it where they want in the time taken to unbox it and charge the batteries. So, it's gone from "expert only" to "any idiot can do it" and so many idiots are doing it.

      Previously the RC aircraft community was very small and very well behaved. Now it is large, and with enough ill behaviour that it's attracted the notice of the MPs.

      Kinda means the system works.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      AKA "toy RC aircraft".
      Why was this not required before?

      Numbers and capabilities.

      Previously, powered RC aircraft ownership was significantly smaller and most toys were not powerful enough to be used at heigts and ranges where they could be a problem for commercial air traffic. RC aircraft that were large and powerful enough to present an issue to commercial aviation used to be extremerly expensive and/or a lot of effort to construct, this limited them to a small number of enthusiasts.

      The capabilities you find in a modern sub US$1000 drone used to cost the

  • This is like getting a driver's license. Just add a three point turn to the test. That will cut down the number of users.

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