Driving licence for DRONES supported by majority of Brits, while 1 in 5 call for total ban
Nearly three-quarters of Brits think that flying a drone should require an airborne equivalent of the driving licence.
The study, commissioned by UK tech firm Nominet, also found that 17% of the British public think drones shouldn’t be sold to the general public at all.
A drone licence could be introduced as soon as this year thanks to new Government legislation
More than 2,000 British adults – including 500 drone owners – were surveyed by Opinium, revealing that everyday Brits are very worried about the growing use of drones.
The vast majority of people who responded to the survey supported a crackdown on drones, with 92% saying there should be restrictions on who can own one.
This included restricting ownership for people with criminal records, poor eyesight, and anyone who lives in a built-up area.
There was also lots of support for a central drone database, with 37% of those surveyed saying that the Government should set up a body to manage drone ownership – and possible licensing.
Over half of drone owners admitted to crashing their device
Nominet’s Russell Haworth said: “What’s needed is a centralised database and flight path mapping tools that allows these drones to communicate with each other.”
“That way, accidents are less likely to happen, as collision avoidance systems would take over in the event of an emergency.”
The study revealed dangerous trends among drone owners too, with more than a quarter admitting they didn’t know the maximum range of their device.
Over half of the drone owners surveyed also revealed that they had crashed their drone.
The UK Government plans to crack down on rogue drone owners in an upcoming bill
And two-thirds of drone enthusiasts said they had filmed a person or place without permission.
The UK government is currently working on a draft Drone Bill that will introduce sweeping laws that affect how you can use drones.
The bill, which is due to be published in spring, will give police wider powers, including the ability to have drones grounded.
The National Police Chiefs’ Serena Kennedy said: “We are working with all relevant partners to understand the threats that this new technology can pose when used irresponsibly or illegally.”
“Do not take this lightly – if you use a drone to invade people’s privacy or engage in disruptive behaviour, you could face serious criminal charges.”
The bill is expected to force drone owners to sit safety awareness tests, and lead to a central registration database for anyone who has a drone that weighs more than 250 grams.
But Nominet’s Haworth says that if the Government can tackle the dodgy side of drones, there’s a great opportunity to improve life for everyone.
Drone users may have to take tests in the future, and join a centralised owner register
“At the moment, drones are largely extravagant toys, but the reality is that they have the potential to revolutionise many aspects of our lives.”
“For example, they could speed up deliveries and provide the emergency services with a fast way to check the safety of a situation remotely.”
“The speed and versatility of drones means they can be deployed with ease, and many are small enough to be unobtrusive.”
The Sun also spoke to Christian Struwe, who heads up European Public Policy at drone-maker giant DJI. Struwe said: “As with any emerging technology, we understand that there is still education to be done on the safe use of drones – not least to pilots.