The biggest debate surrounding personal drones is in regards to safety and security. While drones are often touted by government agencies as a security measure, civilians often voice concerns over privacy issues. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, security is and will always be a concern with drones.
“That is certainly a serious concern and it is something that I am concerned about,” FAA head Michael Huerta said last winter. “That’s why we are very focused on education. That’s why we’re also focused on enforcement. We’ve enforced hundreds of these cases where we have seen someone operating one of these things carelessly and recklessly and posing the danger to aircraft, and that can’t happen.”
Following their appearance on the commercial market, the FAA reported airplane pilots have seen as many as 25 cases per month of drones doing what they shouldn’t, i.e. flying above the 400-foot limit. Drones have even been reported to fly some 2,000 feet on the ground.
“(A) big part of what we’re doing is educating people,” Huerta said. “These are very high performance aircraft, and they are difficult to see and this is one of the big challenges, and so that’s why the rules require that people stay away from airports. We have been working with the Model Aeronautics Association, with the model community and clubs so we can educate people because these are not your typical pilots that may be flying one of these for the first time and they may be unfamiliar with the rules.”
Huerta added that the FAA is currently working to strike a balance between surveillance and commercialism in regards to quadcopter use. The administration is hoping to provide a comprehensive list of drone regulations by next summer, though how regulations will affect drone use in terms of safety and security is still anyone’s guess.