Thursday 28 June 2012

Drones-R-Us, now in every toyshop

Fascinating article by Chris Anderson in Wired's Danger Room 'How I accidentally kickstarted the drone boom', which makes the astonishing point that Chinese toy companies showing their wares at the Hobby Expo China in Beijing in May were selling drones with "the same capability as the military ones, sometimes for less than $1,000. These Chinese firms, in turn, are competing with even cheaper drones created by amateurs around the world, who share their designs for free in communities online. It’s safe to say that drones are the first technology in history where the toy industry and hobbyists are beating the military-industrial complex at its own game."
Although not allowed to operate commercially in the USA, the Federal Aviation Agency is planning to allow this to start in 2015.
Anderson says that the DIY Drones online community he founded in 2007 already has 26,000 members who fly drones they either assemble themselves or buy ready-to-fly. He estimates that 1,000 new personal drones take to the skies of America every month. Obviously these are not comparable with the military drones and cannot fire missiles, but in almost every other respect they are similar. Whatever you think about them, there is no turning back. Drones are now part of our society.

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