When in 2013 a drone landed on the stage during a talk by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the incident ended up being little more than an anecdote. But since then the number of such cases and crimes recorded using such devices has increased, many of which have received media attention: in 2014, a drone flew over seven French nuclear power plants; in April 2015, a drone landed in the office of the Japanese Prime Minister; in October 2015, a drone exploded near the Washington Monument, and last July, a Lufthansa plane with 108 passengers on board had to modify its route to avoid hitting a drone.
2015 was the year when statistics revealed a notable increase in the use of drones in many European countries and especially the United States, where 28 of a total of 241 reports were made related to drones which involved pilots having to make manoeuvres to avoid a crash.
The case of the UK illustrates this increase. The Thames Valley Police recorded an increase of 21 incidents in 2014 and of 80 in 2015; London’s Metropolitan Police, one more case in 2014 and 21 in 2015, and the Greater Manchester Police, the first 58 incidents in 2015. According to Scotland Yard, some of the drone-related crimes in the country include sexual crimes and transporting drugs to a prison.
This has led to several countries such as Spain, France, Germany and the UK itself, to intensify laws regulating the use of drones, controlling distances for safety purposes and controlling the permitted weight and altitude.
Other measures, in the case of the United States, have included an agreement signed in September 2015 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the company California Analysis Center, Inc. (CACI) to develop technology which facilitates the monitoring of the connection between a drone and the person operating it. The very FAA says that it receives approximately 100 complaints monthly from pilots who see devoices flying near airports and in air space where the presence of drones is prohibited.
In an effort to foresee risks and combat possible incidents, the Netherlands police force has published a video with the collaboration of the company Guard From Above, in which birds of prey intercept drones, a procedure regarded as one of the possible mechanisms to control threats.
• For further information about the FAA agreement CACI you can consult the official statement.
• You can consult the 2005 Report of London’s Metropolitan Police related to drones.
• If you would like further information about the company which offers a training service for birds to be able to catch drones, Guard From Above, you can visit its webpage.