IN DEMAND: Remote-controlled drones are “taking off” as popular gifts this year.
IN DEMAND: Remote-controlled drones are “taking off” as popular gifts this year.

Flying robots are here, but are you ready for the future?

Ahead of CeBIT's global technology event to be held in Sydney next week an internationally acclaimed technology futurist has urged business to embrace drone technology.

Founder and CEO of award-analyst firm Market Clarity, Shara Evans says if businesses want to succeed they need to accept the challenge of new technology and think about how drones can work for them.

"UAVs [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles], commonly referred to as drones or flying robots, like many emerging technologies will challenge businesses to think outside the box." She says.

"Industries from emergency services, to environmental science, to video production and surveillance are already using drone technology and have seen a positive effect, depending on what their objectives are."

Ms Evans says the logistics industry have been instrumental in discovering cheaper and more efficient ways of utilising drone technology to a point where operating a flying robot is almost as easy as using a smart phone. But as their popularity grows more questions are being raised.

"Will there be drone delivery highways in the sky? What types of insurance and licensing will be required? Will drones be equipped with black boxes in case something goes wrong? Will drones have to comply with noise guidelines?" Ms Evans said.

Last year the Federal Parliament conducted the 'Eyes in the Sky' report as an inquiry into the regulation of air safety and privacy with drone technology. The report found it difficult to estimate the number of UAVs currently operating in Australia as their sales and imports are unregulated.

Parrot, a consumer drone vendor told the 'Eyes in the Sky' committee they had sold around 500 000 UAVs globally with Australia considered a strong UAV market.

The report acknowledged the benefits of UAVs for emergency services and the interests of private companies, but recommend that the government consider a new tort regarding serious invasion of privacy with the use of drone technology.

Current privacy laws leave drone operators outside the spectrum of legal punishment, but the report recommended the changes be made by July 2015.



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