Blake Dowling: Droning on in Florida

drones
As with any innovation, regulation, and disruption await.

Drones.

They are part of our world now, from commerce to law enforcement.

With that, let’s meet a drone guy in Florida who is on the front lines of this tech and see what they think about all things drones.

But first, have you seen Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One?” It’s a good story; how soon will it be until a Pizza Hut drone drops off my dinner, as shown in the film? That is where the pizza hits the pavement, as they say.

Ready Pizza One.

Well, maybe no one says that.

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To see this tech in action, you may want to head to New Zealand. There, Domino’s is already delivering pizza by drone and robot.

Apparently, Domino’s has an entire robotics division, rivaling anything in Silicon Valley. Crazy.

So, while you can get your pizza in Christchurch, NZ, not so much, says our pals in England.

Too much regulation, says the BBC.

What about the Sunshine State? Good news on that front. The U.S. Department of Transportation has Florida on the list for actual field studies for food delivery — and even pest control (a great idea, by the way).

With all this drone innovation, what do you need to get started as a for-hire droner?

David Young, Founder, Drone Launch Academy.

David Young, a former FBI analyst, is the current owner of Drone Launch Academy in Lakeland. I reached out to Young, to see what kind of technical innovations are taking place.

Basically, he said if you want to do anything with a drone (other than for recreation) you must have a Remote Pilot Certification. And anything regarding a large government agency (Federal Aviation Administration), the red tape is dark red.

Young created the Academy to expedite the paperwork and approval process. Clients range from roof inspectors (yes, drones are used to do inspections), real estate moguls and anything else you can imagine.

“Our company’s mission is to help people safely and profitably use drones for commercial applications.”

I next asked Young about some of the concerns over law enforcement overstepping bounds with drones, privacy issues and similar things.

“The truth is that many law enforcement agencies already conduct aerial surveillance of suspects with helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft,” Young responded. “There have been prior court cases that helped guide what types of aerial surveillance are allowed and which require a search warrant signed by a judge.”

For instance, this would apply when looking somewhere where an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as using a thermal camera to look inside the walls of their home.

More on the Academy at dronelaunchacademy.com.

As for privacy concerns — like snooping on folks — he mentioned that most cameras mounted on drones have very wide lenses with limited zooming functionality.

If you are concerned about peeping drones on the beach or in your yard, they would have to be very close, since drones do not have a stealth mode, unless for military use.

In both Florida and nationwide, we will see drones more and more, and not just in the examples mentioned above: film making, oil and gas exploration, disaster relief, and just about anything else you can think of.

For the news, this drone footage shows some of the devastations we saw in Alabama, Georgia and Florida during the weekend’s tornadoes (courtesy of The Associated Press). Prayers for all affected.

For drones, the sky is the limit. (That is what we in the business call a “drone pun,” ladies and gents. Feel free to applaud.)

As with any innovation, regulation, and disruption await (don’t forget drone insurance).

So buckle up, and one day soon (hopefully) I will hear the magical buzz of the pizza drone heading my way.

___

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at www.aegisbiztech.com



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