|This was the drone that crashed on the White House grounds, |
the DJI Phantom, which is apparently one of the more popular
brands and models -- even parodied on South Park.
Oh, how I wish it would turn out to be some cyclist making selfie videos while out for a ride, but considering that the incident happened around 3:00 am, that's probably unlikely. (Though it does beg the question, what the hell was somebody doing with a drone outside the White House at 3:00 am?)
Nevertheless, it seemed like a good way to break into the topic of recreational drones, which are becoming increasingly popular with our self-obsessed culture -- taking selfie videos to a new level. That's something these drones are great at, that is, until they're not. No, it isn't just cyclists who are using them, but if you watch some of the promotional videos from the companies that make them, it's pretty clear that cyclists are one of the prime consumer targets. And if you go do a quick search on the internet for "drone crash" you'll get an idea of what a danger these things pose. Last year, one of these things crashed into a woman running in a triathlon, sending her to the hospital to have a piece of rotor removed from her scalp and to get stitches. Others have crashed into crowds of people at outdoor concerts, sports, and other events.
|The feature-laden, $1150 Hexo+ drone - |
GoPro Camera not included.
I figure as these things become more popular, we're bound to see more irresponsible usage of them. It's inevitable. Let's face it. If there's one thing that many people suck at, it's understanding the concept of "other people" -- as in, the fact that they exist. I think people's obsession with their smart phones is strong evidence of that.
Just a couple of days before the White House incident, I was reading an article on BikeRadar about all the great new advances in drones, designed to appeal to cyclists and other athletes. "If one of your goals for 2015 is to shoot better riding videos, you're in luck," the article proclaims. Then it goes on to show all the latest feature-laden drones and other products introduced at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. This stuff is really hot right now. Not to mention annoying. And potentially dangerous in the hands of idiots.
The crash of the drone in Washington is bound to get some lawmakers' attention, so I wouldn't be surprised if one of the results is that we'll eventually see some regulations on these things. More restrictions and regulations from Washington are not something I get thrilled about, but it'll probably happen. The idiots make it inevitable.