Winter Drones, Anti-Drone Drones: France has got Drone Fever

Mar 5, 2015
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There’s no doubt about it: France has got drone fever. This past week Al Jazeera journalist Tristan Redman was fined 1000€ for flying a drone in Paris, which is illegal. While this incident, in isolation, may seem a bit extreme, it is only the latest in a series a drone-related incidents.

Earlier this month no less than 5 drones were spotted in a single night flying over ‘sensitive locations,’ according to Le Monde. France has been on alert since the attack on Charlie Hebdo at the beginning of this year, with military officers placed outside of recognized religious institutions as well as in front of many of France’s most popular newspapers.

French authorities are currently exploring options to respond quickly to drone sightings. After multiple Nuclear plants in France reported drone sightings earlier this year, videos of ‘anti-drone drones’ had already begun to surface, showing Drones carrying nets to intercept other drones. Meanwhile, French police are hoping for more traditional deterants, like a water cannon.

Outside of the realm of responding to other drone threats, it had already been reported that both La Poste & SNCF were running private tests with drones for more benevolent actions. SNCF, for example, is working on developing automated drones that can survey the railways for things like stolen rail cables ( and their thiefs). La Poste, on the other hand, is looking at the possibility of last-mile delivery of things like prescription drugs – thought they aren’t the first ones to think of how Drones could get to those in need of medical assistance. La Poste said in a statement that they have already found the drone to be effective in initial tests, and are currently testing its ability to operate in winter conditions.

Still, France’s regulation is most likely to be the key blocker of any access to commercial use of drones. It’s illegal to occupy the airspace, and until France feels like drones are something it can control, don’t expect to see commercially available drones for commercial use any time soon.

Not surprisingly, the US has reported significantly more relaxed regulation currently being formed by the FAA, TechCrunch reports. This is a shame, considering that one of the largest suppliers of personal-use drones today, Parrot, is French.

France has its bases for its reactions, given the state of fear that the country is currently in; however, declaring Drones illegal will only encourage those who want to do them to develop drones that can outrun police, as has already been observed earlier this week in Paris – suspects fled with drone in hand in a black car before Police could arrive on site.