At the 50th Paris airshow, a number of unmanned aerial vehicles or, “drones” as they have become known have been demonstrating their capabilities.
The adaptability of these pilot-less machines will, believes the European Commission create a market for civil work in the next decade.
“You can fit this in the back of a small vehicle. If there is any road, you can drive it to anywhere on the planet if there is road, and in that road you can then deploy it. I don’t need a airfield, I don’t need all the bits and pieces that go with it,” explained Chris Day, Schiebel Head of Capability Engineering.
One estimate reckons annual spending on drones will almost double by 2022. Created for use by the military they could soon be fulfilling a host of tasks in a civilian capacity.There are already more than 400 development projects across 20 European countries underway.
In the US the FBI came under question by Senators about the increasing use of drones by the federal government.
Robert Mueller the FBI Director, admitted they are used for surveillance on US soil but he added, “in a very, very minimal way and very seldom.”
The potential use of drones in civil projects raises questions on where and how they will be allowed to fly while there are concerns over safety and privacy. Legislation will have to be developed to deal with such questions.