'Huge untested market for drones: Nobody knows where it’s going to'
According toThe Washington Postsince June 1, pilots have reported about 25 episodes in which small drones came within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft .
RT:How big are the risks of a serious accident involving drones do you think?
Brian Hanley: Yes, I think it’s a serious risk definitely. If a drone hits the engine of an aircraft it can kill the engine similar to a large bird strike. There is also the potential of terrorist use deliberately - which even an amateur drone can be used for. Already you have drones flown by amateurs near freeways, stopping traffic, and things like that.
My biggest concern is not so much accidents as it is deliberate terrorist misuse. I also think that politicians have not looked at the fact that drones are a unique device for assassinating politicians and conducting terrorism in a way that has never been done before. You could do it now. And I think that could be a serious risk. We’ll see what actually happens.
RT:Why do you think has the Federal Aviation Administration opened up the skies to drone use despite the risks?
BH: I think a lot of that is the political pressure, mostly from business. There is a potentially huge market worldwide that’s worth billions for the drones’ systems and for delivery companies and for retailers. It’s untested and nobody really knows where it’s going to go. But there’s the potential here to deliver light-weight products very quickly in an urban environment with pin point accuracy.
[From] what I know about the Amazon plans, I suspect that Amazon sees drone delivery as a critical piece for the future to enable them to continue to do well. There are other companies that have an interest in this as well.
RT:Could we have some sort of software to warn us about drones?
BH: Sure. I don’t think that commercial drones are really going to be a big issue there. Commercial drones will probably operate in a responsible fashion. Amateur drones may not. Also deliberate misuse of drones in not going to fall into that either. Also, there is a report that hinted at another major aspect of drones which is their potential as spy devices for civilians and I think it’s going to be a big one, I think it’s probably going to be a game-changer in the long-run, even in politics. Sooner or later somebody is going to catch someone, people in high places, on video with sound and that recording is going to change how politics operates.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.