Droning On In the U.K.

If you like the sight of “delivery drones” hovering over your head wherever you may be, then maybe the United Kingdom is the place for you.  Not all Brits, however, are enthusiastic about this prospect.  As one unhappy British citizen expressed: “They are testing the drones over here because they can’t do it in America.  Whatever the Americans don’t want, I don’t want it either.”  Talk about your trans-Atlantic alliances.  Aversion to remotely controlled airborne technology may actually be strengthening international partnerships around the world.  Amazon is in the forefront in the U.K. and retailers in other countries are already testing how these drones may play a more strategic role in their delivery of products that they sell online.  

In Britain, Amazon is working with local authorities to test several aspects of drone technology like piloting the machines beyond the line of sight of operators, a practice still outlawed in the United States.   It seems that much of the drone opposition is rooted in concerns for the historical preservation of the countryside that played a large part in Britain’s past.  For example, the Friends of the Roman Road, a local organization that maintains centuries-old public footpaths near the Amazon drone testing site in Cambridgeshire, fear that the drones represent a threat to local wildlife and the wider countryside.  Drones flying overhead would certainly detract from appreciating the historical significance of the Roman Road and the role it played in ancient times. 

I guess we all know that times do change, but surely some things are worth preserving.  Droneless skies over sites of historical preservation are well worth our consideration.  Think of them as new types of “no-fly” zones.

Ray Myers



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