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More drone rules needed for safety

The use of drones — for commerce and recreation — is soaring in the United States, and it’s no wonder. The unmanned aircraft perform many tasks that can be hazardous for humans: police surveillance, forest fire observation, and toxic hazard assessment, to name a few. ..

A report released Dec. 11 by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone said that, based on Federal Aviation Administration data from the past two years, 241 close encounters — within 500 feet — have been observed between drones and manned aircraft, including 28 that caused pilots to veer away. Ninety of the near misses involved jets…

On Monday the FAA issued regulations requiring even small drones to be registered so that authorities can track down owners if they break the rules…

Mandatory registration is a plus, but it alone will not prevent midair collisions. Observance of the rules by drone owners is essential. For larger and more advanced flying machines, the Bard College study’s authors recommend sophisticated solutions such as “geo-fencing,” which is software designed to limit a drone’s flying range, and “sense-and-avoid” systems to help unmanned aircraft anticipate and avoid a possible collision.

Adopting these and other measures would treat America’s highflying machines more like aircraft and less like toys. Safety in the skies is not child’s play.


The (Toledo) Blade