TECHTALK: Drone laws call as numbers soar to new heights

The Parrot MiniDrone, on show at the CES in Las Vegas.
The Parrot MiniDrone, on show at the CES in Las Vegas.
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Tech Talk predicted flying camera drones would soar in popularity but new rules are being urged to cope as the craze soars to new heights.

Civil Aviation Authority guidelines say pilots should keep them within their line of sight - generally measured as 500 yards horizontally and fly the devices at least 50 yards away from people, vehicles or buildings and at least 150 yards away from congested areas like town centres.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones has suggested that “licence plates” be introduced to help better track the drones taking to our skies.

Some can reach up to 1,000 feet and it is this ability, along with reports from commercial aircraft of near misses, that has some experts calling for a “drone law” to be put in place to regulate the devices more fully. They say the law is falling too far behind the technology.

In January 2013, just 30 drones were registered with the CAA. Electronics site Maplin sold more than 10,000 in 2014 and that was before the Christmas rush.