Drones Provoke Controversial Results: From LEGO to Notre Dame

Recently, since the use of commercial drones has been labelled mainstream, there are complaints that they have become a nuisance to people and trigger more concerns.


You'll find more people complaining that drones tend to destroy the ambience of a place whenever more operators are engaging this literal flying robot. It buzzes noisily through the air and ensures their memories are being visually recorded. Given the superior quality of aesthetics for drone-users, it has an advantage over ordinary photographers in the area who are limited to their creativity to find the right angles to capture a good shot. However, it disadvantages ordinary photographers by conspicuously appearing in the landscape to obstruct the scenery with the air traffic it causes and prevent photographers from being able to take a normal shot until they have cleared. Even for people who have come all the way to visit, drones can be distracting for them to fully appreciate the natural environment in peace.



Imagine your view being blocked when trying to enjoy or photograph the beautiful sunrise

While most civilian drone operators are compliant with the legal aspects of flying a drone, there are a number of cases where laws have been violated. During 2017, there was an average of 10 police reports made a day in the UK. It identified spying in neighbourhoods and mid-air collision into properties, which is both dangerous and is a potential threat for burglary.


The struggle to adapt to this transition of accessible technology that constantly evolves to upgrade its potential is a real challenge that has led to tension for victims learning about their unneighbourly hobbyist next door. Instead of exchanging traditional formalities that lead to neighbours getting invited to tour your home to both check out its design and get to know you better, these forms of socialisation were no longer required — already using drones to comprehend your domestic life.


Besides invasion of privacy, even areas under high surveillance were not exempt from crime with reports of drones delivering packages into cell windows — many of these packages later discovered to contain drugs that inmates received into their living quarters.



Drone smuggling package into prison cell for inmate

Even LEGO, a brand that was once influential in pioneering the DIYDrones movement, has chosen to enforce a negative stereotype of drones in one of their products ever since its bad reputation in the media of late. The brand has two drone products available, while it has been the supplier for DIY enthusiasts who opted to build their drones with their material.


In the LEGO CITY range’s newly launched ‘Sky Police Drone Chase’ kit, players are encouraged to capture the crook stealing a golden statue with a drone. Its other product featuring a drone ‘LEGO Creator Drone Explorer’ involved a less sinister undertone. The neutral description invited players to “carry out secret missions and explorations”.


While this does shift from the previous notion, with the set coming complete with a cockpit and landing gear, it does seem to suggest the better type of drones fulfill a military agenda for 'secret missions'. Meanwhile, the use of civilian drones actually has involved a number of not-so-secret humanitarian and environmental missions, such as emergency response whenever a crisis occurs.



Only last month, drones made a noble comeback in the media when the Notre Dame fire broke out while it was closed for renovation. They had been strategically operated to monitor the outbreak of flames and were able to gather existing data in real-time to control it. It helped to locate the most effective areas to release the water from the fire hoses, to prevent further damage to the interior of the building.


This incident had allowed the restriction policy for drones in Paris to be temporarily lifted off its geo-fenced territory. The Culture and Interior Ministry had lent its DJI models with thermal cameras (Mavic Pro and Matrice M210) to the firefighters to execute their work.


Meanwhile, the use of drones in the restoration process of Notre Dame promises potential. It is a necessary solution to evaluate hazards and risks for the safety of construction workers, by enabling drones to rapidly image the infrastructure and create a 3D model using photogrammetry.



Drones enabling real-time assessment to put out the flames in Notre Dame Cathedral



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