What Happens To Drones When They Fall Out Of The Skies?

from the what-goes-up,-must-come-down dept

For obvious reasons, stories about drones concentrate on what they can do while they are airborne. But they have to come down at some point, and sometimes emergency landings mean that they cannot return to base. An interesting story from Italy recounts what happened there in these circumstances:

A 24-year old college student in Bologna, Italy was arrested by Italian postal police after attempting to sell a drone that had emergency-landed on his apartment's terrace last October. The student had posted the drone, a privately-operated Microdrones quad-rotor helicopter owned by Italian startup Eye Sky, on Subito.it, an online auction site. The asking price for the $40,000 drone: 1,000 euros [$1300].
The Ars Technica post notes the mistakes the student made that enabled the police to track him down (hint: don't post too many details when you offer a drone for sale), and that he now faces up to a year in prison, and fines. But what's interesting here is that the student in question even thought of trying to sell it. It's almost as if drones belong to a different, heavenly world, and when they drop out of it into our earthly one, they are regarded as a kind of lucky gift from the gods to do with as we please. Of course, for all their novelty, they're just another kind of physical object that is owned by someone, who won't be best pleased if others try to appropriate it.

However, this does raise the question of what exactly the public should do when a drone comes down in their garden or on their roof. As drones and emergency landings in cities start to become more common, who do we call? Do we perhaps need a central Office of Lost Drones that can come along and pick them up?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: drones, ownership


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  1. icon
    ComputerAddict (profile), 6 Mar 2013 @ 5:15am

    Re:

    Luckily, "Reasonable Efforts" is loosely defined. I mean I posted an ad on craigslist: "Found pile of plastic parts and trash, probably not worth anything, I do not respond to emails or phone calls, carrier pigeons only"

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