Australians Working On Laws To Allow Commercial Use of UAVs

March 4th, 2013

CASAAccording to a recent article in

Hundreds of small commercially operated drones could soon take to Australian skies under a radical new set of rules proposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Melbourne this week.

Under a new weight class system, prospective drone entrepreneurs with craft weighing 2 kilograms or less could take off after completing nothing more than an online application form.

CASA officials say they want to encourage use of this emerging technology, but the drone plan will be forced to dodge flak from opponents who have raised serious concerns over safety and privacy.

The article explains that even though Australia has yet to have a public drone debate:

In stark contrast to the United States, public opinion in Australia remains finely balanced by disinterest.

If a drone is used to assist in the rescue of the drowning swimmer, perhaps widespread acceptance will follow. But if a multi-rotor gets sucked into the engine of an Airbus on take-off from Mascot, we may well see drone control right up there alongside gun control.

Compared to the hysterical approach currently going on in the US this all seems to rational!

Thanks to Dave Williamson, Key Real Estate Photography of Perth, for passing along this article.

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10 Responses to “Australians Working On Laws To Allow Commercial Use of UAVs”

  • My thoughts… (for what they’re worth!!)

    Part of the reason is that Australia & Canada both get a lot of their system of government from Britain.

    Citizens in these countries are used to ‘big’ government and ‘big’ banks. We’re more used to the government handling things for us (socialized medical care for instance, we love it up here and would fight to keep it.).

    The U.S. in comparison seems to have grown up with the idea of “government, leave us alone. Don’t tell us what to do”.

    One is not necessarily better than the other, it’s just the system we’ve grown up with and are comfortable with.

    I prefer my system, maybe yours IS better but I’m comfortable with what I know.

  • I can certainly understand the concerns over drone flights, but frankly a little common sense would go a very long way. If I find a 747 or Airbus flying at 300 feet of less, I would be even more concerned. Keep the drones a reasonable distance from airports and other sensitive areas, and I think you will find very little if any problems.

  • People in the USA have huge fears when someone mentions “drones”. Why? Because of how they have been used against our “enemies”. We only have ourselves to blame….

  • Drones are invasive and yet another environmental hazard. I see no practical application for real estate photography. Unless you are shooting a giant “compound” in Malibu there is little reason to give prospective home buyers views of rooftops. If the client wants to take on the expense, let them hire a helicopter. Does any photographer really want to assume the liability of using a drone with a $2-3K camera mounted on it that crashes into a neighboring property? It’s a waste of time worrying about offering such a dubious “service” to your clients.
    We also don’t need to be bombarded with yet another annoyance and potential danger flying over are heads. Drones have become the brainchild of war profiteers trying to expand their market and they have killed a lot of innocent people in the quest to “protect” us. I think they are immoral.

  • Everett, I don’t understand your logic.

    You state that drones are an environmental hazard, yet you suggest using a full-size helicopter as an alternative.

    You state that aerial photography is a dubious service, yet it is a thriving and important aspect of luxury property photography (or was until the FAA had something to say about it).

    Finally, you state that we don’t need to be bombarded with yet another annoyance, yet these radio controlled devices have been around for decades.

    If you just find radio controlled flying vehicles annoying, just say so. You don’t need to make up bogus arguments about environmental and safety concerns.

  • Jeff
    There is nothing “bogus” about more unnecessary human disruption of the environment or the extra stress such devices place on our quality of life, not to mention the potential danger to property. There are too many people who think that as long as they can make money that it is OK to negatively impact the rest of the world. Perhaps I should have made it clear that I was being facetious when suggesting a helicopter be used. There is a very limited need for such a service as far as I can see and if the FAA sees these devices as potentially dangerous, I feel they are absolutely correct. I’m willing to bet that the average photographer of real estate and architecture does not rely on income from aerial photography and I would expect most would rather not invest the money involved or take on the liability. Those who do such work will most likely have to find an alternative method. Frankly, I have shot lots of “luxury’ properties and know other photographers who do and I have yet to hear a client ask for aerial shots of the roof. Architects love to see the roof “line” in a image but they never ask to see the top of the roof from 300 ft.. Would a shot from outer space work?

  • It is real easy to understand the drive for drones: 18,000 police departments, 100’s of drone manufactures, Homeland Security with money to spend and a FAA ran by the companies it is supposed to regulate. Its all about the money, your rights be damned.

  • Consider this: “The DHS has also loaned its spy drones to local police departments. Would you feel comfortable if you knew that the NYPD was using DHS surveillance drones equipped with cellphone sniffing gear, given that security researcher and private investigator Steven Rambam has said that “everybody that attended an Occupy Wall Street protest, and didn’t turn their cellphone off … [had their] cellphone … logged”?”
    What can be hysterical about wanting to make sure our civil rights are respected and protected. Some of us have fought for the “American way of life” on a foreign battlefield and took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

  • Everett,

    You are absolutely right in your argument. Forget about cruise ships and NASCAR, radio controlled helis are the real culprit in destroying our environment unnecessarily. And I totally forgot that aerial photography is only good for shooting the tops of roofs and nothing else. I have been thoroughly schooled this fine day.

  • Everett, Where do you live, North Pole.? Our photographers thrive on aerial photography and there are dozens of reasons why people request above average height photo’s, none of which are about the roof. What a completely ridiculous statement, but somehow I fear no amount of words will get through to you while you suffer from blinker vision and quite obviously lack of commercial experience.

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