The FAA is investigating whether or not a so-called “Drone Task Force” has violated any laws by flying over a Manhattan park and playing a recorded public service announcement.
The Hill reports that an FAA official has said that the agency will investigate whether or not the drone is registered and if the pilot holds a Part 107, although at the time of the report the operator was unknown. The drone was filmed by CBS News and posted on Twitter. Flight over New York city is generally prohibited except in certain areas.
The drone played a recorded message. Claiming to be part of the “Anti-COVID-19 Volunteer Drone Task Force” the announcement reminded people to maintain social distancing: “Please maintain a social distance of at least six feet. Again, please maintain social distancing. Please help stop the spread of this virus. Reduce the death toll and save lives. For your own safety and your family’s safety, please maintain social distancing. Thank you for your cooperation, we are all in this together.”
While the NYPD says that it doesn’t know about the organization and the FAA is investigating, the idea of using drones with loudspeakers attached to them to communicate during the coronavirus is one that has been adopted by many governments. Drones provide an excellent and contact free method of communication in public spaces. Drones have also been used to spray disinfectant in public spaces, measure the temperature of people in crowds, and monitor coronavirus lockdowns. The Airborne International Response Team (AIRT) volunteers are also training for coronavirus response scenarios.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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