Mayor on Duty: Drones and Bears in Highlands

Let me do a follow-up to my concerns about the FCC and the deployment of G5 technology that I wrote about last week.  I stated the FCC ruling would trump any local ordinances concerning G5 technology.  Well, several major cities have filed a lawsuit challenging this sweeping FCC ruling. This will be a “big boy” fight for cities like New York and LA. It will be an uphill battle to challenge the FCC control of the airwaves.

Another federal agency, the FAA, controls the airways. Currently, there is the new FAA authorization bill in the US Congress. The bill allows new uses of drones. Local governments are currently, and will continue to be, very limited in imposing ordinances regulating drones. As matter of fact, drones are already here in large numbers. There are now more registered drones than traditional aircraft.

One provision in this pending legislation enables drones to transport private materials from one place to another. Remember the 60 Minutes story a few years ago where Amazon was testing a drone’s ability to deliver packages to customers? This new bill will permit these kinds of deliveries starting in about a year. Like trucks, towns will not be able to ban or significantly regulate drone traffic.

I can see it now, a drone pizza delivery service here on the plateau. Just phone in the order and a drone will fly to your driveway for delivery. None of these half-crazed pizza delivery drivers flying down the road in a smoking Ford Focus. No way, now we will have quiet high flying drones.

We may all end up building little drone delivery pads next to driveways.  The pizza-hauling drone will simply use GPS to land in a front yard. When it is about 500 feet away from a destination the drone could send a text alert, “In-coming pizza.”

Now the alert would be very important because drone pizza delivery would create another dimension of an existing problem. Specifically, how would the bears be controlled?

Imagine a situation where the bears associate the wonderful smell of hot pizza in the air with the hum of a drone. It’s not hard to do. The bears would learn to follow the sound and smell. When the drone landed at a home, the bears would be in the front yard waiting for delicious food.

We would have to educate the public on how to scare the bears away in order to take delivery of the pizza. Maybe the old fashion method of clanging of the pots and pans might work best for folks competing with bears over their rightful ownership of the hot pizza.

Bears might be a problem, but there’s always a silver lining.  Drones wouldn’t expect a tip.

All joking aside, the topic of the new Community Coffee with the Mayor will be Bear Control. Last month we had a fruitful discussion concerning domestic animal control. On Friday, October 26, bring your bear ideas to the library at 11 a.m.

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