CHOICE membership

Drone fast food and medicines delivery

An Alphabet (formerly Google) company has apparently been testing home deliveries of pizza and pharmaceuticals in a small area of South Canberra.

This is allegedly going to be expanded in the near future, both through Canberra and to other cities.

My wife mentioned today that our house has been visited a couple of times by drones that she has heard but not seen. Certainly we are worried about our privacy, and the likelihood of drones with cameras flying overhead does not fill me with joy.

I would be interested to hear of any experiences others have had with these deliveries, what has gone right/wrong, and how they affect neighbours of the receiving household.


No drone is safe flying over my house.

Doubly so if its carrying (non-vegan) pizza …


Seems like a great idea on the surface, but the use of drones like this is an accident waiting to happen. At this stage it is not safe to have them flying over people.

If one of these causes an accident or injury :flight_arrival: , given they are not registered, how do you find who’s flying it, or where they are, or who the owner is? Who’s responsible?

Too many uncontrollable variables and too dangerous.


Agree, and when the first, second etc accidents happen, I suspect the enthusiasm for the 'technology’may dry up.

It seems a bit of a gimic…marketing exercise.


I believe that was said about numerous technological innovations over time, propbably starting with fire or the wheel. ‘The fad will pass, don’t worry about it’…

Those of us who have managed to attain older age are generally more suspicious and less accepting of changes, and especially changes that rattle our realities while pushing beyond our comfort zones.

Law and enforcement have most always been reactive. With technologically underpinned ‘new things’ those responsible for governance (oversight? red tape? regulation?) generally do not understand any of it and struggle mightily, while dismissing educated advice that does not suit their own predilections, leading to roo in the headlights syndrome waiting to see how much road kill or collateral damage surfaces prior to responding.


I do wonder about the vision the drone cameras will collect or observe and whether in due course it will be saved. Hence it will be there forever for both good and evil.

Would the data streams be reliably encrypted and hack proof?

Would P Dutton outsource homeland security to such a service? (apologies to George Orwell)?

Global enterprises such as Alphabet and Amazon have the resources to have strategically thought through all the issues arising form their plans to use drones. Australia has an above average love affair with technology and limited protection of individual freedoms and privacy.

In a practical sense providing the drones are:

  • silent,
  • do not capture images,
  • don’t crash and cause loss,
  • don’t grow in size to make 50kg party deliveries,
  • and can handle at least a slab or carton of bubbles

They will have a welcome future around here. For the protagonists to succeed it will be critical they move faster than legislation, expand the market they are inventing and manage any counter.

We can only hope that the local peregrine falcons don’t take a liking to pizza or beer. They are definitely not vegan so some deliveries may still get through.

p.s. Note the reference to the delivery of medicines. Is this the most “insert word of your choosing” example of marketing spin feeding on our guilt that people may die if we don’t accept this new life saving drone technology?


George Orwell’s homeland is apparently the most surveilled on Earth - surpassing even China in cameras per person.

Because otherwise the commun… terrorists will get us all!

In that vein, I heard something that was said by a high-level US military officer many decades ago - “If communism didn’t exist, we would have to create it”. Prescient indeed.


Looks like we can add one more demonstrated use of the drone to the catalogue?

I wonder how close we are to requiring all drones to be registered, controlled devices with stricter controllers on ownership and use?

Not necessarily like a weapons license, more like a registered motor vehicle? We are already part way there with a system for use of larger sized and commercial drone use.


People have been using laser pointers to disrupt flights for years, and they are not banned or restricted. I suspect that drones and their controllers are easier to track than these two idiots thought. Given that they require a broadcast capability, and this has to be specifically encoded to the drone, while there are several ways it might be done I would guess that the police could:

  1. Triangulate the signals to see where they were coming from; and
  2. Record the signals, and approach the drone manufacturer for assistance in identifying the specific drones, where they were sold etc.

The writing is on the wall, or at least in law on this one?

There are legal restrictions on laser pointers, ownership/possession and use in Australia, for the very reason they can be used offensively.

Our ability to ensure the safe use of drones within the community appears to be a far more challenging proposition.

Drone technology has significant business potential. As with any new technology the interests of business can also lead to conflicted outcomes for the community?

The use of drones can have significant adverse community and business impacts as evidenced by what has happened at Gatwick Airport.


Wow! Interesting to see that NSW Police FAQ is under the ‘firearms’ classification.


Indeed. There were sufficient concerns and reports of aircraft being targeted for the laws to be enacted. Is it also due to the potential of a laser pointer when used at sales promotions to cause harm through mass misinformation? Not likely but an interesting possibility? :rofl:

Most of the time more genuine issues with their use may fly under the radar, excep for slow news weeks.

It is easy to suggest we could live without laser pointers. Business impacts might only affect the small industry making the devices.

The drone industry, for home and commercial use is producing much higher value products with a broader appeal, and range of practical applications.

Drone delivery services are perhaps one of the applications with great potential to make serious money for the users and suppliers. They save energy, reduce employment and potentially improve service.

That drones may annoy many householders and can be seen as potential threats is also relevant to any future improvements to regulation.

That is unless you consider use of low level air space and drone use similar to how certain enterprises have exploited an unregulated internet. Business deploying drones to operate in an unregulated free for all where navigating the skys for commercial benefit is an unfettered right?


Drones provide unparalleled opportunities for businesses that doing ‘mapping’ to forget about satellites and driving cars through every neighbourhood on Earth (or at least, those that can afford the business’s services) and just do overflight.

Google Earth just became much more invasive and scary.

I see from your link that:

A study done by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Victoria, found that inexpensive green laser pointers had output power up to 127 times the Australian legal limit of 1 milliwatt. Results of the study were presented by Dr. Kate Fox at the IEEE Engineers in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) scientific conference, on August 19 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

This matches what Wikipedia says about laser pointer power ratings vs. actual power.


Agreed - spin :slight_smile: - The only place where pharmaceutical distribution is lacking (to some extent) is regional and remote areas, where drones wouldn’t be promoted. In the big cities and inner regional, this would be a near impossible sell ‘if’ the details were fairly presented …


It may be an even more potent business model if the AI and associated tech used to facilitate the likely multitudes of delivery drones is owned by the same party interested in all that mapping and location knowledge? Updates possible using the flight path of every delivery.

Not sure if this was intended, however, who needs satellites and GPS when the WIfi network in every household once mapped can be as useful for drones in correcting inertial and visual recognition navigation?

Given how many individuals use products (Gmail, chrome, Google search and maps etc) with the same common parent it might be much more than?


There’s now some doubt about what exactly did happen:

Confusion deepened as a senior police officer in the case said it was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place”. DCS Jason Tingley added that although the damaged drone was a significant line of inquiry, wet weather could have washed away evidence. He also noted that there were no pictures or video of the drone incursions into the airspace around Gatwick . He said there was “no available footage and [officers] are relying on witness accounts”.


How curious? Thanks @n3m0.

An inordinate impact if it was a Trimpian ‘fake’ drone or dystopian world ‘virtual’ drone or just one big imaginary stuff up?

So the pictures attached to some of the news releases of a drone were for illustrative purposes only of course? If the drones never existed it may explain why they were so hard to locate?

As a ‘proof of concept’ it remains a disturbing prospect that a single simple piece of technology, real or imagined can be so disruptive to the everyday activities of so many enterprises, employees and consumers.


I see from that Guardian article (which not only says the people arrested were ‘unfairly targeted by the media’, after naming them and showing their photo again) that:

Anti-drone technology used by the army has been brought into Gatwick in an attempt to thwart any further attempts at disruption.

I wonder what that involves. It can’t be radio-signal jammers, because they would probably affect the airport/plane communications. Maybe they’ve stationed snipers on the roof to pick off any drones that fly near the airport?


This may be the one they are using…


There is a minor problem with that idea. When you’re using radio-communications (WiFi, Bluetooth, drone control), you expect the manufacturer to put in decent encryption so your stuff cannot simply be hijacked by - as that website says - exploiting ‘protocol weaknesses’.

Were I a drone owner, I would not be pleased to have my neighbour invest in that kind of hacking technology - which skirts the edges of the law in any event.