Dai Urnal-Instants

By DaiUrnal

Debating CAP 722

Is this Thermae Spa Bath attendant looking a little cross? Well, he is standing next to the Cross Bath.

The gadget the chap is holding is a controller for a micro-UAV.

It looks like a standard radio-controlled model aircraft controller with the addition of a mounting for a smartphone such as an iPhone. He's using it to control, and view the down-linked video from, a µUAV that he has just launched into the skies above Bath city centre.

UAV stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle if one is being politically correct, and their operations in UK airspace are governed by the Civil Aviation Authority's CAP 722, snappily titled "Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace - Guidance." The media happily, and ignorantly, refer to them as Drones.

While regulations, especially of µUAV with take-off weights of less than 5 kg (such as the aircraft flown by this chap) are in flux at present as the capabilities and availability of the technologies advance, it's almost certainly a contravention of the Air Navigation Order (ANO) to fly such a Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft (SUSA) inside a city.

I doubt the security guard is that well versed in the minutiae of CAP 722 and the ANO. He's probably more concerned about the breach of privacy such cheap and ubiquitous technology potentially represents. The UAV pilot was observing the roof-top swimming pool atop the Thermae Spa building in Bath, which allows bathers to enjoy a swim in the hot mineral waters for which Bath is famous.

I'm sure those who invented the portable metal detector were concerned about landmines blowing legs off soldiers and never appreciated the impact their devices would have on the status of the treasure trove buried by past generations beneath our feet; those who have developed UAV for military ISTAR applications probably never appreciated how easily it could one day be used for pervy high-tech voyeurism...

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