Some vehicles have no wheels

Written by Ellie

droneLife used to be so straightforward for anyone responsible for their organisation’s vehicles. From the acquisition standpoint, everything was under your control. The very smallest car is still too big to hide under a desk and there is no room behind the filing cabinets for a truck. Even if a colleague in a remote site bought a second-hand tricycle, their departmental chief would soon be on the phone to ask why this was not allocated to the fleet budget.

This was good. If a vehicle were ever involved in a serious accident, we all know whose door would be receiving the investigators’ knock. No problem because you knew all of your vehicles. Out came the files and, here you are, full details of insurance, servicing, maintenance, driver training and so forth. Very sorry about the accident, but no corporate responsibility and no vehicle management negligence.

Those days have gone. Right now, any of your colleagues can go out and buy a new vehicle for less than taking a customer out for dinner. Then, with no insurance, no experience, no training and crossed fingers, they can use the vehicle for business purposes. You will probably not know anything about it until the first accident, when everyone suddenly remembers that this is a vehicle and must be your responsibility.

The object in question is a drone. These are no longer toys or hobby purchases, but working assets, already being used by everyone from DHL to EasyJet. One of your colleagues may soon decide that a drone is the perfect equipment for security surveillance, light deliveries, roof maintenance checking or some other job – if they have not already bought one. This is where it becomes important to realise that ‘drone’ is a slang term.

As far as the law is concerned, a drone is an ‘unmanned aerial vehicle,’ or UAV – and the Civil Aviation Authority has plenty to say about their use. So, when an untrained, inexperienced operator makes a mistake and an uninsured vehicle falls from the sky onto somebody’s head, life may stop being straightforward for the person responsible for the organisation’s vehicles.

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Posted on 4th August 2016

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