Not an unsurprising reaction from customs officers in this an Olympic and Diamond Jubilee year in London. Perhaps a nod to potential drone journalists, hiring in platforms in countries of interest or building the system on scene might attract less interest. Also travelling with Lipos is also frowned upon especially in hand luggage.
Carmel Doyle Silicon Republic
Fresh from performing at Science Gallery in Dublin last night during the opening of Hack the City, an English group of urbanists, technologists and architects who created GPS-enabled quadcopter drones, were held at London Southend Airport on suspicion of terrorism and recorded under the UK’s Terrorism Act.
The group, known as Tomorrows Thoughts Today, had been performing their Electronic Countermeasures robotic ballet in the sky show at Science Gallery for the opening of the three-month Hack the City exhibition in Dublin City.
The trio, headed up by Liam Young, had created the robotic drones from components that were originally intended for police surveillance.
It was just as the three performers were disembarking from their Dublin flight in London that their suitcases were swarmed in upon by customs officers at the new London Southend Airport.
“We were returning to London with our suitcases full of drones, batteries and wiring equipment. Customs scanned through the suitcases and their eyes widened,” said Young.
He said the officers then decided to call in the special branch, whose officers began questioning the three performers about their projects and asked them to describe what the electronic drones were all about in layman’s terms.
“They asked us what electronic countermeasures we were trying to achieve! They took all of our materials and asked us for weblinks and references. Then they went away and Googled the project.”
After that, Young said each team member was taken away for individual questioning. “They were also quite interested to know if we had cars.”