MAYOR OF LONDON Bumbling Boris Johnson has been telling delegates at a conference in Singapore that he would like drones over the streets of London to deliver his home shopping – with him at the controls.
Bojo’s buffoonery is currently on a tour of south east Asia, where he has beenpromoting London’s financial technology industry (FinTech, if you insist).
“We have a problem, folks. All this internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off,” he said.
“It’s going to go up 45 percent in London in the next seven years. That’s going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore.
“I look out at this brilliant audience here today, bulging with ideas, and I ask you possibly to solve it.
“Is it, as I hope, going to be drones? I want to be controlling an app that enables my shopping not only to be click and collect. I want my own personal drone to come and drop it wherever I choose.”
Alas, he may be waiting a while. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which licenses London airspace, told The INQUIRER: “At the moment parcel deliveries by unmanned aircraft, or drones, is not logistically possible under the current safety rules.”
Unmanned aircraft must be kept within the controller’s line of sight at all times, the CAA said, measured as a maximum 400ft vertically and 500m horizontally.
Additionally, drones are not currently allowed to fly over congested areas, which obviously includes central London.
“These rules are in place to protect the public. However, we keep a close eye on industry developments and will be able to review the regulations as technology develops,” the CAA added.
So there may be hope for the future, but long after Boris is in Downing Street and Eddie Izzard is in charge of the capital.
Boris is not the first person to big up drone delivery. Amazon invited applications earlier this month for a Flight Operations Engineer based at its R&D facility in Cambridge.
Amazon has already laid its cards on the table as far as drones are concerned, while Google is experimenting with the idea of unmanned vehicles as a quattro formaggi delivery system.
British bricks and mortar bookseller Waterstones has poo-pooed the idea, suggesting that, if Amazon was to proceed with the idea, it would counter with a fleet of owls. What a hoot.