Buzzed at Burning Man? It’s probably a drone

Screen grab from Drone's eye view of Burning Man 2013 on YouTube.
Screen grab from Drone’s eye view of Burning Man 2013 on YouTube.

Unarmed drones are on the horizon. Already, drones are buzzing overhead, videotaping rooftop parties, studying hurricanes, and tracking wildfires.  Congress has required the F.A.A. to figure out how to regulate private drones in US skies by 2015. Perhaps Congress can take notes from Burning Man, which came up with a common-sense list of rules governing how to use unarmed aerial vehicles at the festival this year. These included safety recommendations: “Avoid flying over large crowds or densely populated areas. If you crash into a crowd you can seriously injure people.” And privacy ones: “Flying around the temple during the burn is greatly discouraged and could lead to a ban in 2014.”

Now that the festival is over, the results of all that drone caught video are popping up on YouTube. Check out this stunning flyover of the desert. And pay special attention around 4:45 when someone seems to be swatting at the drone. (More on the privacy issues with drones at Burning Man coming soon!)