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Crowded sky Keeping drones on a leash

Drones have become an indispensable tool for many businesses but their wider use raises security and privacy questions. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

It is estimated that the Swiss population owns around 22,000 drones. Many businesses have started relaying heavily on their use but they have also become  very popular among enthusiasts.

In certain areas drones, or multicopters, as drones of this kind are technically known, have become an essential tool. Multicopters can in fact be equipped with high-resolution cameras or multi-functional cameras that can be put to different uses.  

Beside offering higher vantage points to photographers and film-makers, other uses include the inspection of power lines and land surveying. Through photogrammetry drones help map areas that would otherwise of difficult to access. Others use drones to inspect buildings’ insulation through infrared cameras and the crop inspection for farmers.

Security concerns over the high number of drones prompted the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation to introduce stricter regulations in August 2014 requiring, among other things, users to obtain permission for the use of drones weighing more than 30 kg or when flying over crowds.