A group called Heathrow Pause Action is attempting shut down Heathrow Airport in the U.K. Their action is in what they say, the response to the U.K. government’s lack of constructive progress on the climate and environmental emergency declared by Parliament on May 1st, 2019. The omission is aggravated, even further, by the U.K. government’s decision to back Heathrow expansion, despite the scientific advice against it – so they say. A spokesman for Heathrow Pause Action said it would “definitely be going ahead” with the planned protest.
So what is the protest? Drone Wars. The climate change activist group aims to use drone devices within the no-fly zone as part of efforts to halt the airport’s planned expansion. Police have made arrests already, in an attempt to stop the protests. The group said it had up to 70 more pilots available to fly drones and would “carry on exactly as planned.”
So this protest could get a little serious – disrupting planes around an airport could result in many flight delays affecting 1000s and even potentially some air accident resulting in deaths. We can see in the inset chart that drone disruption in the U.K. is on the rise – perhaps just at the beginning of some major trend that could go global.
More nefarious terror groups have adopted drone technology due to their low cost, ability to target, and ease of adaptability for specific tasks. It is already happening with Hezbollah and allegedly with the Houthi rebels, who have used drones to ram Saudi air defenses in Yemen. Two drones, each equipped with a kilogram of powerful plastic explosives, were used in an attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It may have ushered in a foreboding new era – terrorism by drones.
It doesn’t stop at terrorism and protests – crime as well. Currently mostly used for drug and cash drops, but soon many privately own drones can get weaponized to commit violent acts – such as targeted assassinations. Drones can be equipped with all kinds of remotely operated (or via artificial intelligence -AI) armaments. They can be an individual unit or even swarms, acting via some programmed AI. Perhaps even with detachable mini-drones or even ground-based robots. Then there is the issue of hacking the drone – let’s not even get started on this. With the growing technology – pardon the pun – the sky is the limit.
The private-sector commercial and personal use of drones will likely be the norm in society. Drones have already been used to deliver pizzas and packages. You can see in the inset chart, that the growth in the consumer drone market is exploding. If by, 2025 companies are regularly using drones to make home deliveries, this could make for highly congested airspace and potentially make it easier for nefarious actors to hide weaponized drones among the larger cluster of drone traffic.
Governments are springing into action to start to regulate drones. Out of around 200 countries, about 45 had passed drone laws. In a few countries (15), there is an all-out ban. Soon technologies may be envisioned to defend against the attacking drones – perhaps a sub-growth area for drone manufactures. We then will have full-on Drone Wars.
News Forecasters asks how likely is this drone war future to exist? It’s almost a certainty. The low cost to entry and its effectiveness will make a world we can only imagine today. Government laws will do little, as the technology Pandora’s box is already opened. Eyes to the sky.
A video presentation of this subject: