You’ll Know the Drones Are Coming When…

… legislation, regulations and codes of conduct mention them.

For example, I spotted a scene  this video today – The First Starship Robot Delivery in Redwood City, California – showing a delivery bot trundling it’s way through city streets…


which got me wondering: does the driver have to give way and stop?

Cue The Highway Code and The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997.

First, The Highway Code:


Hmm… nothing about drones or delivery bots there…

What do the regulations say?

Significance of give-way lines at Zebra crossings

14.  A give-way line included in the markings placed pursuant to regulation 5(1)(b) and Part II of Schedule 1 shall convey to vehicular traffic proceeding towards a Zebra crossing the position at or before which a vehicle should be stopped for the purpose of complying with regulation 25 (precedence of pedestrians over vehicles at Zebra crossings).

Precedence of pedestrians over vehicles at Zebra crossings

25.—(1) Every pedestrian, if he is on the carriageway within the limits of a Zebra crossing, which is not for the time being controlled by a constable in uniform or traffic warden, before any part of a vehicle has entered those limits, shall have precedence within those limits over that vehicle and the driver of the vehicle shall accord such precedence to any such pedestrian.

(2) Where there is a refuge for pedestrians or central reservation on a Zebra crossing, the parts of the crossing situated on each side of the refuge for pedestrians or central reservation shall, for the purposes of this regulation, be treated as separate crossings.

See also recent news reports about how the First self-driving cars will be unmarked so that other drivers don’t try to bully them

Time to set up an alert on things like: drone OR unmanned

And for example, we already have things like The Air Navigation Order 2016 which covers“Small unmanned aircraft”  and “Small unmanned surveillance aircraft” (as referenced in The Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Wales Rally GB) Regulations 2016) or The Air Navigation (Restriction of Flying) (Nuclear Installations) Regulations 2016 which references “small unmanned aircraft”.

PS The above reminds me…


Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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