At first, it seemed like drones were harmless. They're relatively small, they're fun to fly, they take great video—it didn't really seem like drones could do any harm.
Then, as the tech became more and more popular, problems started to arise. Complaints of noise pollution, invasion of privacy, drones going where they shouldn't—people suddenly realized that whoever was piloting the drone made a big difference. Thankfully, most drone-related incidents were relatively self-contained, and they didn't affect all that many people ... until now.
On Monday afternoon, Oct. 26, a small quadcopter drone in West Hollywood, Calif., accidentally collided with some nearby power lines. Somewhat predictably, this completely knocked out power in the surrounding area: for three hours, roughly 650 local residents were without power until the Los Angeles City Fire Department was able to restore it.
On its own, it doesn't sound all that bad, but the implications of a crash like this are.
First and foremost, it's extremely lucky that no one was hurt. Downed electrical cables are no joke, and if someone had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, they could have been killed.
Secondly, the whole situation could have been much, much worse. In a residential area, losing power is mostly a nuisance; for businesses, it's a potential loss of income. But what if the drone had crashed near a hospital, or a school?
Look, there's nothing inherently wrong with drones: when used properly, they can capture some amazing moments in a way that most people never dreamed they could. However, without proper training or regulation, something like this happens—and it could have been a whole lot worse.
As of this writing, no arrests have been made.