Paris Drone Festival Takes Place at the Champs-Elysées
The Champs-Elysees in Paris provided the venue for a mini air show in which high-tech toys belonging to drone enthusiasts flew over the popular Paris avenue. With full concentration, devotees steered the remote-controlled flying gadgets through a brilliantly-coloured obstacle course complemented by commentary befitting a Formula One race.
Traditionally, drones with camera are used for aerial photography, surveillance, and more controversially as part of the secretive counter-terror campaign of the United States. However, this festival featured demonstrations and a race involving the remote-controlled devices which are increasingly being used as toys.
“It’s really fascinating to be at the Champs-Elysees, one of the world’s most famous places,” said 19-year-old Dunkan Bossian, one of the pilots who took part in the race.
27-year-old German entrant, Julia Muller, added: “Occasions like this are vital to show people that drones should not be seen as just dangerous machines but they can also be used for fun and leisure.”
A part of the Champs-Elysees was converted into an aviary for drones just for the event, with a space of about 140 meters long and 8 meters high being confined in netting.
A city official, Louis Missika, told AFP that “Everybody has chosen to use the drone for leisure activities, they were the most popular Christmas present last year.” However, “people need to understand that they are not toys and there are strict regulations for good reasons.” Missika added that “You can’t fly your drone in the park in the same way that you would play badminton.”
There is also a teaching component to the festival. There are displays showing the regulations guiding drones, the various uses of drones, and workshops on how to pilot them where amateurs got to try them out. The postal service also used the opportunity of the festival to demonstrate a delivery drone of about 3.7 kilos (eight pounds) weight, which is able to carry mails weighing 3 kilos for more than 20 kilometers.
France leads the civilian drones market, selling around 300,000 of the gadgets last year, including drones for beginners. The turnover in the industry stands at 300 million euros (about $335 million), with 60 million euros out of that amount being in the professional drone sector.
The city also introduced two permanent sites where amateurs will be allowed to fly their drones every Sunday starting from September 18. The sites are located at Parc de la Villette in the north of Paris and Bois de Boulogne Park to the west.
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