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This Is Fiction!

Reports Of Squabbles Between Drones On Street Lamp Posts Have Doubled This Year #DesignFiction

As the recent mobile phone footage of a drone squabble in the Mission District demonstrates, space on our cities street lamps has become extremely valuable. Drone programmers and operators have developed a wide range of approaches to ensure their drones, and the drones of  their partners, are getting access to the power charging stations available on the modern city lamp post.

With the wide range of drones in operation in the average city in 2021, the number of drones looking for a place to charge at any given moment has outpaced the number of light posts, and the number of slots available per post. This has occurred even though a majority of the legacy lamp posts has been replaced with newer versions that maximize the quantity of available landing and charging slots. 

Even with the addition of private charging stations that have emerged for fleets, the number of public charging stations available in the city is not enough. It has gotten so bad, that many drone operators have resorted to bad behavior like forcing the crash of competitor drones and stealing the slots, or employing squatter drones whose only job is to squat on slot until an approved drone on their network is in need of a charge. The squatter drone then hovers nearby to reclaim spot when finished. 

Some cities have started selling access to slots for a premium, in addition to the surcharge placed on power consumption. Others are requiring drones to programmatically give priority to more critical drone operations like health care and policing units. Here in San Francisco, the mayor has imposed a new fine for drone operators whose vehicles demonstrate aggressive behavior, until a suitable solution can be found.

City drone incident response teams have been overwhelmed, and corporate incident response teams have formed as well. When you couple all of this with the rise in the number of smartphone camera videos of incidents, it is clear we have a growing problem on our hands.