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Drones Making Appearance in Western Mass Skies

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — A local man decided to buy a drone equipped with a camera to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area, and he’s already used it to capture some local news. But some people worry the growing popularity of this technology could lead to invasion of your privacy.

It’s an aircraft without a human pilot: a drone. Petr Privedenyuk bought his drone this week on the internet. It captured video of Tuesday morning’s accident on 291.

“We drove by that accident and we pulled off the highway and put the drone in the air to see from the sky how far the traffic goes back,” said Privedenyuk.

It flies up to 1,000 feet in the air and at its peak you can barely spot it. The aerial view is like no other.

“You can see downtown Springfield from here,” said Privedenyuk.

You can hook a phone up to the device to the remote and see the picture as it’s flying.

“What’s happened is the sensor technology has caught up, little tiny cameras that we all know from our i phones and other things it changes the invasiveness of this technology,” said Paul Voss, professor at Smith College.

Privacy is an issue, though. There’s the question of where drones can go and who owns the airspace.

A resolution in Northampton, Amherst and Leverett states that no drone shall have the “public right of transit” through private property in town.

“The battle between landowners and aviation industry goes back a century. People have been fighting really, really hard [for] the aviation industry to take control of the air space and landowners to assert their right to something,” said Voss.

On the flip side, Voss said the technology can be used in ways that are non-invasive and safe, like for research where he teaches at Smith College, and checking out the ball field with Petr at the park.

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