Drone used as witness for Sunshine Coast wedding

Drones used in both love and war

YOU'VE heard of drones being used in war, but now they're being used for love.

Caloundra couple Darren and Fiona Rudking were married with a drone as their witness at a beachside ceremony in December.

"The drone flew through the rose petals after we said 'I do'," Mr Rudking said.

The Rudkings' love for the flying robots has led them to launch Drone Visual Concepts, a business that uses drones to capture video and photographs for weddings and other purposes.

They have enlisted a helicopter pilot and TV newsman to fly a drone with a mounted camera.

The drone flies at 600m and operates under a licence issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Photo: Ben Connolly Photographer
Photo: Ben Connolly Photographer Contributed

"Everybody wants a new thing or something that other people don't have (at their wedding)," Mrs Rudking said.

"All the grooms love it because it's a drone and it's a new toy."

The Rudkings have managed to avoid the spectacular accidents caused by some amateur drone pilots, but this is a real risk in emerging drone-based industries.

Dr Adrian McCallum is a lecturer in science and civil engineering at the University of the Sunshine Coast and had 20 years in the Australian Defence Force.

He said there were many reasons the commercial or recreational use of drones should be tightly regulated.

"There's certainly potential for injury or possibly death from controlled drones," he said.

"The user can hurt themselves, but more importantly they can lose control of it (the drone) or fly it into someone else. Or they can fly it into controlled air space.

"Some of them can weigh up to 10kg, so they could certainly kill someone if they are used by the wrong person."

As drones were becoming cheaper and easier to operate, businesses would inevitably innovate with them, Dr McCallum said.

"We're on the cusp of automated everything," he said.

"There's lots of people out there, particularly savvy businessmen, who are seeing all sorts of ways that automation by way of drones can be used to make money."

He said any service that involved running, flying or manual operating was "fair game" for drones.

While the potential for drones to take over jobs might frighten workers and their unions, Dr McCallum said it was a positive development and an exciting time.

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