Canada has just tightened the rules on recreational drone use

DJI Phantom 4 Pro+
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Drone fans north of the border have been hit with tough new rules restricting how and where they can use their flying toys.

Announced on Thursday by Canadian transport minister Marc Garneau, the new regulations place strict limitations on drone flights close to people, animals, and buildings.

The rules, aimed specifically at noncommercial drone flights, also stipulate that the machines should be kept well clear of airports.

“I am taking measures now, before a drone hits an airplane and causes a catastrophic accident,” Garneau told the Globe and Mail, adding, “That’s the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps me up at night.”

Folks with an unmanned aerial vehicle weighing more than 0.5 pounds (250 grams) and up to 77 pounds (35 kg) are now banned from operating the machine within 5.6 miles (9 km) of any airport as well as other places where aircraft operate such as heliports or seaplane bases.

Drones must stay within 295 feet (90 meters) of the ground, and keep at least 246 feet (75 meters) from buildings. Flights near forest fires and first-responder emergency locations are also prohibited under the new rules.

Canada already had a set of regulations in place aimed at drone users, but in most cases violators had no fear of punishment.

However, from this week, anyone breaking the rules could face fines of up to $3,000 Canadian dollars (about $2,250), around $800 more than the maximum fine for comparable offenses in the United States, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents.

Canadian officials have become increasingly worried about rogue drone flights, with reported incidents near airports leaping from 41 three years ago to 148 last year.

Garneau told the Globe and Mail the government needed to do “everything in our power to stop this from happening.”

However, aware that the drone market is rapidly developing with many tech companies researching new technologies, the minister was keen to reassure the industry that the government would continue to encourage innovation in the sector, adding, “But like any new technology, drones must be used with care. And we cannot wait until something bad happens before we act.”

The increasing popularity of consumer drones has left many governments around the world scrabbling to create new rules to encourage safe and responsible flying. In the U.S., the FAA has a Fly for Fun web page explaining its own guidelines for recreational users, which include flying at or below 400 feet (122 meters), keeping the machine in sight at all times, staying well away from airports, and keeping clear of people. You can find out more here.


Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.

Jury fines Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm patents

In a serious blow to Apple in its legal battle against Qualcomm, a San Diego jury fined Apple $32 million for infringing on three Qualcomm-owned patents. The decision marks the latest news in a string of court dates for the two companies.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.