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Vodafone's 4G UAV Tracking Trial Gives Drones Licence Plates

Vodafone’s trialling a new system which will see 4G SIMs embedded in drones, making them easier to detect at long ranges and therefore easier to keep out of the flight paths of larger aircraft. The new Radio Positioning System, which Vodafone is claiming as a world-first will also allow for automatic geofencing, forcing UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle) to stick to a certain flight path, the ability for authorities to remotely assume control of the vehicle and also SIM-based e-identification, effectively turning your drone’s SIM’s ICCID – the little grey number on the back – into a licence plate. Drones are too small to be detected by radar and while the Civil Aviation Authority and Ofcom have published guidelines about where you can fly drones and what radio frequencies can be used, that’s not going to stop anyone who isn’t particularly bothered about breaking the law[1].

Vodafone Group’s chief technology officer Johan Wibergh, said: “This groundbreaking innovation by Vodafone will help to ensure the skies stay safe as drones become ubiquitous, everywhere.” Vodafone hopes that the tech behind RPS will also be able to better help you keep track of lost devices and replace the need for GPS antennas in IoT systems, particularly for tracking items indoors. Read next: Amazon Testing Delivery Drones in UK[2]

In terms of tracking drones, RPS allows for accurate real-time monitoring of a UAV’s location at distances of up to 50 metres across its network and have already conducted a low-scale trial in Sevilla, Spain with an X-UAV model, weighing 2 kilograms. It’s now looking at running further trials in Spain and Germany this year and intends to have the service ready for commercial use in 2019. There are no details yet of any trials taking place in the UK, though last year, the government announced plans[3] for a drone registration system.

How compatible the UK government’s new rules would be with those of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) after March 2019, like everything, is up for debate. Meanwhile, pan-EU regulations on drone use[4] are expected to be firmed up by the end of the year. Matthew Baldwin, deputy director general of the European Commission, added: “The Commission supports all trials aimed at realising our U-space vision for safe commercial drone operations in the EU – there is a growing network of demonstrations and projects across the EU.

We look forward to hearing the results of Vodafone’s work.”

References

  1. ^ isn’t particularly bothered about breaking the law (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ Amazon Testing Delivery Drones in UK (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ announced plans (www.gov.uk)
  4. ^ pan-EU regulations on drone use (www.easa.europa.eu)

Argos fire-risk fan heater recalled

Retailer and manufacturer Argos has announced a recall of one of its fan heaters after finding it could pose a serious risk to users. The Argos Simple Value 2kW Upright Fan Heater (model number FH03) has been recalled by the retailer as it poses an electric shock and burn risk to users. A recall notice is the most severe level of safety notice, which means the faulty product poses a dangerous threat.[1]

If you own the recalled fan heater you should stop using it immediately.

Return your affected model

Argos has stated that anyone with an affected model should return it to their nearest Argos store for a full refund. Or, if you’d prefer, Argos has also announced that it will replace the product with its Simple Value 2kW convector fan. Read our guide on how to buy the best electric heater if you want to do some more research before committing.[2]

Your rights when there’s a product recall

If you become aware that a product you own has been recalled or has any safety notice issued against it, you have product recall rights.[3]

You should not be charged for any recall work – such as a repair to your machine or collection of the product. The manufacturer of the product should also communicate with you about the recall and state how it will work.

Your rights if you’ve suffered injury

According to the Consumer Protection Act 1987, anyone who is harmed by an unsafe product can sue the manufacturer – even if you didn’t buy the product yourself. You can sue for compensation for death or injury.

You can also sue for damage or loss of private property caused by faulty goods if the damage amounts to at least GBP275.

Read our guide on the Consumer Protection Act for more information on your right to claim compensation[4] if you’ve suffered injury as a result of a faulty product.

References

  1. ^ faulty product (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ how to buy the best electric heater (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ product recall rights (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ right to claim compensation (www.which.co.uk)

PPI-style compensation scheme for leaseholders being considered

Labour MP Justin Madders has secured a second reading of a Bill that aims to introduce a compensation scheme for existing home owners with unfair leasehold terms. Madders said his Leasehold Reform Bill would also seek to introduce a statutory pricing model for purchasing a leasehold at no more than 10 times the annual ground rent. Such a system would involve a simple formula based on a property’s ground rent and the number of years left on its lease, along with a cap.

Ground rent is usually fixed in the lease, but some leases – especially among new build homes – contain a rent escalation clause which causes the ground rent to increase at intervals. Problems with new-builds[1] are common, so know that you’re not alone and you do have rights.

Compensation for leaseholders?

A second reading of the Bill is scheduled for 2 February, where it will be debated further. It’s not known what the redress for mis-sold leaseholds could be.

So far, banks have paid out ?28.2bn in compensation for the PPI scandal[2] since January 2011, with the deadline for claims now set at 29 August 2019.

In July, the government launched an eight-week consultation into ‘unfair leasehold practices’ – with a particular focus on the sale of new-build homes as leaseholds and spiralling ground rent clauses.

References

  1. ^ Problems with new-builds (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ compensation for the PPI scandal (www.which.co.uk)

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