Celebrities could soon be running for cover as paparazzi deploy unmanned drones to take their pictures, according to reports.
So-called “personal drones” mounted with cameras have already been used by police in crime fighting and photographers believe they could also be used to track stars.
Remote controlled flying devices about the size of pizza boxes are being developed by several companies and universities in the US and could be in use by the end of next year.
They are much smaller, simpler versions of the Predator drones used by the CIA to fire missiles in Afghanistan.
Ken Rinaldo, an associate professor at Ohio State University, is working on the “Paparazzi Drone.” At the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada earlier this year he deployed “Paparazzi Bots,” human-sized robots which followed athletes and spectators and took photographs of them.
Prof Rinaldo told the Wall Street Journal his drones would have “a lot of flash and bling, probably some lasers too.” The US Federal Aviation Administration advises that only the government should use unmanned drones over US airspace.
However, it does not have rules prohibiting the flying of mini-drones for recreational purposes, and only advises that such aircraft be flown at low altitude and away from airports.