An Amazon.com employee allegedly flew a drone right past Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, sparking even more debate in a city which has grappled with how unmanned aerial vehicles fit into society.
The employee, who was visiting from out of town, told police that the drone did not hit the structure as some reports earlier indicated. The contraption reportedly was not one of Amazon’s high-profile delivery drones, which made news late last year when CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the concept on 60 Minutes.
Interestingly, the incident comes just as President Barack Obama is set to administer new guidelines that relate to the use of drones, according to a report in Politico.
Here’s more from the Seattle Police Department’s blog about the Space Needle fly by:
Seattle’s famous sky-high tourist attraction is still standing after police received reports of a drone crash Tuesday at the Space Needle.
Space Needle security called police just before 8:30 PM after several guests reported a small drone buzz the top of the Needle, and possibly crash into an observation Deck window. Witnesses then saw the drone—described as a white, quad-propeller unmanned aerial vehicle, equipped with a camera—glide to a hotel two blocks east of the Needle, where it landed inside a fifth floor room.
Police found no signs of damage to the top of the Space Needle.
Security staff pointed out the fifth floor hotel room where the drone had landed, and officers went and contacted a man inside. The man told police he’d just flown his drone past the Needle, but disputed he’d struck anything.
He then showed officers video he’d captured during the drone’s flight, which showed it hovering over the Space Needle’s observation deck as tourists waved. Nothing on the video indicated the drone had hit the Needle.
The man told police he was an Amazon.com employee visiting from out of state, and had recently purchased the drone at a hobby shop. Officers then gave the man a crash course on some of Seattle’s recent drone-related controversies, and he agreed not to fly his drone in public while in town.
Previously on GeekWire: High-tech peepers? Cops called after drone spotted outside of Seattle woman’s apartment window