A Springs man says that he returned from work on Friday to witness a drone leaf blower—that is, a motorized leaf blower operated by remote control—blowing the leaves off of his property.
“I didn’t order the service,” says Fred Wilkins, who reported the incident to the Hamptons Police Department. “In fact, I don’t like leaf blowers and was planning on raking the lawn on Saturday. But there was no way to stop the drone leaf blower—there was nobody there to talk to!”
According to Wilkins, when the drone leaf blower finished cleaning his yard, it hovered over his doorstep and dispensed a printed invoice demanding $250 payment for the service—the operator, if he or she existed, was nowhere to be found. Police are investigating.
Hamptons Police and officials enacted a ban on drone leaf blowers just last week after concerns over possible malfunctions, and the protocols to deal with them, arose. Until these protocols are ironed out, lawmakers say the devices are not to be used anywhere inside Hamptons proper, but solutions may be a long way off.
According to the folks tasked with creating these regulations and protocols, drone leaf blower malfunctions would be more dangerous than standard leaf blower mishaps, which have already caused serious mayhem in the Hamptons over the last few years. “Without hands-on operation, these things are essentially like unleashed rabid dogs with no one taking direct responsibility for their actions,” Hamptons Town Board Chairman P. F. Tennyson Emberly says. “It’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
Meanwhile, leaf blower drone manufacturers have joined together to fight the ban, which they say is “egregious” and “damaging to business,” and a lawsuit is forthcoming.