I have been using automated utility payments for many years. The main difference is that if I don't pay, a utility company person does the disconnection. It is very reliable and not subject to many errors. And the utility company does not need to assure that some error won't cause an accidental disconnection of my service. The system described in the write-up will be subject to both hardware failures and software faults, and be hundreds of times less reliable. Just think of microsoft company and you will understand about how many bugs can be in the code, causing problems. And how reliable will the series contacts be? Versus how many disconnects does the utility do in a typical year? Is the cost of adding the seldom used disconnect function to every meter less than the cost of one service tech to disconnect the few service connections each month?
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.