Wednesday, July 4, 2018

tinder-dry Aspen Colorado calls for drones to replace fireworks

"The US town of Aspen is swapping its annual Fourth of July fireworks display for a drone show - because of a wildfire risk in the drought-hit area.
Officials say 50 drones will light up the night sky in patriotic colours to mark Independence Day.
The 15-minute show will start at 21:15 local time (03:15 GMT Thursday).
This comes after Colorado's fire authorities introduced strict fire restrictions across huge swathes of the western state."

I approve of this use of drones.  See for example...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Palestinians down an IDF drone with slingshot

"A Palestinian protester near the Gaza border managed to bring down what appears to be an Israeli drone with a rock and a slingshot, a video posted online revealed.
The footage by Press TV shows Palestinians hurling stones at an object which looks like a drone, with a slingshot. A heavy cloud of gray smoke can be seen, while sirens are heard in the background."

pretty good shooting there.  I wonder how high it was.

Friday, May 4, 2018

criminals using drone swarms

The FBI's Joe Mazel told a crowd at the AUVSI Xponential conference this week about a particularly organized gang that used drones to interfere with a hostage situation last winter. As Defense One reports, a swarm of small drones descended on an FBI hostage team, performing "high-speed low passes" in an effort "to flush them" from their position. "We were then blind," Mazel added.
The drones weren't just used to disorientate the FBI, though. According to Mazel, they were the crew's eyes in the sky, pushing video to YouTube so the wider group could keep tabs on the FBI's movements. This was an organized operation, too. Apparently, the drones were brought into the area specifically to disrupt the FBI's rescue efforts. Other specifics of the incident remain "law-enforcement sensitive," Mazel said, but this is just one of many more elaborate ways drones are now being used by criminals.
Surveillance is a big part of it. Criminals have taken to watching police stations to identify witnesses and other friends of the law, as well as casing out facilities to find security holes they may be able to exploit in a robbery.

* * * * *

Like any useful tool, drones can be used for good or bad.  It takes rational laws to help avoid the bad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

FAA made an app for drone pilots

B4UFLY is available for free download in the App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android.
B4UFLY is an easy-to-use smartphone app that helps unmanned aircraft operators determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.
Key features of the B4UFLY app include:
  • A clear "status" indicator that immediately informs the operator about the current or planned location. For example, it shows flying in the Special Flight Rules Area around Washington, D.C. is prohibited.
  • Information on the parameters that drive the status indicator
  • A "Planner Mode" for future flights in different locations
  • Informative, interactive maps with filtering options
  • Links to other FAA UAS resources and regulatory information
For more information, view the B4UFLY Q & A (PDF).

Monday, March 12, 2018

First official use of a quadcopter in crowd control?,7340,L-5159430,00.html

"The defense establishment used a quadcopter to drop gas grenades on rioters in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon-based pan-Arabist satellite television channel Al-Mayadeen reported over the weekend."

Gee, weaponizing quadcopters gets the official treatment now. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

eagles will destroy your drone

"In his first 2½ years flying drones at the mine, Mr. Steven said he lost 12 drones to eagle attacks, which cost his employer, South Africa-based Gold Fields Ltd. , some $210,000. During the past year, when he focused his flying in the morning, he has lost two—with two more close calls.
​​Any successes at deterring wedge-tailed eagle attacks in Australia could provide clues in how to minimize avian obstacles in other regions."

I haven't had any bird interested in my quadcopter yet.  Hopefully it won't happen.