Monday, January 26, 2015

quadcopter crashes on White House lawn

"(Reuters) - A U.S. Secret Service officer on duty at the White House early on Monday saw, and heard, a two-foot-wide commercial "quad copter" fly at a low altitude into the heavily guarded complex, crashing on the southeast side, the agency said."

See, this is what's going to make the FAA put strict rules on ALL quadcopters.  Knock it off, idiots.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Citrus parade via quadcopter

"The annual FĂȘte du citron in Menton, France is like America's Rose Parade, but with citrus. BirdeyeCam was on hand to give a drone's eye view of this year's artistry.
The festival has been a tradition for over 80 years. Below are street view shots that show the amount of detail involved, from a great set by Laurent Carles."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Calgary by quadcopter

Just a nice use of aerial video;

quadcopter flies around congressional hearing

"Colin Guinn, an executive with 3D Robotics, released the unmanned aerial vehicle during a hearing on the subject of drone development, much to the amazement of the committee’s chairman, Representative Lamar Smith (R., Texas).
'I was hoping you’d fly it around the whole room — not just one location,' Smith said after the drone landed."

It's good that our congress critters can see how small most drones are and get a feel for what they are like.

using drones as drug mules

"uthorities in Tijuana, Mexico recovered a drone carrying nearly 7 pounds of methamphetamine two miles from the U.S. border on Tuesday, U-T San Diego reported.
The drone was found in a supermarket parking lot following an anonymous tip to police around 9:50 p.m. that night. It was identified as a 'Spread Wings 900' model, which is reportedly available online for $1,400. The drone has six propellers and runs on a lithium battery.
Police also recovered six packages containing the drug, which were attached to the drone with tape.
'The drone probably couldn’t hold the weight of the cargo, and that’s why it fell,' police said in a statement on the department’s Facebook page."

As the article notes, there are drawbacks to this method of hauling illegal drugs.  But once again we see that good things can be used for bad purposes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

quadcopter rodeo in Nevada

"In the Game Of Drones fights, two pilots try to bash each other’s drones out of the sky. That’s typically accomplished by maneuvering above one’s opponent and then crashing down on top of their propellers. The first drone to get knocked down three times loses.
If damaged, a drone’s pilot has 90 seconds to fix their vehicle, often by replacing a shattered propeller, and get it back up in the air to avoid a TKO. The battles resemble an aerial thumbwar, in that a missed attack leaves you low and vulnerable to a counter-strike.
Anyone who grew up watching BattleBots knows the thrill of technological competition. While the drone rodeo and Game Of Drones might seem niche now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see drone or robot sports get quite popular over the next five years. Seeing athletes risk their safety for our entertainment feels a lot less guilty when they’re machines."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

FAA rules slowed by commercial pilots fearing competition

"A Wall Street Journal report suggests that the FAA is dragging its feet on drone rules large part due to pressure from commercial pilots whose job could be at risk from commercial competition:
Aerial surveyors, photographers and moviemaking pilots are increasingly losing business to robots that often can do their jobs faster, cheaper and better. That competition, paired with concerns about midair collisions with drones, has made commercial pilots some of the fiercest opponents to unmanned aircraft.
The Journal account also points to why, in the handful of cases where the FAA has granted an exemption to the ban on commercial drone use, it has imposed onerous conditions:
In many of those exemptions, the Air Line Pilots Association, the biggest U.S. pilots union, and the National Agricultural Aviation Association, a trade group for crop dusters, helped persuade the FAA to place tight restrictions on the drone flights, including requiring operators to have pilot licenses and to keep the devices within eyeshot."

Fear of competition?  Could be a part of the equation.  But I still think good rules and stiff fines would make everybody happy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CNN wants to use drones

"The Time Warner-owned company has joined the small but slowly expanding group of media and entertainment companies given a green light by the US government to start testing unmanned aerial vehicles in its news-gathering and other productions.
It becomes the first major US television enterprise to clear tough hurdles imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration and gain permission to begin using so-called UAVs on a regular basis. Under an FAA deal known as a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, CNN will be allowed to begin experimenting with the camera-bearing devices while providing feedback to the federal agency that will help the Obama administration plan how to integrate drones into civilian airspace."

I could see drones being very helpful in covering some news events.  I also hope there are restrictions on how the media can use them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Quadcopters at CES

"Move over selfie stick. The sky (or maybe the convention center ceiling) is the limit at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show. Flying quadcopters, octocopters and wearable cameras that boomerang back to you — all have one thing in common: they are able to capture every moment like an eye in the sky.
Drones are so ubiquitous at this year’s CES, event organizers sponsored the Game of Drones, where remote-controlled drones faced off in a rowdy game of skyward bumper cars. For the event, participants used the Action Sports Airframe, a drone body design that’s able to resist fire, water and extreme impacts. The resulting carnage of crashes and broken blades.
These are just a few of the drones, cameras and copters buzzing around CES this year, but it’s clear we can expect more in the near future. Ben Wood, senior analyst as CCS Insights said drones, while exceedingly fun, are a magnet for all sorts of privacy and safety issues.
Reporting for CES, Justin Siraj said, 'Unit sales of consumer drones are expected to hit 400,000 in 2015'.”