Monday, June 29, 2015

drone whacks bystander

"The 25-year-old woman was standing near Fourth Avenue and Madison Street when the 18-inch-by-18-inch drone crashed into a building and fell into the crowd, striking the woman in the head, according to Seattle police. The woman’s boyfriend caught her as she fell to the ground.
An off-duty firefighter helped treat the woman and called for police.
One of the victim’s friends turned over the damaged drone to police. The friend also gave police photographs of a man who may have been piloting the aircraft."

See, I don't mind rules that keep drones away from crowds.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Neighbor shoots drone, pays for fix

"Most of the hexacopter survived the crash intact, but Joe ended up needing to replace about $700 worth of equipment, which he asked McBay to cover, in light of the fact that he’d shot the drone down, and all. McBay said he would split the cost with Joe, but declined to pay the full amount, so Joe took his neighbor to court - and won.
Property owners have legitimate concerns about camera-wielding drones photographing their property, where the law says there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy, but it’s not yet clear what legal recourse you have if your neighbor is using a drone to peep into your bedroom window or just to be nosy about your gardening methods. Legal responses to trespassing vary from state to state, and the courts haven’t agreed yet whether drone flights count as trespassing."

I have no problem with rules that keep me from flying over my neighbors' property.  I'd be happy with rules that require permission before a drone can fly over private property.

Monday, June 22, 2015

3 good buys for video quadcopters, with samples

"The best of the camera drones to buy is the DJI Inspire 1. The DJI Inspire 1 has a cutting edge design that allows for two controllers to be used simultaneously — one to control the drone’s flight, and the other to control the camera. This drone with camera gives users an unprecedented level of control for recording and snapping photos."

"For a cheaper option, Yuneec’s Q500 Typhoon drone with camera is a great option that will save you a significant amount of money. It comes in at just $1,249, and still has a ton of great features. While it’s not possible to capture 4K video with it, the Yuneec Q500 is capable of recording 1080P surveillance footage at 60FPS and snaps still photos at 16 megapixels. It also has a 3-Axis Gimbal to help get the perfect shot. It has a wide angle 130-degree field of view lens."

"If you’re looking for the cheap camera drone option, the clear choice is the Parrot Bebop Quadcopter that has 14MP FULL HD 1080P capabilities for a fraction of the price of the other drones on this list. Obviously, the price drop means it comes with significantly less features. There’s no 4K capabilities nor does it record in 60FPS. But it does record full 1080P HD videos at 30FPS and can take stills at 14 megapixels. You can read our full Parrot Bebop Drone review here."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

quadcopter racing in Australia

"FPV is such a different, immersive experience, everyone's wanting to be that Star Wars pod racer, going in between the hills," says Nowak. "When I fly full-sized aircraft I see things and think, 'oh it would be so fun to dive in between that,' but I can't because it's my life at stake and you've got to take it a bit more seriously. With these thing I can now do that. And if I get it wrong, worst case, I break a frame and I have to build a new one."

I've seen a little group here setting up foam obstacles in an open field.  Looks like fun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Catch an Evil Drone

"ON APRIL 22nd a drone carrying radioactive sand landed on the roof of the Japanese prime minister’s office in Tokyo. It was the latest of a string of incidents around the world involving small drones. Last year more than a dozen French nuclear plants were buzzed by them. In January one crashed on the White House lawn. In February and early March several were spotted hovering near the Eiffel tower and other Parisian landmarks. Later in March someone attempted to fly one full of drugs (and also a screwdriver and a mobile phone) into a British prison. The employment of drones for nefarious, or potentially nefarious, purposes thus seems to have begun in earnest. It is only a matter of time before somebody attempts to use a drone, perhaps carrying an explosive payload, to cause serious damage or injury. The question for the authorities is how to try to stop this happening."

Yeah, yeah. New technology is going to destroy society. Have we heard that before?  Of course drones can be used for bad as well as good. Every leap in technology from fire to the printing press to drones is capable of good and bad.  We should prepare though, as this article is showing, to counter the nuts who misuse drones.

Friday, June 12, 2015

quadcopter investigates crop circles in Russia

"Puzzled by the “alien patterns” in a wheat field in the Republic of Adygea earlier this week, local residents sent a drone to investigate the series of mysterious crop circles. Meanwhile similar shapes have also surfaced in the Moscow region."

As I understand it, you don't want people walking around in the crop circle before it's investigated, so they don't spoil the evidence of how the crop circle was created. This one looks like people actually walked around in it while it was being made!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DJI adds some great features to new quadcopter

"So perhaps it was just a matter of time before industry heavyweight DJI came to the party with what it claims is the first commercially-available collision avoidance system for drones. Guidance relies on an array of ultrasonic sensors and stereo cameras to detect when the drone flies too close to objects, with this range configurable and can extend to 20 m (65 ft)."

"Ready to fly out of the box with dual battery slots and a whopping 40 minutes flight time, the Matrice 100 features several communication ports, power supply leads and expansion bays for extras components, so that additional hardware can be fixed to the drone to afford it new functionality. "