Thursday, August 27, 2015

Boeing builds an anti-drone laser

"Hang on to your drone. Boeing’s developed a laser cannon specifically designed to turn unmanned aircraft into flaming wreckage.
The aerospace company’s new weapon system, which it publicly tested this week in a New Mexico industrial park, isn’t quite as cool as what you see in Star Wars—there’s no flying beams of light, no “pew! pew!” sound effects. But it is nonetheless a working laser cannon, and it will take your drone down."

North Dakota police weaponize their drones

"According to The Daily Beast, the bill, originally proposed by Republican state representative Rick Becker, was actually meant to outlaw the potential for police in the state to add weapons to drones. Amendments to the bill were then suggested by a lobbyist for the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association (NDPOA), Bruce Burkett, which allowed for weapons like tasers and bean-bag guns to be included in drones used for policing.
Mike Reitan, the president of the NDPOA, told Quartz that, originally, the bill would’ve required police to get a search warrant to fly a drone in a police operation, whereas that’s not required for something like a helicopter. “If you’re walking down the street and you see a handgun in someone’s yard, you’re not prohibited from looking at it,” Reitan said, regarding privacy concerns. He added that the discussion to add non-lethal weaponry into the bill was based around “future developments” in drone technology. He outlined a future scenario where a SWAT team could call for a drone to be sent in that can deploy pepper spray."

This is not a slippery slope. This is already falling into the crevice.  Bad idea!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

quadcopter on a string

"The Fotokite Phi, on the other hand, greatly reduces the learning curve by essentially being a flying selfie stick. Designed by Perspective Robotics AG, the Phi landed on crowdfunding site Indiegogo today and follows the same path as the company's professional version in use by the BBC and other news outlets by eschewing a remote controller or mobile app for a simple retractable leash. And instead of having a built-in camera, it just uses a GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 camera.
Made to be ultraportable, the Phi folds down and fits entirely inside a tube roughly the size of a whisky bottle and with a camera it weighs just 350 grams (12.3 ounces). To get it ready to fly, you fold down the arms and twist a lock on top. Then you can attach a GoPro to the camera housing in front."

The concept here is interesting. I'm not sure 25 feet is a long enough cord though.  on the other hand, it makes learning how to use the darn thing a snap.

Concerned citizen downs a drone, goes to jail

"Lehecka was released eight hours later after posting a $10,000 bail, according to the newspaper.
On Tuesday, however, the district attorney's office declined to press charges against Lehecka.
The aircraft belonged to a pilot who works for a drone company, who said he was not invading the group’s privacy and suffered $750 in damage from the drone’s crash-landing."

Simple rule; don't fly over anybody unless you have their permission.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"Romain Dillet of TechCrunch tried a Slick prototype first-hand. He said the stabilizer was amazing especially when you look around. Instead of recording the sudden movements, the camera smoothly moves from one angle to another. This accessory may not be for everyone. But a large number of GoPro video professionals may find it useful. It works with almost all the GoPro cameras, including the recently announced Hero4 Session.
Slick launched it Tuesday with an Indiegogo campaign. The startup has priced it at $199, and plans to start shipping the accessory in March 2016."

Hm. If this doesn't weight too much, it might be good on a quadcopter.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Drones are stressing out animals

"The end goal would be to figure out whether repeated drone use is likely to be harmful to animals. With the bears, for instance, Ditmer says there is a chance that the animals could become accustomed to drones over time and be less bothered by them. Other research could also examine whether different heights, speeds or even sound frequencies are less likely to bother the animals.
To be clear, Ditmer says, his team’s study is not meant to advocate against the use of UAVs, which have high potential for both conservation and research applications. 'We’re just highlighting a potential issue that needs to come into closer consideration when we decide where and where to use them,' he says."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Drone racing growing as a sport

"Property developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is investing $1 million in the Drone Racing League, a New York startup that aims to hold its first public race later this year, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. It’s a move that reflects the growing interest in drones for commercial and recreational use in the US, and brings first-person view (FPV) drone racing – till now an underground activity for hobbyists – one step closer to becoming a professional sport."

This has quite a ways to go yet, but there have been model car races forever.  As soon as the FCC gets it's butt moving, this could be a thing.

Norway via quadcopter

This amazing drone footage was shot from on top of a mountain in Norway and shows the stunning beauty of the landscape.(Credit: ViralHog)

Posted by The Weather Channel on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Eagle attacks a drone

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

how to get a quadcopter out of a tree

or, my brother used a tennis ball with a long string attached.

This is the reason you want your name and phone number clearly on your drone, so if you have to leave it, the wind might knock it down later and a good samaritan will call you up.

quadcopter flies over prison wall, distributes goodies

"It wasn't until authorities later reviewed surveillance tape that they saw what led to the fisticuffs: A drone had flown over the yard and dropped a package.
Inmates were able to get their hands on the delivery containing 144.5 grams of tobacco, 65.4 grams of marijuana and 6.6 grams of heroin before the fight ensued and the package was thrown into the prison's south yard, the incident report said.
If the heroin is half pure, that package amounts to about 140 individual doses, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Officers had to use pepper spray to get the situation under control, according to the report. Inmates were later strip-searched before being allowed to return to their cells."

Monday, August 3, 2015

quadcopter owner defends himself after shotgun blasts his drone

"The owner of the drone, David Boggs, just released the flight data recorder from his iPad, saying it tracks the drone's path. In a video Boggs sent WDRB, he comments on drone's path 40 seconds before, during and after the incident.
'We are now one minute and 18 seconds into the flight,' he says on the video. 'We are now 193 feet above the ground. This area here is the world-famous drone slayer home, and this is a neighbor's home, and our friends live over here, and over here, and over here. You will see now that we did not go below this altitude -- we even went higher -- nor did we hover over their house to look in. And for sure didn't descend down to no 10 feet, or look under someone's canopy, or at somebody's daughter.'
'We are right now one minute, 56 seconds over the drone slayer's house. We're still not on his property line -- we're just now getting ready to cross it....In less than two seconds...we are outside of his property, still at 272 feet. He shot the drone here, and you'll see it rapidly lose altitude, and the drone crash. Boom -- there it goes. Crazy, in the words of the great Paul Harvey, now you know the rest of the story.'"

Still, the drone should not have flown over private property.  I'm not with shooting the thing out of the sky.  There should be respect on both sides. Get permission before flying over private property.