Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Parrot's X-wing quadcopter

"The Parrot Swing takes off vertically and translates from one place to another. But if you push the joystick forward, the drone will tilt forward and use its polystyrene wings to fly more like a plane. In this flying mode, it kind of looks like an X-wing."

This doesn't say, but does the camera angle transition too?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Can you shoot down a drone over your property?

"For now, American law does not recognize the concept of aerial trespass. But as the consumer drone age has taken flight, legal scholars have increasingly wondered about this situation. The best case-law on the issue dates back to 1946, long before inexpensive consumer drones were technically feasible. That year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case known as United States v. Causby that a farmer in North Carolina could assert property rights up to 83 feet in the air.
In that case, American military aircraft were flying above his farm, disturbing his sleep and upsetting his chickens. As such, the court found he was owed compensation. However, the same decision also specifically mentioned a 'minimum safe altitude of flight' at 500 feet—leaving the zone between 83 and 500 feet as a legal gray area. 'The landowner owns at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land,' the court concluded.
Last year, a pilot in Stanislaus County, California, filed a small claims lawsuit against a neighbor who shot down his drone and won. However, it is not clear whether the pilot managed to collect. Similarly, a case ensued in Kentucky after a man shot down a drone that he believed was flying above his property. The shooter in that case, William Merideth, was cleared of local charges, including wanton endangerment."

Maybe have a compromise and you can capture it, but not destroy it?

The Pentagon worries about quadcopters

"The U.S. military has begun studying small drones and how best to respond. Earlier this month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a request for ideas on how to protect troops from the new threat; it is planning a workshop next month. 'We're looking for scalable, modular, and affordable approaches that could be fielded within the next three to four years and could rapidly evolve with threat and tactical advancements,' a DARPA program manager, Jean-Charles Ledé, said in a statement.
Closer to the battlefield, the Marine Corps has begun integrating small drones into training exercises at the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., Neller said. A Marine or soldier who spots a drone overhead would typically shoot it down, but smaller drones can operate surreptitiously and elude radar since they are barely larger than a bird. Their small motors make acoustic detection enormously hard, and while wide-area camera sensors deployed on the ground might detect a drone, they usually require large computational resources in the field. One solution is an electronic signal jammer to prevent a drone's operator from flying within a certain vicinity, an approach that U.S. forces have studied."

You build something useful and beneficial, then the bad guys get hold of it... every time.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

quadcopter crashes, lady steals it, hilarity ensues

"When the drone lost signal, it landed on the ground – as it’s programmed to do. While the landing was ordinary, what happened next was anything but. A passerby grabs the drone and stuffs it under her shirt, in what looks like a theft. But the woman was unaware that the GoPro was still recording, and it captured not only the entire incident, but her elaborate scheme (warning: video contains strong language) that ended involving law enforcement."

Good grief.  Keep those cameras rolling is all I can say.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Want good news coverage? Have a drone handy

the TV news media are understanding the value of quadcopters now. This will every soon be a required tool in their toolkit to cover the news.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"GREEN BAY (WKOW) -- Federal officials are investigating a man who flew a drone over Lambeau Field during a Packers home game last Thursday.

Green Bay police say the incident raises serious security concerns. The drone was seen near the north scoreboard.

City ordinance and federal law ban drones near Lambeau because of the high capacity and potential for a security breach."

Follow the rules, people.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Quadcopters bring contraband to prisons

"Drones carrying large amounts of drugs and mobile phones have been intercepted by police as they were being flown near a north London jail.
One device crashed after it was tracked flying over HMP Pentonville on 14 August, while another drone was seized mid-flight later the same day.
On 13 August, a man was spotted by officers acting suspiciously near the prison. He fled but dropped two bags of class B drugs and phones."

As is usually the case, useful things can be used for good and bad.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

70 mph quadcopter might be for you!

"Teal can fly faster than 70 mph, with no out-of-the-box modifications needed, and the drone is able to withstand 40 mph gusts. Matus said he's been able to fly the drone as fast as 85 mph, and he's working on add-ons that can make it go even faster.
Teal comes built with a tiny Nvidia computer that is capable of machine learning and image recognition. It's essentially a flying computer, Matus said. Further, Matus said the platform will come with an open software development kit, which he hopes app developers and other drone makers will adopt.
At $1,300, Teal's price falls in line with the market-leading DJI Phantom series."

I'm personally not interested in speed, but this looks pretty impressive.

When drones go rogue; a case from the 1950s

"But there was a problem. The rockets failed to launch when the pilots first attempted to fire them using an automatic system – they would have to switch to manual. But at that point the drone changed its course again, this time back towards Los Angeles. The situation was becoming more urgent. An initial volley of 42 rockets was fired, to no avail. The second plane fired another 42 – still no hit. The drone was now nearing a suburban town called Newhall. Another volley. All the rockets missed.
Finally, as the drone turned in the direction of Palmdale, each plane fired off another round of rockets – this time 30 each. It was their last chance. But every rocket missed; 208 rockets fired and no luck. The drone flew on but ran out of fuel. Eventually, it crashed eight miles north of Palmdale, cutting through electric cables as it ploughed into the ground."

So what would happen today if a Predator decided to take off on its own?

Friday, August 12, 2016

2106 Drone Nationals; a sport is being born!

It's great to see the sport progressing. I was wondering how they would handle spectators to keep them safe, and it looks like they've partially figured that out now.