Friday, October 28, 2016

Now someone can take over your quadcopter in flight

Well that's not very nice.

"It's a radio transmitter that seizes complete control of nearby drones as they're in mid-flight. From then on, the drones are under the full control of the person with the hijacking device. The remote control in the possession of the original operator experiences a loss of all functions, including steering, acceleration, and altitude. The hack works against any drone that communicates over DSMx, a widely used remote control protocol for operating hobbyist drones, planes, helicopters, cars, and boats."

This is pretty scary.  If your quadcopter suddenly veers out of your control and hits someone, how on earth could you prove you were no longer in control?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

military drone swarms; the phrase you will hear more often in the future

"The mini-drones, called Perdix, are government designed yet built with commercial off-the-shelf elements.  William Roper, who reports to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as the Director of the Strategic Capabilities Office, said the effort was showing promise for possible near-term combat advantage.
'They are expendable and fly low as a surveillance asset. You can have a lot of them for a saturation approach. Saturating has an advantage over the thing it has to defend against. Its defender has to take more time and money to defend against it,' Roper told a small group of reporters.
While Roper did not wish to openly discuss the particular sensor technologies used by Perdix, he did explain that they could be quickly launched from an aircraft’s flare dispensers."

Oh boy. They can go in all kinds of directions with this, from surveillance to offense.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

covering the war with drones

ABC News shows the Iraqi army preparing for an assault on Mosul.  I wonder how far quadcopters will be used in covering war?  Overhead views of battles?

Here's a video the Peshmerga made in June;

3D printing and safety concerns; can you trust that design?

"Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the University of South Alabama, and Singapore University of Technology and Design have successfully injected malicious code into a computer which, in turn, added invisible commands to a file containing a 3D model of a drone propeller. When they printed the model and attached it to the drone, the propeller broke upon take-off. This killed the drone.
In short, the exploit, codenamed Dr0wned, was able to modify a digital file that, in turn, destroyed a physical device."

well darn.   This has larger implications of course, but the moral must be; 1) keep your computer secure and don't open files that you aren't 100% sure of, and 2) test your equipment.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

quadcopters can be used for bad too... ISIS

"But this week’s attack marks the first time ISIS fighters have turned a diminutive hobby drone into a deadly weapon, the New York Times reports, and it has Pentagon officials racing to respond to the new threat.
The attack is also a problem for commercial drone companies — particularly DJI, the maker of the popular Phantom — which are now facing questions about how their products end up in the hands of the world’s most notorious terrorist group."

Most commercial quadcopters are too small to carry any sized payload.   But like any good thing, it can also be used for bad.  That's just how life is. So, as DJI says, you try to make it hard for the bad.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

drone catches another drone

"Using machine learning software that’s constantly improving the Airspace’s autonomous capabilities, a user can either specifically target a nearby drone using a mobile app, or the flying sentry can identity them itself using “machine vision and deep learning to detect anomalies in the sky and classify rogue drones”. Here’s to hoping a seagull in the wrong place at the wrong time doesn’t get classified as a target."

I'm thinking it will be a while before it can tell the difernce between a bird and a drone.

Rwanda leads the way in drone delivery

"What is being hailed as the world's first commercial regular drone delivery service is beginning drop-offs in Rwanda.
The operation uses fixed-wing drones that automatically fly to destinations in the central African nation.
They release small packages attached to parachutes without needing to land at the delivery points before returning."

This looks like a great system to fulfill a particular niche.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

weaponized drones now used in war

"Two Kurdish Peshmerga were killed and a pair of French commandos wounded after a booby-trapped drone launched by ISIL fighters blew up earlier this month near Iraq's Mosul city."

"'It seems it was booby-trapped,' Jabbar al-Yawar, secretary-general of the autonomous Kurdish region's defence ministry, told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday, adding that it detonated when soldiers attempted to pick it up."

No longer just a toy or recon device.

Friday, October 7, 2016

how to deal with unwanted drones

"Scientists from the Michigan Technological University have shown off a "drone catcher" that they hope will be used to capture rogue drones.
The' catcher' can be operated autonomously or under the control of ground based pilots. It works by launching a large net at the intended target."

Or maybe this:

"Now we’ll look at how you might automate this attack with a Raspberry Pi, a touchscreen, and a couple of Bash scripts.
I used a great tutorial provided by Adafruit ( to set up my Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen, so that I could launch my attacks with a click. Assuming that you have a Pi already set up, let’s walk through how you could automate this."

Attack of the Raspberry Pi!