Friday, April 28, 2017

Drones help with public safety

https://www.newsledge.com/drones-public-safety-technology/

"NYFD’s interest in drone technology was initially sparked by the 2014 East Harlem gas explosion which killed eight. A local sent up his personal drone which captured an excellent overview of the scene. Two years of research and development later, the NYFD had its own."

Well duh.  When you have a cheap observer that can flit about above from all angles, of course you can see better what it going on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Neighbor shoots drone out of the sky

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/04/man-takes-drone-out-for-a-sunset-flight-drone-gets-shot-down/

"Indeed, Jones watched as his beloved drone came plummeting straight down onto the property of the Coalfield Seventh Day Adventist Church—right next to a neighbor’s home, where young children were playing in the backyard.
'It didn’t hit the ground as hard as it could have,' Jones said. 'When it hit, it broke the left landing gear arm, snapped the molding off the Inspire. But it was still running. Didn’t damage batteries, rotors were intact. Everything was fine, except the left rear motor with a bullet hole in it.'
Jones became the fourth reported drone shooting incident that Ars has been made aware of in nearly two years."


If you're going to fly your drone around your neighborhood, it might be neighborly just to let your neighbors know, in case they might have an issue.  And be armed.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

US army can zap your quadcopter

https://www.rt.com/usa/385441-drone-killing-laser-weapon/

"Amid concerns about Islamic State’s use of weaponized hobbyist drones, the US military is testing a laser weapon designed to take out the aerial menace, and small enough to be mounted on a Stryker armored vehicle.
The Mobile High Energy Laser (MEHEL) fires a 5-kilowatt beam that can either scramble the drone’s circuits and sever its communications with ground control – a 'soft kill' – or destroy it outright in a 'hard kill,' according to the military publication Stars and Stripes.
Vehicles equipped with the MEHEL took part in the 10-day Maneuver Fires Integration Experiment exercises at Fort Sill, Oklahoma last week. A total of 50 drones were shot down, some just a few seconds after being engaged, Army spokeswoman Monica Gutherie said."


Saturday, April 15, 2017

first-hand account of a drone strike in iraq

http://digg.com/video/isis-drone-attack

"At the front lines of the fight in Iraq, ISIS drones outfitted with grenades are an incredibly menacing presence to battalions."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

quadcopter crashes through city hall window

http://buffalonews.com/2017/03/25/drone-crash-lands-buffalo-city-hall-office-23rd-floor/?utm_campaign=puma&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1490447767

"An aerial drone crashed through a window on the 23rd floor of Buffalo City Hall.
No one was in the office when the craft landed in an office late Wednesday afternoon after workers had gone home for the day, police said.
Its operator didn't even know what happened to the drone and later called police asking if anyone had found it."

See, you don't want any Joe-off-the-street flying these things in town.  They should be licensed and trained first.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sheriff finds runaways with drone

http://www.knoe.com/content/news/Bossier-Sheriffs-drone-finds-teens-who-fled-military-style-program-416143303.html

"BENTON, La. (AP) - It was night, and three runaways were hiding in woods. A sheriff's deputy put up a drone with a thermal imaging camera, and found them within a minute.
Two were quickly detained. The camera showed that the third ran through the woods and crossed Interstate 20 in the dark."

Another good use!

Friday, March 17, 2017

US Patriot missile shoots down $200 drone

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/16/14944256/patriot-missile-shot-down-consumer-drone-us-military

"'In fact,' he went on to say, 'we have a very close ally of ours that was dealing with a adversary using small quadcopter UASs, and they shot it down with a Patriot missile.' The problem, he said, wasn’t effectiveness: the tiny drone didn’t stand a chance — the issue is economics. The situation showed: whoever was flying the drone now knows that they can easily undermine this unnamed ally with the missiles. All they need to do is buy more cheap drones and fly them, running up the operational costs of that military."

I wonder how high the drone was?  And what it was made out of?  Curious minds...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Researchers crash drones into dummy

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-09/crashing-drones-into-test-dummies-for-safety

" Reports of errant drone flights—a handful of which were crashes or near misses with planes or helicopters—rose more than 50 percent from January through September 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier. There were 1,367 drone-safety reports to the FAA in that nine-month period, according to the agency.
While the research is still under FAA review, there are early indications of at least one piece of good news for the industry: When small consumer drones made of plastic strike an object like a human head, they tend to break apart, lessening the impact, according to David Arterburn, a researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Arterburn heads the FAA’s research effort to determine how badly a drone would hurt a person, and whether it’s possible to create a class of vehicle that’s so light and soft they aren’t a hazard. The group conducted its crash tests on dummies last summer at Wichita State University in Kansas."

Looks like some useful research.  And fun.  But also remember this video;

Monday, March 6, 2017

Woman shoots at peeping tom drone


FPV paper airplane!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-01/powerup-paper-airplane-drone-tested-and-reviewed

 "And now the PowerUp FPV, a $200 drone, enters the pantheon of paper airplanes. This one comes with eight high-quality pieces of black, German-made origami paper, a twin prop that slides over the creases, and a camera mounted module over the top that sends a live video feed to your phone, and records it on a micro SD Card.
The plane can be launched via a 'throw to fly' mode, where you launch it like a standard paper airplane. That forward motion kicks the motors on—or, well, it should, I could never get this to work right, but my son had no problem. A more consistent takeoff maneuver is to throttle up the propellers first, give it a gentle toss, and away it goes. "

This is one of the most inventive drones I've seen.  You can attach the motor/camera section to any plane design you want.  pretty cool.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

army drone flies itself from Arizona to Colorado

http://www.svherald.com/free_access/missing-shadow-unmanned-aircraft-found-in-colorado/article_bf6c1dac-ef28-11e6-80a7-2fdaa3f4e754.html

"FORT HUACHUCA - The Shadow RQ-7Bv2 unmanned aircraft which lost connectivity with the ground station here Jan. 31 was found today by a hiker in the mountains west of Evergreen, Colorado.
No one was injured, but the aircraft has sustained damage.
Soldiers from Fort Carson, Colorado, along with Clear Creek County and Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff Departments are currently assisting with security and recovery efforts."

If the trajectory was straight then this is a simple case of a wayward drone.  If the trajectory was not straight then more investigation is needed. The article does not say.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Gopro Karma flies through NYC apartment window

http://nypost.com/2017/02/26/drone-smashes-through-womans-apartment-window/

 "A GoPro drone crashed through a Manhattan woman’s 27th-floor window and landed just feet from her as she sat in her living room enjoying a quiet evening at home, police sources said Sunday.
The 66-year-old resident was working on her computer inside the East River high-rise when the hobby craft smashed through the window at around 5:45 p.m., according to the sources."

 Somebody just lost $1000

Redondo Beach police use quadcopters in standoff





An apparent car hijacker was spun out and refused to give up.  Police brought in the quadcopter. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The dog ate my quadcopter

https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/5wgevt/update_dog_ate_neighbors_drone/

"A small update to my neighbor flying his drone in my backyard and attacking my dog:
I was served a summons by a Sheriff's Deputy, neighbor decided to take me to Small Claims over his drone. My MIL is a paralegal secretary, so I was able to get a free consultation with a lawyer where she works to ask some questions about what to bring and how to prepare. He seemed genuinely amused that my neighbor was even trying to sue. He also suggested I counter sue and how I could possibly add in more damages...

 I brought both police reports to court, as well as several photos of my backyard, photos of our shared 8' high privacy fence, medical bills for my dog, and a few short videos I had of him doing fly bys over my dog in the past. His main argument to the judge was that I "maliciously installed a table to allow my dog to jump high enough to catch his drone, which I (somehow) trained him to do". Which, yes I had recently bought a new picnic table, but only so I have somewhere to sit and eat outside. I argued that his flying was causing my dog anxiety and that's what provoked it, and thanks to y'alls advice, that my dog could have potentially died from ingesting part of the drone or if the drone hit him. In the end, he now has to pay me just under $2,000 for various vet bills (xrays, dental exams, sedation, medication etc). He is also banned from flying over my property, and I installed trail cams front and back yards just in case. He seems pretty upset with me, so I wanted to be careful."

Jeezo.  Some people think they can fly over anything at any time.  These are the people who make it tough for the rest of us.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Daesh gets bigger drones

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/02/isis-builds-quadcopter-bomber-with-dji-drone-and-badminton-supplies/

"Priced at $3,300 for sale in the US on its own and for $8,300 as a kit, the Matrice 100 is not exactly in the price range of most military drones. But it is capable of 35 minutes of flight time per battery and has enough power to carry up to 1.2 kilograms of additional payload—as well as UART interfaces to plug in accessories like bomb release servos.
The IS has been fairly aggressive in its use of drones, particularly DJI Phantom drones equipped with single bombs loaded in improvised cup-based bomb bays. Many of them have dropped bombs with plastic tails made with a CNC milling machine, as the open source intelligence site Bellingcat reports."


Friday, February 24, 2017

idiot with a quadcopter causes elk stampede

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-with-drone-causes-1500-elk-to-stampede-in-wyoming/

"JACKSON, Wyo. -- A man with a drone caused 1,500 elk to stampede half a mile, wildlife refuge officials say.
The stampede happened Monday at the National Elk Refuge in western Wyoming. Elk and bison often congregate at the refuge to eat feed put out to help them survive the winter."

$280 fine is not enough.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Drones in Japan; radio broadcast

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/radio/focus/201702170558/

70% of drone use in Japan right now is for aerial crop spraying.

3 companies are working together to make 3d maps of Japan specifically for drones.

There are not many rules yet.  One is no flying over cities or crowds.

quadcopter/dog flying around Japan


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Electric company uses drones to inspect lines

http://www.elp.com/articles/2017/02/xcel-energy-partners-with-faa-on-utility-drone-technology.html

"Xcel Energy announced today a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to research the safe operation of drone technology to inspect critical infrastructure.
The agreement involves using unmanned aircraft systems to inspect more than 20,000 miles of Xcel Energy transmission lines in 10 states. The data collected from diverse climates, conditions and geographies will be used by the federal agency to secure the nation’s airspace now and in the future."

This seems like a really good use for quadcopters.  You can get within feet of a power line and not be in any danger.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sky Net; defense against deadly drones

The March 2017 issue of Wired magazine has an article on Sky Net, which is a company trying to build a defense against "potentially dangerous drones." 

"Over five months in late 2015 and early 2016, the FAA reported 582 incidents of a drone getting close to an aircraft or posing a risk of collision."  So because we have stupid drone pilots who won't obey the rules, we need Sky Net.

The system uses radar jamming, which of course is a problem if you also wipe out legal stuff going on behind your target.  Interesting article.

A quadcopter you can fly in?

http://www.theverge.com/tech/2017/2/14/14608440/dubai-ehang-passenger-drone-tests

"Residents of the city of Dubai are reportedly getting a new toy this summer: a autonomous quadcopter drone capable of carrying passengers. According to a report from the Associated Press, the head of Dubai’s Roads & Transportation Agency announced it would be testing the single-person quadcopter, made by Chinese drone company Ehang, as (in the words of the AP) a 'transport alternative.'
The drone in question was on display at an event during the World Government Summit, but attendees dismissed it as 'just another curiosity,' says the AP, until Road & Transportation head Mattar Al Tayer announced: 'This is not only a model [...] We have actually experimented with this vehicle flying in Dubai's skies.' Al Tayer then said the craft would be flying by the summer, but did not give any other details."

Just ignore those whirling blades of doom...

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Flamethrower quadcopter very useful

http://gizmodo.com/power-company-sends-fire-spewing-drone-to-burn-trash-of-1792482517?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

"Just in case you were worried that the robot uprising was delayed, fear no more. It appears to be right on time, as these fire-spewing drones are sent to burn off trash that gets stuck on high-voltage wires.
The drones are being used by an electric power maintenance company in China to get rid of plastic bags and other debris that get caught in places that are hard to reach with a human in a cherrypicker."

I could imagine this going after a wasp nest or something too.

Drone voyeurs caught in utah

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/peeping-tom-drone_us_58a6847fe4b045cd34c03e56?

"The drone videotaped people in their bathroom or bedrooms in the city of Orem, investigators said. One apparent target who spotted the tiny machine outside of his bathroom window chased it in his truck and grabbed it when it landed. He found several videos of people on the drone’s photo card and delivered it to police in December, investigators told the Salt Lake Tribune.
'The citizen who located the drone was familiar with drones and had a similar one himself' according to a search warrant unsealed this week in court, the Desert News reported. 'There [were] multiple videos recording individuals inside their residences through windows. Some of the recordings were multiple stories high in apartment complexes.'
The cops posted a photo of the drone on their Facebook page along with a grainy picture of a man, his face disguised by police, apparently operating the controls for the eye-in-the-sky lifted from the drone photo card."

Tools can be used for good and bad. that's why you need rules.  I wonder how much of this goes on unnoticed?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

drone jobs are here!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-14/drones-take-eni-s-oil-rig-inspections-airborne?cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

"A British drone operator has won a contract to inspect rigs operated by one of the world’s largest oil producers.
Sky Futures Ltd. will deploy drones at Eni S.p.A. facilities as part of a global three-year contract. The company expects airborne analysis and visualization technology to help improve safety by forecasting issues before they occur."

Nice to see that drones are finally being used in proper places.  This will grow, of course.

Monday, February 6, 2017

300 quadcopters at Super Bowl

https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/05/intel-powered-the-drones-during-lady-gagas-super-bowl-halftime-show/

"One of the secret to Intel’s Shooting Star program is a desktop software suite of programs. The drones’ routes are pre-programmed and each drone does its own thing. The drones do not talk to each other and they lack the hardware to detect collisions. The software determines routes that eliminates collisions.
The drones are simple. They’re about the weight of a volleyball. The housing is Styrofoam and there are simple metal cages around the four props. They are designed to be assembled in less than 15 minutes and Intel builds the drones in a facility in Germany. There are no screws and everything snaps together. And then on the bottom of the drone is the large, multicolored LED light that paints the sky."

I should think if they could talk or at least relate to each other, like a flock of birds, that would be better.  Maybe that's still to come.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

anti-drone shotgun shell


http://www.bluesheepdog.com/2016/03/31/skynet-solution-drones/

"The Advanced Ballistics Concepts SKYNET projectiles are designed to defeat the threat of privacy invasion by unwanted drones. The company has produced 12-gauge shotgun rounds for law enforcement and civilians to use against unwanted aerial intruders. For law enforcement only, the company also provides a 40mm launch able round with a greater expanded radius."

All you need is a shotgun and good aim, and a low-flying drone.

Friday, January 20, 2017

one-time use drones for emergency delivery, biodegrade after

http://newatlas.com/cardboard-delivery-drone/47419/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

"The Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions (APSARA) systems are a heavy-duty cardboard gliders that can be deployed from an aircraft like a C-17 cargo plane, by the hundreds. Star Simpson, hardware developer on the project, tells us that they can then glide up to around 55 mi (88 km) away from the drop point, before circling in and making a precise landing with the cargo in tow.
'We have done tests releasing our aircraft from 1,000 ft (304 mt) and proved their ability to turn at waypoints and to land within close range of a specific location,' Simpson tells New Atlas.
Once the goods have arrived, the drones biodegrade in a matter of days."

I've read of drones being flown over difficult terrain to deliver blood to rural areas, then they fly back.  This one-way system also seems useful for delivering supplies in hard to reach areas.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

south Dakota doesn't want to register drones

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/dot-drone-non-registration-bill-advances-to-senate/article_6011c6c5-c051-5339-bede-3122dbce86de.html

"PIERRE | A measure that would clarify that drones weighing less than 55 pounds would not have to be registered with the state was moved out of the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday morning.
State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said that although estimates indicate there are 6,000 drones in South Dakota, most of them recreational, the department doesn’t have an interest in trying to track them.
Federal regulations require that drones between 0.55 and 55 pounds be registered. That involves a fee of $25, plus 4 percent of the cost of the drone, Bergquist said.
Nobody spoke against the measure, which now advances to the full Senate."

A 50 pound drone is pretty darn big to me.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

US military tests drone swarms

http://www.businessinsider.com/pentagon-test-mini-drone-swarm-2017-1

"During the test, three F/A-18 Super Hornets spit out more than 100 tiny Perdix drones, which then linked up with each other to collectively make decisions and fly in formation.
'Due to the complex nature of combat, Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,' SCO Director William Roper said in a statement.
'Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.'”

Swarms can make grids that act as barriers too.  This is a wide open field for testing.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Seattle Space Needle hit by drone

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/01/12/space-needle-slam-video-shows-drone-crashing-into-seattle-landmark.html

"The incident marks the third time that a drone has been recovered on the property, according Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart.
'It looks like the drone tractor beam we installed on the Space Needle is working,' Sevart joked, in a press release cited by Q13 Fox.
This is not the first time that a wayward drone has hit the headlines. Last year, for example, a man was arrested for crashing his drone into the Empire State Building. In 2015 a quadcopter drone that crashed into the White House lawn sparked a security lockdown and Secret Service investigation."

Bad pilots, not following the rules. I hope he lost his quad if he didn't have permission to fly there.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

lily Drone dead

https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/12/lily-drone-is-dead-despite-34-million-in-pre-orders/

"Lily Robotics stormed into the world with a follow-along camera drone that earned $34 million in pre-orders. But the company has now admitted that it can't deliver the product, and will wind down in the near future. In a blog post, co-founders Antoine Balaresque and Henry Bradlow explained that they've run out of money."



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gopro to relaunch Karma

https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/05/gopro-outlines-karma-comeback-in-february/

"GoPro has mostly been silent about its Karma drone's return following a recall in November, but it's finally ready to start talking... well, almost. The action camera maker has revealed that it will detail the Karma's worldwide relaunch sometime in early February. GoPro isn't saying much at this point, but it's close to completing its investigation of the Karma's power loss issues and expects the robotic flyer to hit shelves in 2017."

I'm still torn between whether to get the Karma or the Mavic.  I like the Karma's features more, but would probably really miss having the crash avoidance feature on the Mavic.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

ISIL use of drones growing

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/12/isil-ramps-fight-weaponised-drones-161231130818470.html

"In the past, ISIL has used drones in Iraq and Syria for general intelligence-gathering, as spotters for mortar firing, and even for filming propaganda videos. Soldiers have regularly spotted these drones over army positions on the outskirts of Mosul, prompting bursts of gunfire skywards.
But there is a fresh threat, Saadi said: ISIL has begun to use the drones themselves as weapons. 'They also use a new tactic, where the drone itself has a bomb attached to it,' he explained."

ISIL is making their own larger drones now as well as using store-bought quadcopters and such.  It seems like the time has already arrived that when going to war, you bring your drones.