Saturday, December 30, 2017

quadcopter collides with helicopter

"The UH-60M had been flying as CAVM087 (“Caveman 87”), the lead craft in a flight of two helicopters that were getting their bearings to monitor a set of 'temporary flight restrictions' (TFRs) involving the UN General Assembly and President Donald Trump. The helicopters were flying low, around 300 feet, and had come down the Hudson River and turned east over the Verrazano Bridge toward Coney Island. At 7:14pm, they turned around to head back toward New Jersey.
At this point, Tantashov was recalling his drone, which had begun its return flight to his location. The helicopters encountered the drone a minute later. The co-pilot on the lead helicopter was flying when the drone came into sight, and he took immediate action. Still, the drone collided with the helicopter’s main rotor 274 feet up in the sky."

This is kind of a tricky case, since the drone dude didn't know about the Temporary Flight Restriction, and it would probably be hard for him to know about that. On the other hand, he was flying outside his field of vision, which is against the rules.  I wonder if he'll get fined?

Monday, December 11, 2017

1000 drones fly over China

"The night skyline of the Chinese city of Guangzhou lit up by a spectacular show in which hundreds of drones took to the air. In putting on the show, the city broke its own world record for the biggest number of drones involved in one performance."

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

finnish border pierced by drones with cigarettes

"Finnish Customs officials and border guards are investigating an unusual case in which a drone was found in a forested area of the eastern town of Lappeenranta with a cargo of 15 cartons of cigarettes. Two similar packages were found nearby, bringing the total to 45 cartons.
The authorities were notified by a private individual who reported seeing the drone flying over the border from Russia, where cigarettes are considerably cheaper than they are in Finland.
Officials impounded the tobacco and are investigating the case as airspace violation and illegal entry. They have not yet found any individuals they suspect of involvement in the case."

You get the good with the bad with any new technology.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Mexican cartels with weaponized drones

"The aerial drone in the rear cargo bay was armed and ready to be deployed. Sitting in an open plastic case beside an AK47 assault rifle and spare clips. The 3DR Solo Quadcopter carried a shrapnel-filled IED that was in turn rigged to detonate by remote control."

"The weapon could have been used effectively against authorities, criminal rivals, or to terrorize innocent civilians, according to a report by security analyst Robert Bunker, a professor in Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army War college.
While contraband-laden drones operated by Mexican cartels have frequently penetrated U.S. airspace, none of them have been armed—yet. But the drone’s discovery comes at a time of widespread escalation of crime-related violence in Mexico, and could be a sign of things to come."

Technology can be used for good and bad.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dude flies his quadcopter in a park. Other dude shoots it down

"Jackson County sheriff’s deputies arrested Grindstaff Wednesday, after the agency posted photos from Hidde’s footage that prompted Grindstaff to turn himself in. He was booked in the Jackson County Jail Wednesday and released Thursday on his own recognizance, jail records show.
Similar sentiments in support of the alleged shooter were posted at the private Jackson County Scanner Group Facebook page consisting of about 41,000 members. One post cited in a previous media report about the story alleged Hidde was 'being a peeping Tom creeper.' Hidde said he read about 90 percent of such comments.
Hidde denied any sort of harassing behavior at the park. He saw Grindstaff, another truck driving off-road, a dirt bike rider, a woman riding her horse and another walking her dog. He said he was scoping out the park watching for high-action subjects."

quadcopters used to locate missing couple

"As you should know, it is illegal to use DRONES in the National Park. Certain National Parks have been authorized and trained to use them. One is Grand Canyon National Park. We were fortunate to have their drone team come and assist in the search for the missing couple. The GCNP drone operators gave me permission to show a very small segment of what they see when operating over the Maze area. As you can see, it is not as easy to see detail in the rocks. Also, people tend to wear clothes that blend, instead of bright colors."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Syria captures lots of ISIS drones

from twitter...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

drone hits plane in Canada

"A drone crashed into a passenger plane last week in Canada, renewing safety concerns about unmanned aircraft and raising questions about how best to enforce regulations now that drones are becoming more and more commonplace.
The drone hit a plane carrying six passengers and two crew members en route to an airport in Quebec on Thursday.
'This should not have happened,' Canada’s minister of transport, Marc Garneau, said at a news conference on Sunday. 'That drone should not have been there.'
Nobody was hurt, but the incident could have caused 'catastrophic' damage had it hit an engine or incapacitated the pilot, Mr. Garneau said.
Researchers at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering demonstrated in 2015 that an eight-pound quadcopter drone could rip apart a nine-foot-diameter engine in less than 1/200th of a second."

Too high and too close to an airport. Another idiot.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Don't fly in these areas in the US

"Here are the landmarks at issue.
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York
  • Boston National Historical Park (USS Constitution), Boston
  • Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia
  • Folsom Dam, Folsom, California
  • Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell, Arizona
  • Grand Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, Washington State
  • Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Nevada
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
  • Shasta Dam, Shasta Lake, California
The FAA has also issued similar guidelines around US military bases, and it has already barred drone flying with National Parks, where some of these monuments are located. The FAA said it was 'considering additional requests' from other federal agencies about barring drones flying near other locations."

I would like to try to fly up Lincoln's nose, but alas...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

local rules for flight still being worked out

"A federal judge in Massachusetts has struck down four key portions of a 2016 municipal ordinance in Newton, a Boston suburb that effectively banned drones.
The lawsuit, which was filed in January 2017 by a local doctor, involves a question that has yet to be fully resolved in the age of increasingly pervasive and inexpensive drones: how much can localities restrict them?
The Newton law, which was passed in December 2016, bans drone flights over private property at or below 400 feet without the property owner’s permission. The law also requires that all drones be registered with the city and that drones not overfly schools, city property, or sporting events without specific permission.
In a Thursday court order, US District Judge William Young concluded that these particular parts of the law went too far."

I'm for safety and privacy.  But the laws need to be carefully written on how much restriction there can be on drones.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

quadcopter collides with army helicopter

"The Army said the choppers were flying low along the east shore of Staten Island when a drone slammed into the side of one of them. 

'As that drone came apart, a piece of it was actually found upon landing up on the transmission deck, right at the bottom of the main rotor system,' he said. 'Which is very distressing that something would be able to get in there. And that has always been the thing that we worry about constantly.'”

Something to worry about. It's not sure if the copters were flying below 400 feet, or the quadcopter was above that limit.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

a blimp/plane/copter drone; the PLIMP

"The Seattle-based start-up, founded by twin brothers James and Joel Egan, says the drone can maneuver and move quickly like a fixed-wing aircraft, hover and vertically take off and land like a helicopter, and operate efficiently and safely like a blimp – all on a single platform. Furthermore, PLIMP can deliver forward speeds of more than 40 mph and at least an hour of flight time."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Another idiot and his drone, this time in Canada

"Just before noon on September 5 an aircraft approaching the Happy Valley-Goose Bay airport had a near-miss with an unmanned air vehicle, more commonly known as a drone.

RCMP said the incident happened in the area of Wilburn Bay and are asking anyone with any information to contact the Happy Valley-Goose Bay RCMP at 709-896-3383.

Transport Canada brought in regulations for drones early in 2017, to mixed reviews from the public. One of those rules is that you can no longer fly within nine kilometres of an aerodrome — anywhere an aircraft takes off or lands.

The regulations also preclude recreational pilots from flying drones weighing more than 250 grams higher than 300 feet; within 250 feet of buildings, vehicles, vessels, animals or people; more than half a kilometre from the user; at night, in cloudy conditions, or outside the visual line of sight; without a name, address and phone number affixed to the drone; and over forest fires, emergency response scenes or controlled airspace.

Breaking the rules can have a fine up to $3,000 for recreational users and up to $15,000 for corporations."

So there's the rules for Canada.  It will probably be impossible to catch the idiot this time though.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Drone academy in North Dakota

"Founded in 2017, SkySkopes Academy’s goal is to deliver the most critical knowledge of unmanned flight systems in an effective and engaging manner.  Safety is a top priority for our staff at SkySkopes, a national leader in unmanned flight operations, and we wanted to share our knowledge with others interested in unmanned aircraft systems. We created SkySkopes Academy as a means of providing extensive education and training opportunities to students looking to take their UAS experience to the next level. Our academy brings together UAS experts from across the industry to provide a comprehensive curriculum that teaches our students to safely and knowledgeably fly their aircraft in the national airspace. The courses are based on our internal training procedures for our staff and are designed to be interactive to encourage a better learning experience for students. SkySkopes Academy is headquartered in Grand Forks, ND, which is considered a hub for unmanned aircraft innovation and development. "

A good and useful idea.  I might just go there.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Russian guards stop a drone delivery

"MOSCOW, September 4 (RAPSI, Yelizaveta Ponomareva) – Officers of the Federal Penitentiary Service in the Stavropol region of Russia have arrested a man who attempted to transport objects banned for inmates of a local prison using a quadcopter, the Service’s press service informs on Monday.
The quadcopter was loaded with cellular phones, battery chargers, and various mobile phone paraphernalia, according to the statement.
The offence could be stopped due to the guards’ vigilance, who spotted the quadcopter."

So apparently they didn't shoot the drone down or anything?  Just somehow grabbed it and the pilot?  Good work!

drones for emergency responders; working well!

Drones used during floods, for fire departments, search and rescue, etc.

Just make sure the idiots aren't out there flying around when they're not supposed to be.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Drones save lives in Tanzania

"Tanzania has become the latest country to partner with Zipline as it has launched the world’s largest drone delivery service. The service will provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines.
This comes after Rwanda kicked-off its medical supplies delivery service by Zipline drones in October 2016. Subsequently, in January 2017, Tanzania announced that it will be partnering with Zipline to trial drone medicine deliveries."

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The paradox of banning drones in Houston

"Texas military officials are begging Texan drone pilots to get their gadgets out of the sky, because they’re interfering with rescues.'#ALERT: We are seeing civilian drones that pose EXTREME risks to our rescue pilots and crews in high need areas,' the Texas Military Department tweeted from an account that links to the official site, which represents the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and the Texas State Guard."

But on the other hand...

"We’ve all seen plenty of heartbreaking images from Texas this weekend, as vicious floods continue to destroy lives and property in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. But some of the most chilling footage has been taken from the sky, as hobby drones in the region document the devastation that’s still taking place.
Modern technology like social media and smartphone cameras now bring images of natural disasters to people around the world in an instant. And with this decade’s rise of drones, the bird’s eye view has become nearly as ubiquitous as any other."

 So to document the flood, drones are almost essential. But they can get in the way of rescue flights.  What to do?  Coordination seems to be the only way around that.  I'm not sure the best way has been found yet.

and here is weighing in.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

drone used to guide rescuers

"According to media reports, the logger became trapped when a tree fell onto his hand. Due to the geography of the environment, Danville Life Saving Crew opted to launch their recently-acquired drones. DLSC assistant director Bryan Fox told news outlets his crew had recently become certified as drone pilots, and seized the opportunity to utilize the new tool.
While responding to the call, members of the Danville Life Saving Crew constructed a strategy of how to rescue the injured logger. When rescue efforts began, Fox piloted a drone to safely guide the rescue boat to the worker. Due to heavy amounts of debris and rocks, the drone was able to see what the boat operators were not. The drone was also used to help guide members up the embankment."

Now that will catch on I'm sure. A search and rescue guy here told me, though, that they don't plan on using drones for some kind of legal liability reason.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

whale watching with a quadcopter

This is a case where a quadcopter can do something pretty much nothing else can.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

drone and plane almost collide in Israel

"Quick-thinking pilots were forced to perform evasive maneuvers to avoid colliding with a multi-rotor drone while preparing to land at Israel's Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.
The plane, with up to 180 passengers, was en route from Romania when the incident occurred and, thanks to the actions of the pilots, made a safe landing."

And this dork got in trouble;

Thursday, August 10, 2017

gun-laden drone

"Weighing 50kg, TIKAD is capable of flying anywhere between 30 and 1,500 ft and can carry a wide arrangement of semi-automatic weapons plus a 40mm grenade launcher. It’s built with proprietary recoil stabilisation technology, offers high levels of accuracy (well, you’d hope so) and is completely remotely operated."

I dunno. This is probably inevitable.  But like so many products, the military always wants to weaponize everything.

Monday, August 7, 2017

US military will now shoot down drones flying too close to bases

"The Pentagon has issued new guidelines giving the military the go-ahead to down drones flying near or over select US military bases.
The guidance was issued to domestic military installations Friday following classified guidelines that were first issued in July by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work. Friday's guidance was designed to help bases communicate with local communities about the new restrictions."
So idiots will lose their drones. That's a good start.

drone closes Stockholm Airport

"A drone caused travel chaos and forced Sweden's busiest airport to halt air traffic for security reasons between around 3.50pm and 4.50pm on Monday, authorities said.
During this time, two incoming flights warned they were low on fuel and were therefore given permission to land despite no other planes being allowed to land or take off.
Emergency services, ambulance and police were called to the runway as a matter of routine, but both planes landed normally. "

What are drone flying rules in Sweden?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

UK training for UAV flying

"Whispercam Training is approved by the CAA as a Full Category UK National Qualified Entity (NQE). Under this approval, Whispercam Training can offer all the components of training and assessment required by: 

  • pilots seeking the necessary evidence of competence to fly commercially, and
  • operators wishing to gain their Permission for Commercial Operations from the CAA (previously referred to as a PFAW, now PFCO).

The training and assessment covers Knowledge, Practical Flight, Operations Manual and Application for the Permission. In other words, everything required to demonstrate both the required competency to be a pilot as well as the process required to obtain a PFCO."

I don't think UK and US rules are a lot different.  Good to see somebody helping with the licensing though.

United States Association of Unmanned Aerial Videographers

"UAVUS is the largest association of professional unmanned aerial vehicle operators in the United States. Our 5,000-plus members are leaders in the fields of aerial cinematography, precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection, real estate marketing, search and rescue, and more."

Looks good.

Friday, August 4, 2017

US military wants to drop cheap drone swarms for some reason

"CICADA is a concept for a low-cost, GPS-guided, micro disposable air vehicle that can be deployed in large numbers to 'seed' an area with miniature electronic payloads.
Regarding their low cost, Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum, said, 'They can carry a small sensor payload, and they're designed to be cheap enough that you can use a whole bunch of them all at once.' Another factor weighing in is a 3D-printed fuselage, which minimizes the amount of hands-on assembly time required, he wrote.
'These little guys cost about US $250 each,' said Ackerman."

This doesn't explain quite what the value of such a system would be.

Friday, July 28, 2017

drone infiltrates, blows up ammo dump in Ukraine

"A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in wartime, particularly off the shelf civilian products harnessed to conduct sabotage and other attacks.

Ukraine's domestic intelligence service, the SBU, believes that a drone carrying a Russian thermite hand grenade caused a series of titanic explosions at Balakliya, a military base in Eastern Ukraine. Amateur video of the incident posted on YouTube shows a raging fire spewing out of control artillery rockets, and an explosion and shockwave that sent civilians nearby reeling."


Here in the Black Hills is the abandoned town of Igloo, where the US military stored ammunition in separate bunkers for this very reason.


Monday, July 24, 2017

A quadcopter that flies and swims

"At the Office of Naval Research’s annual Science and Technology Expo on Friday in Washington, D.C., a development team from Rutgers University demonstrated the unusual quadcopter, which can swim at depths of up to 10 meters, then seamlessly launch to the surface and soar into the air.
The drone, developed with sponsorship from the Office of Naval Research, shows promise as a tool for mine countermeasures and port security, to name a few possibilities."

How far can it go, though?

DIY drone catcher

"The last, few years, air drones have been widely known as they are remote-controlled, flying devices that are capable of filming and photographing while being on the air. Make it extreme team gives its own solution to the problem of the annoying drones that are flying in private places in this video.

Although, we have seen various mechanisms instead of drones, our construction is unique and maybe it is the first homemade, anti-drone gun. Initially, our thought was simple, to create a gun with four barrels which would shoot a net with the help of compressed air and it would trap this flying device. "

how not to take a family video

UK comes up with drone rules

"Drones will have to be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests under new rules to better regulate their growing use, the government announced today (22 July 2017).
Owners of drones weighing 250 grams [8.8 ounces] and over will in future have to register details of their drones to improve accountability and encourage owners to act responsibly.
Users may be able to register online or through apps, under plans being explored by the government. The move follows safety research that concluded drones could damage the windscreens of helicopters."

that includes some mighty small quadcopters.  the DJI Spark weighs about 300 grams (10.5 ounces).  But as they get more sophisticated and capable, perhaps that is a good cutoff point.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Slaying the mighty Dro-en

and bonus;

Friday, July 14, 2017

My first flight above 20 feet with my new DJI Spark

I'm very happy with my Spark so far. I really just want to use it for taking video and photos, so i don't need speed or distance.  It handles pretty well in a wind, and is rock solid at hovering.  After flying my 7-year old quadcopter, this is like child's play.

It took a bit to set everything up, since you have to get the controller (yes, get the controller), the phone, and the quadcopter to communicate. But after that things were fine.  No issues so far.

163 mph quadcopter

"Pushing the technology that goes into the DRL’s Racer3 to its limits, those same engineers recently designed and built a high-performance racing craft called the DRL RacerX. Weighing just 800 grams (1.7 pounds), the RacerX is powered by a pair of 1,300 mAh batteries and four electric motors that can each hit speeds of up to 46,000 RPMs."

Yow, I wouldn't want to get hit by one of those!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

military still hounded by civilian drones

"At an Air Force Association breakfast Tuesday, Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, said  a pilot in a Lockheed Martin (LMT) F-22 had a 'near collision with a small UAS' while trying to land. He said that a hobbyist was most likely flying the unmanned aerial system, but warned 'you never know.'
'Imagine a world where somebody flies a couple hundred of those and flies one down the intake of my F-22s with just a small weapon on it', he said.
In April, the Federal Aviation Administration banned drone flight over 133 military bases, and Holmes said there are signs around bases that say it's a 'no-drone area.'
But that has done little to stop drones from wandering into military airspace. Holmes said that in a separate incident last week, a drone flew over a gate at another base."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

drone helps prison escape

"Authorities believe that Causey—who was sentenced to life in prison for holding a lawyer named Jack Swerling and his family hostage in 2002—orchestrated the whole thing using a cellphone he smuggled into the maximum security prison.
'We 100 percent know a cellphone was used, or multiple cellphones were used, while he was incarcerated,'South Carolina Department of Corrections director Brian Stirling said at a news conference on Friday. 'And we believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape.'
It's still unclear how Causey managed to get ahold of all those items. It does, however, seem like he's gotten slightly better at breaking out from behind bars since his last attempt in 2005."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Deadwood puts a halt to drone flying

"The ordinance, which was developed by the city’s Public Safety Committee and passed first reading Monday night, notes it is being enacted 'to protect the health and safety of all persons lawfully within the city or city airspace and to prevent damage to persons and property.'
If approved by the commission on second reading July 17, the ordinance would make it unlawful to operate a drone over the protected airspace within the area designated by the 1961 National Historic Landmark District, which spans the entire downtown...

Under the ordinance, modeled after one enacted by Aberdeen, drone use would be allowed with permits from the Federal Aviation Administration, Deadwood City Commission, chief of police, public works director or fire chief and does not preclude use by law enforcement agencies, or federal or state agencies."

FAA rules already say you can't fly over people.  But this gives local police authority over drones that will be more clear and helpful.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

quadcopter idiot caught interfering with fire suppression efforts

"Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve made an arrest in the case of a drone that forced aircrews fighting the Goodwin Fire to be grounded.
Gene Alan Carpenter, a 54-year-old resident of Prescott Valley, was arrested and charged with 14 counts of endangerment, all felonies, and a count of unlawful operation of an unmanned aircraft, which is a misdemeanor.
A news release from YCSO said that on Wednesday, June 28, a drone began circling one of the airplanes that was battling the Goodwin Fire. Because of that intrusion, the plane left the area, leaving ground crews unprotected. Those ground crews had to disengage from fighting the fire and all aircraft were grounded for nearly an hour."

Throw the book at him!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Daesh using drones more frequently to bomb

"The Islamic State (IS) group is using drones rigged with munitions in the battle for the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, a FRANCE 24 team inside the jihadist group’s highly dangerous self-proclaimed capital discovers."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

quadcopter Johnny Apple Seed,000-trees-a-day-with-drones/8642766?smid=Page:%20ABC%20News-Facebook_Organic&WT.tsrc=Facebook_Organic&sf92197317=1

Dr Susan Graham has helped build a drone system that can scan the land, identify ideal places to grow trees, and then fire germinated seeds into the soil.
Drones can plant in areas previously impossible to reach, like steep hills.

Key points:
  • The drone system fires germinated seeds into soil
  • Drones can plant in areas previously impossible to reach, like steep hills
  • The technology could also help rehabilitate land once used by mines
 Not bad. Hope it works.

Amazon's Drone Tower

"The tower allows drones to fly in and out, acting like a giant beehive, with robotic arms that help snatch them out of the sky. Inside, the core features layers of spokes around one central hub. The spokes are specialized for various purposes, like repairing the drones, or loading them with goods.
Elevator systems move drones to their launch points along the building’s facade–robots do not appear to fly around the skyscraper like insects in this patent description–but air is channeled upwards through the building to reduce damage to any incidental falling drones."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

North Korea drone crashes, causes concern

"The drone crashed while returning to the North and was found equipped with a camera and aerial photographs of a U.S. anti-missile defense system site in a southern region of South Korea, South Korean officials told a briefing."

I wonder if they made this themselves?  Commercial product? 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

drone hit by race car

"This video, captured at Rally Italia Sardegna, shows a low flying drone hovering over Micky's jump on the Monte Lerno stage of the race. Toyota driver Esapekka Lappi, who finished fourth overall in the race, nails the jump perfectly, gets some awesome airtime and then smashes the drone's camera to pieces, on his return back to earth."


Thursday, June 15, 2017

video you can only make with a quadcopter

The raw cut;

and the final product;

Can't beat that flying!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Rich dudes use drone to record naked women

"Seven young girls from Spain filed a police report saying they were recorded by a drone while basking naked on the deck of a boat in Mallorca.
According to the complaint, several Spanish outlets reported, they were spending their Saturday catching up on a boat owned by one of them – five of them sunbathing naked on the deck – when they noticed a drone buzzing around. At one point, the complaint reportedly states, the drone came 'right on top' of the girls and kept changing positions, all the while with the red recording light on."

I hope to find out how this comes out.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Great quadcopter video at demolition site

Dynamite didn't do it, so they tried Plan B.  Operator ok, but then got busted for not being licensed to use the dynamite.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

quadcopter in stadium falls, barely missing people

"Take Sunday’s baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres at Petco Field. In the seventh inning, TV commentators spotted a GoPro Karma drone, with footage showing it buzzing about inside the venue.
'We have a drone that is flying in over the seats right now, it’s making its way behind the Diamondback dugout at third base,' the commentator said, quipping, 'I’m pretty sure the Russians have something to do with this.'”

I hope the penalties for doing such stupid things go up, because obviously idiots still think it's fine to do this stuff.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

"drone shield" set up at prison

"Keen to press ahead with countermeasures, a British prison this week switched on a newly installed 600-meter-high (about 2,000 feet) 'drone shield' that’s designed to detect and block drones that fly close to its perimeter. It’s thought to be the first prison in the world to use such a shield.
The 'Sky Fence' is the work of U.K. firms Drone Defence and Eclipse Digital Solutions and it’s been set up at Les Nicolles prison on the southern British island of Guernsey.
The system incorporates a number of signal disruptors placed around the perimeter as well as inside the prison grounds. When it detects a drone flying close by, it jams the signal between the drone and the pilot, thereby preventing it from completing its mission. The technology in its current form returns the drone to where it took off, which may give alerted security guards a chance to apprehend the offender and seize the contraband.
The cost of installing the technology is put at 100,000 to 250,000 British pounds ($130,000 to $325,000), depending on the size of the prison."

This will be an endless game of offense vs. defense.  Some commentor suggested maybe a net over the place would just be a bit cheaper.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Drone registration in court

"The Federal Aviation Administration’s requirement that hobby drone users register their devices was struck down in an appeals court Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of John Taylor, a drone hobbyist who had challenged the legality of the FAA’s drone-registration program.
The program, which was instituted in December 2015, required hobby drone owners to register through an FAA website for a $5 fee. Drone hobbyists were then issued a unique identification, which they were required to mark on their drones. Within the first month, nearly 300,000 drone owners had registered."

Actually, I thought registration was a good idea. We'll see where this goes.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Drones help with public safety

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"'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

" 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!

 "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

"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

 "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

"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

"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

"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

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

"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?

"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

"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

"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!

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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.