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.