Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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FAA's drone restrictions lead to new lawsuits from universities and business groups

FAA's drone restrictions lead to new lawsuits from universities and business groups | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The FAA is trying to crack down on consumer drones, but it’s on shaky legal ground. Three new lawsuits from business owners, universities and the Academy of Model Aeronautics highlight its tenuous position.

. . . 

n administrative judge has already overturned the FAA’s attempt to fine a photographer $10,000, citing the agency’s lack of legal authority to impose it. The FAA’s June “guidelines” appear to suffer from the same problem — the agency issued them without the backing of a formal rule-making process.

. . . 

Meanwhile, stories about drones — good and bad — continue to be popular news items. This summer, for instance, a drone operator was hailed as a hero for using his drone to help a search and rescue team locate a missing 82-year-old man. Less popular was a tourist who crashed his drone into an iconic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, and then asked to retrieve it.

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Drone makers want FAA to start use now

Drone makers want FAA to start use now | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Drone makers are encouraging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow unmanned aircraft to fly over rural areas before a broader integration with commercial airplanes is completed.

The Arlington, Va.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) said the FAA should let non-military drones fly on a "limited basis" because tests of their impact on other airplanes is taking too long to complete.

 

"The FAA has been working on this NPRM since 2009," AUVSI President Michael Toscano wrote in a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "Most recently, the FAA this month indicated that the small [Unmanned Aerial System] rule is now expected to be published in November 2014 – almost four years late."

 

"Whether it is helping farmers improve crop yields, assisting first responders with search and rescue missions or advancing scientific research, UAS are capable of saving time, saving money and most importantly, saving lives," Toscano wrote. "The industry, meanwhile, is poised to boost local economies and create jobs. AUVSI’s economic impact study found that, in the first decade following integration, the UAS industry will create more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in economic impact. However, each day that integration is delayed will lead to $27 million in lost economic impact.

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Six FAA Drone Testing Programs to begin in US

The FAA has selected six UAS test site operators that will allow the agency to develop research findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation's airspace as we transition to a system featuring NextGen technologies and procedures.

....

On December 30, 2013, the FAA announced the following six applicants had been selected to operate the UAS test sites:

University of Alaska.  The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation.  Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations. State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen.  Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.New York’s Griffiss International Airport.  Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.North Dakota Department of Commerce.  North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).  Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.
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Why Drone Delivery Will Be A Nightmare For Law Enforcement

Why Drone Delivery Will Be A Nightmare For Law Enforcement | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Amazon 'Prime Air' could be the first step toward a postal service free of surveillance.

 

Amazon's Jeff Bezos [went] on 6o Minutes Sunday night and reveal[ed] a “secret R&D project: The beginning of Silk Air Road? ‘Octocopter’ drones that will fly packages directly to your doorstep in 30 minutes.” Yup. an autonomous drone delivery service that would use GPS coordinates to navigate, called Amazon “Prime Air.”

 

After the shock and awe wore off, many commentators immediately pointed out that this is currently illegal. While the po-po and government entities are allowed to fly drones if they obtain authorization from the FAA, private use of drones is limited to hobbyists, and they have to keep the drones under 400

feet and within their line of sight. But that’s just a temporary hang-up. Congress has ordered the FAA to clear the skyway for commercial use of drones by 2015. So, yes, Amazon will be able to get emergency diapers, toilet paper, or s-pound gummy bears (depending on the Octocopter’s weight limits) to you in 30 minutes (and Google will be able to launch ‘Drone Map’, and Facebook will be able to launch ‘Drone Stalk’, and on and on).

 

Law enforcement may already be gritting its teeth over the idea of legal drone delivery though. Being

able to send things by drone could be hugely disruptive to the existing mail system: a peer-to-peer postal service that cuts out the USPS and FedEx. That’s fine when Amazon is shipping out books, but what about the kind of deliveries that law enforcement wants to be able to track? The existing

postal system is full of surveillance.

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The Rise of Green Collar Jobs

The Rise of Green Collar Jobs | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Tom McKinnon and Jim Sears in Colorado ... have developed a low-cost, remote control drone that takes multispectral images of farmland.

 

This technology saves farmers money because it is much less expensive than manned aircraft flights or satellite imagery while providing useful information about the health of their plots. These drones can also be fitted with infrared cameras that map the soil moisture content of the area; affording farmers the opportunity to correct dry conditions before they affect crop production.

 

You may think this technology sounds expensive, but it is actually very affordable and could be used in our own communities to monitor the health of larger, community sponsored agricultural plots.

From a DIY perspective, a drone similar to the one created by McKinnon and Sears could be made for less than $1,000. This is cutting-edge technology that is affordable on most budgets.

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US approves drones for civilian use

US approves drones for civilian use | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued certificates for two types of unmanned aircraft for civilian use. The move is expected to lead to the first approved commercial drone operation later this summer.

 

Both the Scan Eagle and the PUMA received “restricted category type certificates”which permit aerial surveillance. Prior to the FAA’s decision, the only way the private sector could operate UAS in US airspace was by obtaining an experimental airworthiness certificate which specifically restricts commercial operations.

 

The PUMA is expected to support emergency response crews for wildlife surveillance and oil spill monitoring over the Beaufort Sea to the north of Canada and Alaska. The Scan Eagle will be used by a major energy company off the Alaskan Coast to survey ice floes and migrating whales in Arctic oil exploration areas.

 

The issuing of the certificates is seen as an important step to integrating UAS into US airspace. Both drone operations will meet the requirements of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which includes a mandate to increase Arctic UAS commercial operations.

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Drones, Ethics, and the rising tide of U.S. Technological Imperialism

Drones, Ethics, and the rising tide of U.S. Technological Imperialism | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Warfare is no stranger to world history. It has become a byproduct of life itself, though is becoming less of a presence as greater activities emerge, i.e. new developing markets, scientific research, and exponentially growing technologies.

 

 U.S. anti-war activists and stockholders of Boeing have joined forces in opposition to the company’s construction of drones being used for imperialist war mongering. In their show of opposition, they pointed out not only the thousands of lives being decimated as a result of drone strikes from Yemen to Afghanistan, but also the millions of dollars being wasted in the construction of these killer drones, rather than being spent on more important things like our education system.

 

Hundreds of U.K. citizens have taken up the cause against drone warfare as well. Recently over 600 activists came together and marched in opposition to what they deemed as “drone sharing” between the U.K. and U.S. governments and military. Not to mention opposition to their own govt’s role in drone strikes throughout the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

 

B. J. Murphy
Ethical Technology
Posted: May 3, 2013

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Mayor Bloomberg says surveillance drones are inevitable in NYC: 'get used to it'

Mayor Bloomberg says surveillance drones are inevitable in NYC: 'get used to it' | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Governmental use of unmanned surveillance drones has inspired a lot of concern about privacy, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the battle's already over. In a radio interview this week, Bloomberg said essentially that drones are an inevitable part of our future (and maybe our present), comparing them to the thousands of cameras already located around Manhattan. "What's the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?" he asked. "We're going into a different world, uncharted... you can't keep the tide from coming in."


Striking a tone more of resignation than endorsement, Bloomberg said that our future includes more visibility and less privacy. Face recognition will be integrated into the drone surveillance, and he wondered aloud whether a drone is that much more invasive than someone standing outside your home. Bloomberg did say legislation is necessary, but warned against hasty action, saying "these are long-term, serious problems."

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Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public

Oregon Company to Sell Drone Defense Technology to Public | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The company says it won't knock drones down, but will stop them from 'completing their mission.'

 

The company, called Domestic Drone Countermeasures, was founded in late February because some of its engineers see unmanned aerial vehicles—which are already being flown by law enforcement in some areas and could see wider commercial integration into American airspace by 2015—as unwanted eyes in the sky.

 

The company will sell land-based boxes that are "non-offensive, non-combative and not destructive." According to the company, "drones will not fall from the sky, but they will be unable to complete their missions."

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Drones are on the “wrong side of history”

Drones are on the “wrong side of history” | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Our blind faith in technology combined with a false sense of infallible righteousness continues unabated. Reuters correspondent David Rohde recently wrote:

 

“The Obama administration’s covert drone program is on the wrong side of history. With each strike, Washington presents itself as an opponent of the rule of law, not a supporter. Not surprisingly, a foreign power killing people with no public discussion, or review of who died and why, promotes anger among Pakistanis, Yemenis and many others.”

 

A special report from the Council on Foreign Relations last month, “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies,” quotes “a former senior military official” saying, “Drone strikes are just a signal of arrogance that will boomerang against America.” The report notes that, “The current trajectory of U.S. drone strike policies is unsustainable … without any meaningful checks — imposed by domestic or international political pressure — or sustained oversight from other branches of government, U.S. drone strikes create a moral hazard because of the negligible risks from such strikes and the unprecedented disconnect between American officials and personnel and the actual effects on the ground.”

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Oregon’s drone debate | Legislators introduce bills to restrict their use

Before drones become commonplace in Oregon skies, the state Legislature should take carefully measured steps to protect public privacy and safety from threats posed by both public- and private-sector use of the unmanned aircraft.

 

In Oregon, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, have introduced separate bills that would, among other things, make it a crime to use drones to fire bullets or missiles or to spy on people. Prozanski recently explained to The (Portland) Oregonian newspaper that he drafted his legislation, Senate Bill 71, in part because “the last thing I think people want to do is look outside their picture window or their bedroom window and see a drone.”

 

Prozanski’s and Huffman’s concerns about the need to regulate the domestic use of drones by public agencies, private companies and, for that matter, private citizens are valid — especially in the absence of anything resembling comprehensive federal regulations.

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Would Lincoln use drones? - WWLD?

Would Lincoln use drones? - WWLD? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Lincoln probably would have loved drones, but may have held off using them to kill for strategic reasons

...

 

First off, Lincoln was obsessed with military technology and innovation, so there’s little question that he would have been intrigued by drones, had they been invented in the 1860s. He often personally witnessed demonstrations of new inventions and pushed for their advancement and field testing through the War Department bureaucracy, in part by promoting officers who held a similar love of innovation. Under his tenure, the Union became one of the world’s first militaries to use repeating rifles (a vast improvement over the single-shot muzzle-loaders it replaced), rifled artillery, machine guns, rockets, armored “ironclad” warships, and torpedoes, and he made advanced strategic use of railroads and especially the telegraph.

 

He would have loved to have had drones’ surveillance power, as he championed the unprecedented use of balloons to spy on the enemy. When the aging head of the Army initially rejected the balloon idea, Lincoln personally marched inventor Thaddeus Lowe to the War Department and declared that he would be head of the new Aeronautics Corps for the Army.  “I have pleasure in sending you this first dispatch ever telegraphed from an aerial station and in acknowledging indebtedness to your encouragement for the opportunity of demonstrating the availability of the science of aeronautics in the military service of the country,” Lowe telegraphed to the president from a balloon over the National Mall.

 

But obviously drones did not exist in Lincoln’s day. So what about some kind of analogous technology that could safely kill enemies without a battle. Would Lincoln have been morally and legally comfortable with that?

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Drones: Eyes in the sky

Drones: Eyes in the sky | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

As technology advances, unmanned aircraft used for surveillance are moving from the battlefield to your backyard, and not everyone is happy with it (with poll)

 

In Pakistan, since 2004, from under 2,000 at the low end to more than 3,400. The CIA isn't saying. So who's being killed -- terrorists or civilians?

 

"The data show that only a relatively small number of high-level targets have been killed, something on the order of 50, estimates vary. which is roughly 2 percent of those who have been killed," said James Cavallaro, a law professor at Stanford University. "Which means that 98 percent of those killed have not been high-level targets."

 

Cavallaro is co-author of a paper critical of U.S. drone use. He and his team went to Pakistan.

 

"We don't hear enough about the costs, civilians killed, civilians injured, destruction of communities, growth of anti-Americanism, and fomenting recruitment for terrorist groups," he told Teichner. "When all of that is considered, there are serious doubts about whether drones are the best option. (...)

 

Now, drones are headed off the battlefield. They're already coming your way.

 

AeroVironment, the California company that sells the military something like 85 percent of its fleet, is marketing them now to public safety agencies.

 

Steve Gitlin, a vice-president of AeroVironment, demonstrated for Teicher the company's Qube system: "It's a small unmanned aircraft that's designed to give first responders an immediate eye in the sky so they can find lost kids, they can investigate accidents, they can support disaster recovery for earthquakes in California, tornadoes in the Midwest, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

 

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'Intelligent' drones being developed at UNM

'Intelligent' drones being developed at UNM | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

In a basement lab at the University of New Mexico, grad student Corbin Whilhelmi's research has a mind of its own.


He's developing a flying, thinking, robot.


Whilhelmi and his colleagues are developing intelligent drones so promising, the United States Department of Defense and the U.S. Army are paying for it.

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Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone? - IEEE Spectrum

Would You Shoot Your Neighbor’s Drone? - IEEE Spectrum | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
“In the past year, it’s become more about privacy than safety,” says Brendan Schulman, special counsel at the law firm Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel, who is defending a client against the FAA in its first civilian drone case. People just don’t want snoopy robots spying on them.

 

Commentator Charles Krauthammer summed up that sentiment on Fox News in 2012 when he said, “I would predict—I’m not encouraging—but I predict the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.” Don’t dismiss such fiery talk as the ravings of a pundit bent on making news. Indeed, there have already been some domestic drone downings: An animal-rights group attempting to document the cruelty of “pigeon shoots” has had a camera-equipped multicopter blown out of the air more than once.

....

Ryan Calo, a professor of law at the University of Washington, in Seattle, calls robotic aircraft a “privacy catalyst” because people have responded to them more strongly than to other kinds of surveillance technology. “You can visualize it, unlike what the [National Security Agency] is doing,” says Calo. “You get this visceral reaction to drones. Drones are part of a larger disconnect between how quickly surveillance technology evolves and how slowly privacy law does.”

ddrrnt's insight:

Ha! This is so true. No doubt, a drone will be shot down.

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Another Problem for Amazon's Delivery Drones? Angry Birds

Another Problem for Amazon's Delivery Drones? Angry Birds | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

 Amazon-branded delivery drones may look to us humans like, well, Amazon-branded delivery drones, [however] they look to birds like ... other birds. Encroaching birds. And that's because, as Slate's Nicholas Lund points out, birds—especially predatory raptors, your hawks and your eagles and your harriers—are territorial. Our airspace is also, in a very literal way, birdspace, with birds carving up that soaring territory among themselves, defending their celestial turf against would-be interlopers. Not just with an "excuse me, sir, I think you may be in my seat" ... but with violence. Those dudes will put a bird on it in the most Darwinian way imaginable. 

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The drones are coming! This is how the FAA wants to deal with flying robots

The drones are coming! This is how the FAA wants to deal with flying robots | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Federal Aviation Administration has released "roadmap" explaining what needs to happen before drones can safely fly in U.S. airspace.

 

"the FAA expects as many as 7,500 commercial drones will be in the sky within the next five years, and upwards of 30,000 drones flying around within 20 years."

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Officials Halt Drones in Colorado

Officials Halt Drones in Colorado | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Chris Miser, owner of Falcon UAV, was mapping flooded roads and waterways from above—before authorities on the ground told him to stop, or be arrested.

 

"The confusion in Colorado is an unavoidable outgrowth of the rise of civilian UAVs in American airspace, which PopMech covered in our September cover story. The FAA is under a Congressional mandate to formulate rules and regulation that will integrate drones into the way it polices our skies. But the going is slow. And until those rules are in place, there are bound to be more examples of drone operators clashing with authorities—whether those drone operators are flying mischievous dive-bombs around national landmarks, or trying to aid rescue workers in the midst of a crisis. "

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Businesses see oppurtunity in civilian drones, but regulations stand in the way

Businesses see oppurtunity in civilian drones, but regulations stand in the way | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

For every year that integration of drones is delayed, the U.S. economy will lose more than $10 billion in potential economic impact, or $27.6 million a day, according to the study.

 

"It's like any other technology boom — GPS, the Internet," said Melanie Hinton, spokeswoman at the trade group. "I think as soon as people start seeing the positive effects, the growth in economics, how it will help people do their jobs safer and more efficiently, that it will go mainstream."

 

Among the 50 states, experts believe, California has the most to gain in economic benefit from the opening of the national air space for drones. Washington state is second and Texas third.

 

In the first three years, according to the trade association study, the Golden State would see $2.4 billion in increased economic activity, with more than 12,000 new jobs created. Over a decade, the economic activity would increase to $14.4 billion, including more than 18,000 new jobs.

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Wildlife Margrit's curator insight, July 3, 2013 5:07 PM

These drones/UAVs are proving absolutely essential in the right to save the African rhino from sophisticated crime syndicate wildlife poachers

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Game of Drones

The debate over the use of drones falls into three paradigms:  legal, practical and moral. The panel hosted on Wednesday by the Bi-Partisan Policy Center (BPC) followed this pattern.


A crucial problem is lack of transparency.  The Obama administration needs to prove that what they are doing is lawful. So far they have not succeeded.  Who is making the decisions?  What are the legal standards?  Who are the targets and why?  Restricted access to White House legal memos on the drone program inhibits Congress from constructing an adequate legal framework and from conducting oversight.


No other nation has publicly agreed with our drone program.  To others, the US appears indifferent to civilian casualties. The perception of America as ruthless undermines our legitimacy as a world power.


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FAA Grounds Local Aerial Photo Business - CBS Minnesota

FAA Grounds Local Aerial Photo Business - CBS Minnesota | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Charles Eide and Mike Danielson have been flying radio controlled aircraft since they little kids growing up in the same neighborhood.

 

By mounting stabilized cameras onto the bellies of the drone aircraft, Eide and Danielson can offer customers a bird’s-eye view of anything from construction sites, to city attractions, to real estate listings.

 

“It helps sell houses, which is really in my opinion a huge economic impact in the Twin Cities — helps houses move faster,” Eide said.

 

Business was booming, until a call came from the Minneapolis office of the Federal Aviation Administration. They were simply told to ground their commercial use of the aircraft. Turns out, current regulations don’t allow unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.

 

Business was booming, until a call came from the Minneapolis office of the Federal Aviation Administration. They were simply told to ground their commercial use of the aircraft. Turns out, current regulations don’t allow unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes.

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Drone industry predicts explosive economic boost

Drone industry predicts explosive economic boost | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The impact of drones on privacy and national security remain matters of intense debate, but the economic impact, however, is becoming clearer by the day.

 

Private-sector drones will create more than 70,000 jobs within three years and will pump $82 billion into the U.S. economy by 2025, according to a major new study commissioned by the industry’s leading trade group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International(AUVSI). The study assumes that drones are fully integrated into the national airspace by 2015, in line with the current schedule set by Congress.


But the motivation behind Tuesday’s report runs deeper than just dollars and cents. With more than 20 states considering bills to limit what drones can do — including a two-year moratorium on all government use in Virginia — and at least a half-dozen similar measures being kicked around in Congress, the industry faces an uncertain future.

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Domestic drones are already reshaping U.S.crime-fighting

Domestic drones are already reshaping U.S.crime-fighting | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

"We can now bring the crime scene right into the jury box, and literally re-enact the crime for jurors," he said.

"Miller can program the department's GPS-enabled, 3.5-pound DraganflyerX6 quad copter to fly two concentric circles, at two elevations, capturing about 70 photos, for about $25 an hour. He then feeds those images into online digital mapping software, which creates a virtual crime scene that he uploads to his iPad."

"Holding the iPad with one hand, Miller recently demonstrated for Reuters how 3-D digital reconstruction can serve as a road map for investigators, and, soon, for juries."

 

"Miller said the same technique can often eliminate the need to shut down highways after accidents so investigators can take accurate measurements."

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Why Is the Navy Building a Shiny Drone Base in Sunny Malibu?

Why Is the Navy Building a Shiny Drone Base in Sunny Malibu? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Sorry, Sushi/Massage Guru at Google: you no longer have the coolest tech job in America. That honor will belong to the future staff at the planned Point Mugu UAV installation in paradisiacal California.

 

With bases like Drone Zone Malibu, the Navy will be able to remotely "fly out over the open ocean, find and track ships, targets of interest. That could be potential adversaries, terrorists, whatever the [Navy] needs [to find]." So: an omnipresent maritime eye could spot potential threats—or anything, really—over the waters, and then beam back electronic signatures and video streams to the mainland, where the next step will be made.

 

Drones in vacation spots are an inevitability. The idea of a beachside xanadu conducting unceasing, expensive, militarized robot flights might sound strange, but it isn't. There will be more bases like that at Point Mugu, spreading around the world like sunburn. There will be drones in California, drones in Texas, drones in Paris, all part of the Pentagon's vision of reshaping its military omnipresence around "lily pads"—light, decentralized bases that house specialized forces and, of course, drones. Ready to buzz and strike whenever, capable of spying for trouble always.

 

lilly pad strategy: http://www.thenation.com/article/168898/militarys-new-lily-pad-strategy#

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Who is allowed to fly a drone? That depends

Who is allowed to fly a drone? That depends | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
A law passed last year by President Barack Obama gave U.S. regulators until September 2015 to cobble together rules to oversee unmanned flight.

 

The FAA estimates that by 2020, there will be 30,000 drones in the skies above the U.S. Current laws do not address the privacy concerns hanging over an industry that has produced some drones the size of commercial jets, and others smaller than a sparrow.

 

“It’s a crazy, daunting task, trying to write sweeping legislation for a new technology,” said Wells Bennett, a visiting fellow in national security at the Brookings Institution who has studied civilian drones. “You need both people who are steeped in cutting-edged technology at the same time as understanding the arcane regulatory regime.”

 

Bennett said many federal and state agencies ranging from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to NASA are contributing to the FAA’s efforts.

 

A spokeswoman for the FAA, Alison Duquette, said that out of the agency’s total workforce of 49,031, 39 federal employees are currently working on the integration.

 

The application for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) permitting operation of a drone is about 22 pages. Duquette told the Star the information sought in the application “will enable us make an informed decision on whether to approve the COA application.”

 

But who should be allowed to operate a drone?

 

It will depend on the type of aircraft and the purpose, Duquette said. In some cases, such as recreational models, no authorization will be required, she said.

 

“In other cases, the pilots, observers and other personnel may require training and/or certification.”

 

Currently, the FAA allows some law enforcement and government agencies to obtain two-year certificates to operate drones. Corporations aren’t allowed to fly drones at all until the new FAA rules are introduced. Model airplane enthusiasts don’t face such restrictions, as long as they maintain sight of their toys and don’t let them fly higher than 150 metres.

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