Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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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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United Nations’ Drones: A Sign of What’s to Come?

United Nations’ Drones: A Sign of What’s to Come? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

While the prospect of weaponised UN drones remains remote, more worrying – and perhaps less evident –  is the idea that this deployment might augur an era of increasingly intrusive surveillance by UN bodies in the name of humanitarian good. In a June briefing to the UN Security Council, MONUSCO’s Force Commander enthusiastically promoted the use of drones in the eastern DRC and also notably endorsed a more expansive scope for surveillance by the UN, stating,

[There is] the potential to make much greater use of surveillance technology to bolster monitoring capacity, as in the context of cross-border activity. We have borders with many countries and more than 50 armed groups operating close to those borders, which they may cross, leading to broader disturbances. High-resolution imagery could be of significant use as material evidence. In a similar vein, the selective employment of signals intelligence could enable peacekeepers to stay one step ahead of those posing a threat to peace, which would undoubtedly help to mitigate the risks both to the population and to United Nations troops and personnel.”

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Dubai Debuts Drones For Crowd Control

Dubai Debuts Drones For Crowd Control | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Dubai Police announced it is now using quadrocopters with 60 minutes' flight time to monitor crowds at soccer matches.
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Drone learns from humans how to navigate a forest - DIY Drones

Drone learns from humans how to navigate a forest - DIY Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
From the ROS blog:
The Robotics Institute at CMU has been developing systems to learn from humans. Using a Machine Learning class of techniques called Imitation Learning the group has developed AI software for a small commercially available off-the-shelf ARdrone to autonomously fly through the dense trees for over 3.4 km in experimental runs. They are also developing methods to do longer range planning with such purely vision-guided UAVs. Such technology has a lot of potential impact for surveillance, search and rescue and allowing UAVs to safely share airspace with manned airspace.
ddrrnt's insight:

Watch the video at DIYdrones to see the drone fly through an unstructured environment. 


More re: Autopilot

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Sheriff’s ‘Crowd Control’ Spy Drone Suspended After Privacy Uproar

Sheriff’s ‘Crowd Control’ Spy Drone Suspended After Privacy Uproar | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

"Despite official assurances that the drone would only be used for:
search and rescue efforts the Sheriff has previously suggested that the drone could be used:


to hunt for marijuana farms, and “track suspects with guns,” referring to such operations as “proactive policing.”


"The device can also be fitted with thermal imaging devices that would allow police to: see inside buildings, as well as license plate readers and laser radar."


"An internal memo from the Sheriff’s Office dated July 20 also indicated that the department identified uses for the drone, including:
monitoring barricaded suspects, investigative and tactical surveillance, intelligence gathering, tracking suspicious persons and overseeing large crowd control disturbances."

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WASP: The Linux-powered flying spy drone that cracks Wi-Fi & GSM networks | Geek.com

WASP: The Linux-powered flying spy drone that cracks Wi-Fi & GSM networks | Geek.com | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Jul.29, 2011 - The Black Hat Security Conference and DEFCON bring together the world's professional hackers, security researchers, goverment representatives, journalists,...


Every year there’s a highlight to the conferences, and this year it looks like that highlight may be a flying drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This drone is called the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, or WASP. It’s an ex-U.S. Army spy drone measuirng over 6-feet in length and wingspan that has been modified to make it more useful for hackers in our built-up, communication-heavy urban environments.


If you happen to see this yellow drone flying above your neighborhood you’d be right to be concerned. WASP is equipped with the tools to crack Wi-Fi network passwords made possible by an on-board VIA EPIA Pico-ITX PC running BackTrack Linux equipped with 32GB of storage to record information. BackTrack offers a full suite of digital forensics and penetration testing tools making it a good fit for this setup.


WASP can also act as a GSM network antenna meaning it will be able to eavesdrop on calls/text messages made over that network by any phone deciding to connect through it.


While such a drone may violate a few flying laws, it doesn’t break any FCC regulations as it uses the HAM radio frequency band or a 3G connection for communication. As to the reason for building it, creators Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins just wanted to prove there is a vulnerability that can easily be taken advantage of with a UAV such as this.


By: Matthew Humphries

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Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet

Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

In a world of delicate, experimental nano-drones, the Black Hornet is the first operational system deployed. A hand-launched observation drone, it can resist gusting winds, fly for 25 minutes, and travel nearly a mile from its operator. The autopilot can follow GPS coordinates to conduct a preplanned patrol or simply hover and stare. All in a drone that weighs less than 0.6 ounces.

ddrrnt's insight:

These nano-drones are not toys.

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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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U.N. wants to use drones for peacekeeping missions

U.N. wants to use drones for peacekeeping missions | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The U.N. Department of Peacekeeping has notified Congo, Rwanda and Uganda that it intends to deploy a unit of at least three unarmed surveillance drones in the eastern region of Congo.


... the effort is encountering resistance from governments, particularly those from the developing world, that fear the drones will open up a new intelligence-gathering front dominated by Western powers and potentially supplant the legions of African and Asian peacekeepers who now act as the United Nations’ eyes and ears on the ground. (...)


U.N. officials have sought to allay the suspicions, saying there is no intention to arm the drones or to spy on countries that have not consented to their use.

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iRobot Founder Now Building Tiny Hovering Drone Spies

iRobot Founder Now Building Tiny Hovering Drone Spies | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

 Four years ago, iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner stepped down from the company she helped turn into an all-important supplier of the military’s growing arsenal of ground robots. Now today, she’s unveiled the first ‘bots to roll off her new company’s assembly line. What are they? Teeny tiny hovering drones, designed to fly through your window and spy on you.


The first is Ease, or “Extreme Access System for Entry.” Really, it’s a tiny hover-bot designed for “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.” And it’s small enough — it only has a 1-foot diameter and a height of 16 inches from top to bottom – to fly through windows and maneuver through buildings with its ducted fan engine.


The other new drone is the Parc, or “Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications.” Like Ease, it also hovers. But the Parc is designed to fly high and for long periods of time, and resembles a flying bug with four skinny legs and a quadrotor. The robot can hover at 1,000 feet while being powered — like the Ease — by a microfilament line


Danger Room | Wired.com

Robert Beckhusen 

03 Dec 2012

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Drone Program Aims To ‘Accelerate’ Use Of Unmanned Aircraft By Police

The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small, unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a “middleman” between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies “before they jump into the pool,” said John Appleby, a manager in the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s division of borders and maritime security. (...)


“If DHS is going to serve as a Consumer Reports for local authorities that are interested in buying drones and help them figure out which drones perform well and appropriate for their needs, that’s great,” said Jay Stanley of the American Civil Liberties Union. “At the same time, we do know that DHS institutionally has had a role in pushing local governments to increase their surveillance through grants. I would hope they would not use this program to encourage unnecessary surveillance.”


via Unmanned Systems Technology

May 22nd, 2012

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