Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Curated by ddrrnt
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Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs

Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Randal Franzen was 53, unemployed and nearly broke when his brother, a tool designer at Boeing, mentioned that pilots for remotely piloted aircraft – more commonly known as drones – were in high demand. (...)


While most jobs flying drones currently are military-related, universities and colleges expect that to change by 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration is due to release regulations for unmanned aircraft in domestic airspace. Once those regulations are in place, the FAA predicts that 10,000 commercial drones will be operating in the U.S. within five years.


Although just three schools currently offer degrees in piloting unmanned aircraft, many others – including community colleges – offer training for remote pilots. And those numbers figure are set to increase, with some aviation industry analysts predicting drones will eventually come to dominate the U.S. skies in terms of jobs.  

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Kev Bauer's curator insight, March 21, 2013 10:12 PM

new fields being created, not just military. what could be future industries/jobs related to drones?

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The Woes of an American Drone Operator

The Woes of an American Drone Operator | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. (...)


Modern warfare is as invisible as a thought, deprived of its meaning by distance. It is no unfettered war, but one that is controlled from small high-tech centers in various places in the world. The new (way of conducting) war is supposed to be more precise than the old one, which is why some call it "more humane." It's the war of an intellectual, a war United States President Barack Obama has promoted more than any of his predecessors. (...)




SPIEGEL ONLINE

Nicola Abé

14 Dec 2012


ddrrnt's insight:

Great article about  Brandon Bryant and Vanessa Meyer, drone pilots.

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Citizen Drone Warfare

Via HuffingtonPost
An American enthusiast has outfitted a drone with paintball cannons as part of an effort to show how 'civilian warfare' robots could be used for personal defense.

The robot, shown on YouTube, can handily dispatch cardboard cutout targets.

The video was made as part of an effort to find out what happens when drones are used for unethical or illegal purposes.

The drone also had a mount for a handgun, according to DangerInfo.
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Next-gen US drone: Now equipped with ‘death ray’ laser

Next-gen US drone: Now equipped with ‘death ray’ laser | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The next generation of military drones, unveiled by a leading US manufacturer, will not just carry a limited supply of rockets – but will likely be fitted with an ultra-light laser, capable of repeatedly destroying objects at the speed of light.

“It would give us an unlimited magazine,” a person close to the High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) program told Time magazine.

Over the past four years, the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) has given contractor General Atomics over $60 million to develop and then scale HELLADS – a powerful 150 kW ray with a difference.

RT.com
11 Dec 2012
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Swimming robot reaches Australia

Swimming robot reaches Australia | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
A marine robot has completed a record-breaking 9,000 nautical mile (16,668km) trip across the Pacific Ocean.

BBC
05 Dec 2012
ddrrnt's insight:

The robot was gathering data about phytoplankton, both as a food source for other sea life, as well as a carbon sink. It is said to provide greater detail than satellite data.  


The PacX Wave Glider is manufactured by Liquid Robotics, a US based company. 

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Iran TV shows 'captured US drone'

Iran TV shows 'captured US drone' | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Iranian state television shows images of what it says is an unmanned US drone captured in its airspace, but the US Navy denies losing one.


The Revolutionary Guards said they had brought down a ScanEagle - one of the smaller, less sophisticated drones employed by the Americans.


Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi told the Fars news agency that the drone had conducted several reconnaissance flights over the Gulf in recent days.


But the US Navy said none of its drones was missing in the Middle East.


Other nations in the region, including the United Arab Emirates, also operate ScanEagles - low-cost, long-endurance aircraft with a 10ft (3m) wingspan, Associated Press says.

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UAVs in civilian airspace moves closer - News - Shephard

UAVs in civilian airspace moves closer - News - Shephard | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A new strategic partnership between the UK’s National Aeronautical Centre (NAC) and Oklahoma State University’s Multispectral Laboratory (UML) could pave the way for the use of UAVs in civilian airspace. The partnership, announced on 22 November, aims to provide data and experience necessary to establish national safety standards for the construction, testing and control of civilian UAS that will enable them to operate in civilian airspace under regulated conditions (...)


Ray Mann, managing director of West Wales Airport said: ‘This is an extremely important development that will deliver many benefits, as well as maintaining both our facilities at the leading edge of this burgeoning sector of aerospace. I am very pleased this special working relationship has been created with Oklahoma and believe our experiences at the NAC will be a major contribution to our work together.

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AUVSI: Unmanned aerial vehicles help law-enforcement agencies save money, catch criminals - Avionics Intelligence

AUVSI: Unmanned aerial vehicles help law-enforcement agencies save money, catch criminals - Avionics Intelligence | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

“The Sheriff’s Office in Mesa County, Colo., operates an unmanned aircraft at the cost of $3.36 per hour, compared to $250 to $600 per hour for a manned aircraft,” AUVSI reveals.


The purchase price of a UAS is also significantly less than a manned aircraft, at a cost roughly the same as a patrol car with standard police gear. In fact, agencies are increasingly opting to purchase a compact unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, in lieu of a new patrol car. This growing trend is spurring privacy debates, talk of and demand for increased legislation, and new court cases.


The vast majority of UAS currently flying in the U.S. are small models that weigh less than 25 pounds and can fit in the trunk of a car, according to AUVSI officials, who cite a recent poll by Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.


“An overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of using drones to help with search and rescue missions (80%). Two-thirds of the public also support using drones to track down runaway criminals (67%) and control illegal immigration on the nation’s border (64%),” reveals a Monmouth University spokesperson.


September 6, 2012
By Courtney Howard

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Drone demand could be big boost to economy

Drone demand could be big boost to economy | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Within the next decade unmanned aerial vehicles are expected to bring in $89 billion worldwide and the U.S. is expected to dominate an estimated 62 percent of that market. That is if the Federal Aviation Administration meets congressional guidelines and deadlines for UAV use in the national airspace.


Sep 28, 2012

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High anxiety on the Hill about civilian drone use

High anxiety on the Hill about civilian drone use | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

When it comes to drones, the DHS is MIA, lawmakers said ...


Members of Congress from both parties fear that the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t crafted adequate security protocols for the looming explosion of private, domestic drone use.


Witnesses, including a University of Texas professor (Todd Humphreys) who hijacked a drone last month, told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight, investigations and management that, with the proper equipment and expertise, it’s relatively easy to jam drones’ GPS signals and take control of them.


Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, are currently used only by the military and law enforcement agencies.


But they will be available for commercial and personal use beginning in 2015, and critics say the federal government isn’t considering how dangerous they could be in the wrong hands.


By Ben Wolfgang

19 Jul 2012

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Critics object to Obama nominating ‘Mr. Drone’ John Brennan to CIA head | The Raw Story

Critics object to Obama nominating ‘Mr. Drone’ John Brennan to CIA head | The Raw Story | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The nomination of President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan to head the CIA has sparked outrage and concern about America’s growing drones programme and its use for targeted killings of suspected Islamic militants.


Brennan has been a key architect of drones policy under Obama and many experts believe that the use of the unmanned robot planes in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia is likely to increase if he becomes America’s top spy.


“If Brennan leads the CIA then you ain’t seen nothing yet. That troubles me greatly,” said Amos Guiora, a legal professor at the Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. (...)


Officially, the CIA still does not admit that its programme exists, but Brennan has been closely identified with promoting its use in the Obama administration. He has been dubbed “Mr Drone” in the media and has been the public face of the programme when it comes to arguing that its use is both legal and effective. In a speech last year at the Woodrow Wilson Center he said: “There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat.” (...)


“John Brennan has deliberately deceived the American public about the effects of these drone strikes, claiming they haven’t killed any civilians and refuses to acknowledge empirical evidence to the contrary,” said Leah Bolger, president of anti-war group Veterans for Peace. “The combat drone program is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, none of whom received any sort of due process; were citizens of a country with which we are not at war; and were murdered not as a result of military action, but by a civilian agency – the CIA,” she added. (...)


In the US the increased use of drones has given birth to a protest movement that has encompassed numerous groups all over the country. Anti-drone activists are now planning a major protest for Obama’s inauguration in Washington, DC, this month and also a month of actions in April aimed at military bases where drones are controlled, factories where they are made and universities where drone research is carried out. “More people are waking up to this,” said Nick Mottern, director of a group called Know Drones.


Paul Harris, The Gaurdian

10 Jan 2013

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Are Drones a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Are Drones a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Jeff Braun's Emergency Management blog shares an article first published in Governing magazine, and then later in Emergency Management magazine. Written by Eli Richman, and published by Emergency Management on November 30, 2012, the article provides an overview of the use of drones by emergency responders in the United States. It is becoming apparent that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, can assist law enforcement agencies in a variety of activities. As pointed out in the article, perhaps it could be helpful in finding a lost hiker in a national forest. Closer to home, perhaps a drone could have been used a few years ago when local responders attempted to find a missing kayaker lost on a stream in Fort Bend County?

Fire first responders could use such a tool also; perhaps for getting a birds-eye view of a hazardous materials incident or major fire. Think about how valuable the use of such equipment might be as hundreds of responders attempt to fight a raging wildfire in close proximity to a subdivision. Emergency managers could use an unmanned aerial vehicle for conducting damage assessments after a hurricane. It would seem to be an efficient way of getting needed information without putting responder lives at risk. As a matter of fact, it has recently become known that NASA is readying a couple of experimental UAVs to track future storms. Why? To assist communities in preparing for the storms.

For more information on NASA’s use of drones.
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US Air Force may be secretly developing next generation of stealth drones

US Air Force may be secretly developing next generation of stealth drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Bill Sweetman (of Aviation Week) reports that Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman are behind the new drones, which include a "Next Generation" stealth bomber and UAV reconnaissance plane. None of these plans have been officially disclosed, however, highlighting a significant contrast to the Air Force's public-facing side, which has repeatedly expressed reluctance about incorporating drones as its mainstay. In 2008, then-US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that trying to get the Air Force to expand its drone armies was "like pulling teeth."

Joshua Kopstein
10 Dec 2012
ddrrnt's insight:

Here's the full story in Aviation Week.

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Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone"

Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone" | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
From Patch.

Even as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department considers buying an unmanned aerial vehicle, Berkeley City Council will discuss declaring the city a No Drone Zone.

Arguing that drones are unsafe and pose a threat to civil liberties, Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission is recommending that the city council adopt a resolution this month proclaiming:

"1. Berkeley a No Drone Zone and instructing the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration of a No Drone Zone into an Ordinance for the City of Berkeley wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace.

2. That drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Berkeley over the City of Berkeley, including drones in transit.

3. That exemptions will be made for hobbyists to continue to fly remote controlled model aircraft in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped with any kind of camera or audio surveillance equipment."
ddrrnt's insight:

Via Patch 

Does the county sheriff need a drone?

Also see: 

Calif. Residents Concerned By Drone Use In Law Enforcement

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Air Force May Be Developing Stealth Drones in Secret

Air Force May Be Developing Stealth Drones in Secret | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar drone fleets may have helped against the insurgents of Iraq and Afghanistan. But in a fight against a real military like China’s, the relatively defenseless unmanned aerial vehicles would get shot down in a second. So once again, the air will belong to traditional, manned bombers and fighters able to survive the sophisticated air defenses.


Via dhorn
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Robocod: Homeland Security adds underwater drones to their arsenal with robots based on fish

Robocod: Homeland Security adds underwater drones to their arsenal with robots based on fish | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The BioSwimmer robot, being developed by Boston Engineering Corporation, has been designed to patrol coastal areas and search flooded parts of ships.


The new robot, named BioSwimmer, is actually based not on a cod but a tuna which is said to have the ideal natural shape for an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). (...)


BioSwimmer uses the latest battery technology for long-duration operation and boasts an array of navigation, sensor processing, and communications equipment designed for constricted spaces.

ddrrnt's insight:

Conserve and protect : Scoping the seas


Also see The PacX Wave Glider 

An exception to "Airbourne" is "Oceanic"


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Drone that can dodge obstacles developed by US scientists

Drone that can dodge obstacles developed by US scientists | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

An unmanned drone that can fly around hazards such as trees and poles without human control has been developed, opening the possibility of more autonomous flight.


Now, however, researchers at New York's Cornell University have managed to develop software that will help drones to dodge obstacles.


In the experiments, a miniature helicopter equipped with a camera captures images as it flies. Software developed by assistant professor of computer science Ashutosh Saxena and his team turns the image in the drone's camera into a 3D model of its environment, and the robotic brain then uses an algorithm to determine which objects are obstacles.


In 53 flights in environments full of hazards, the robot managed to find a pathway without crashing into any obstacles - although the final two flights failed due to gusts of wind.


Eventually it is hoped that the drone will be able to calculate wind patterns and avoid moving objects such as birds.


The research is being funded by US Defence agency DARPA and drone-producer Lockheed Martin.


By Ben Bryant

08 Nov 2012

Telegraph.co.uk

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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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Domestic drone backers worry about privacy and security

Domestic drone backers worry about privacy and security | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Within the span of about two weeks in July, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International issued a code of conduct and backed a defense spending bill that would restrict the government’s use of drones for surveillance. Lawmakers who, in February, mandated that the Federal Aviation Administration permit more drones to fly stateside voted in June to ban weaponized ones. (...)


DHS officials declined to appear at Rep. Michael McCaul’s July 19 hearing, which largely focused on the department’s role in protecting citizens from drone abuse. There is bipartisan concern that remotely piloted planes will capture personal information, fall victim to hackers—or worse—when the FAA law takes effect in 2015. (...)


McCaul maintains his concerns about the safety of drones have always existed. “We are less than two and a half years from our skies opening up to widespread use of drones by law enforcement and the private sector and no federal agency has taken the lead to address security and privacy,” he told Government Executive in an email. “This is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, and as chairman of the subcommittee with oversight jurisdiction it is my job to ensure DHS addresses these concerns. The department needs to provide guidance on security and privacy now, in advance of this proliferation, not after the fact.”


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San Diego's drone industry doubles in size

San Diego's drone industry doubles in size | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The size of San Diego County’s unmanned aerial vehicle industry doubled over the past five years and could double again as UAVs are increasingly used for everything from spying on suspected terrorists abroad to monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border, says a National University System report released Wednesday.


The industry, which is centered in North County, generated at least $1.3 billion locally in 2011 and directly and indirectly supported 7,135 jobs. The report says the true impact could be far higher due to classified programs that are not included in public records. (...)


Analysts say the global market for such aircraft could exceed $12 billion by 2019. (...)


“This is a dynamic, growing industry, and San Diego has a big opportunity to take advantage of the expected growth,” said Kelly Cunningham, an economist at National’s Institute for Policy Research and lead author of the report. (...)


Cunningham sees it clearly and notes that San Diego has at least two competitive advantages: An educated workforce and the county’s desirable weather. Local contractors also have long, successful ties to the military, a primary user of drones. (...)


“Our challenge in San Diego is access to FAA-approved airspace for flight testing autonomous UAVs,” said John Kosmatka, an engineering professor at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “This is the advantage that North Dakota, New Mexico, and Oklahoma have over us, where large open spaces and military bases are available.


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