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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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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Drones for dummies

Drones for dummies | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

If you've checked out the news these past few (or many) months, you've probably noticed some news about drones: Drones used by the CIA to vaporize suspected terrorists. Drones used by the United States military. Drones that deliver food. Drones used by cops. Drones possibly violating the US Constitution. Drones protecting wildlife. Drones in pop culture. Maybe this has left you with some burning questions about these increasingly prominent flying robots. Here's an easy-to-read, non-wonky guide to them—we'll call it Drones For Dummies.

 

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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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Matternet: Swapping roads for flying drones

Matternet: Swapping roads for flying drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Two start-ups want to replace road transport with internet-style technology and swarms of tiny autonomous helicopters.

 

The Matternet concept grew out of lengthy brainstorming sessions last summer at Singularity University, which is located at the NASA Research Park campus in Silicon Valley. The University was founded by Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the X-Prize Foundation, and Dr. Ray Kurzweil, who is known for his work in artificial intelligence and transhumanism.

 

One of those involved in those sessions was Andreas Raptopoulos, an engineer with a life-long love of flying vehicles.

 

"In the course, they asked us to come up with solutions to some of the globe's grand challenges," says Raptopoulos. "And one of those was alleviating poverty."

 

Quadcopter swarm

 

The more the group thought about the problem of poverty, the more they felt it was, in large part, caused by the fact that millions of people are cut off, literally, from the global economy because of a lack of delivery infrastructure.

 

"The concept of using roads to move stuff around is a very, very old concept," Raptopoulos tells me. "The US has now more than  miles of roads. But should Africa try to replicate that? It is expensive, and it destroys the environment."
 
Eventually, the group considered the merits of an unconventional delivery system. Why not, they thought, use a network of unmanned aerial drones to move physical objects the way the internet carries small packets of information through various routes, and then puts all those pieces together again at the end?

 

“That’s when the idea clicked for me,” says Mint Wongviriyawong, who was also a member of the group. “If you could use these UAVs to transport things from point-to-point, you could transport a lot of loads, autonomously, within a shorter time frame, and it could be done cheaply.”

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Activists launch campaign against ‘autonomous weapons’: Killer robots must be stopped

Activists launch campaign against ‘autonomous weapons’: Killer robots must be stopped | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban “killer robots” before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates.

Robot warfare and autonomous weapons, the next step from unmanned drones, are already being worked on by scientists and will be available within the decade, said Dr Noel Sharkey, a leading robotics and artificial intelligence expert and professor at Sheffield University. He believes that development of the weapons is taking place in an effectively unregulated environment, with little attention being paid to moral implications and international law.

 

The Stop the Killer Robots campaign will be launched in April at the House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons.

 

Tracy McVeigh, The Observer

24 Feb 2013

ddrrnt's insight:

Comment via Narrative Designer on Twitter:

 

@ddrrnt well that took a while. DOD has been talking publicly about autonomous war machines since at least 2005. Maybe people will wake up.

 

http://twitter.com/StephenDinehart/status/305857869528580096

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Kev Bauer's curator insight, March 21, 2013 8:17 PM

who's to blame for accidental death? manufacturer, software developer, victim.

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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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Drones Are Real. So Are Perceptions.

PBS's long-running and award-winning science series, NOVA, aired an hour-long documentary last week on the rapid increase in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones. It was titled, appropriately, "Rise of the Drones."

 

Most of this program focuses, as NOVA usually does, on the science, technology and inventiveness that have propelled these new air vehicles to a point where, we are told, "because they have been so effective, the Air Force predicts nearly a third of its attack and fighter planes will be drones within a decade."

 

It also takes us to future domestic, non-military possibilities with smaller versions, the very thought of which is already stirring controversy.

 

But in the middle of the program, NOVA does not shy away from reporting, although with less depth, on the darker side of the increasing military usage. (...)

 

I was surprised to be bombarded by roughly 700 critical emails and phone calls beginning on Jan. 28, five days after the program aired, mostly from those responding to an "Action Alert" from the media-watch organization FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) urging their subscribers to write to me. The lead of FAIR's analysis said: "The PBS Nova broadcast 'Rise of the Drones' was sponsored by Lockheed-Martin — a clear violation of PBS's underwriting guidelines."

 

FAIR acknowledged that it wasn't their eagle-eyes that spotted Lockheed's funding involvement. That came from Kevin Gosztola who reported in a posting on Firedoglake.com on Jan. 24 that, "before the documentary began, PBS noted the program had received funding from the David H. Koch Foundation for Science. It also received 'additional funding' from Lockheed Martin." He pointed out that Lockheed is "one of the nation's biggest military defense contractors and is developing drones."

Gosztola also reported that although the actual broadcast included an underwriting announcement including Lockheed at the beginning, "that credit was removed from the webcast, and the company is not credited on the Nova website for the episode."

 

Michael Getler

PBS | Ombudsman 

31 Jan 2012

 

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NOVA | New Ways to Use Drones

NOVA | New Ways to Use Drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Here is one sign of the huge potential of drones: The University of North Dakota recently began offering an undergraduate major in unmanned aircraft systems operations.


For now, most graduates end up in jobs that support the military, but program head Ben Trapnell predicts that civilian uses will eventually far outpace those for defense.


An unmanned plane could fly over a field and send back pictures to show where pests are located or where crops need irrigation.


"Some of the big things [are] agricultural uses," said Trapnell. "We can get imagery to farmers a lot faster than having to wait for satellites to do the same thing." For instance, an unmanned plane could fly over a field and send back pictures to show where pests are located or where crops need irrigation.


Trapnell also foresees medical applications. "There's the possibility of flying organs from one place to another to get them there faster for transplants," he said. Drones may also be used to parachute medical supplies in remote locations, where planes can't land.


Utility companies could benefit from drones. Trapnell predicts they will one day patrol pipelines and power lines to monitor for problems. Small helicopter drones may fly close to wind turbines to make video inspections.


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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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Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network | inQuid

Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network | inQuid | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Matternet has a vision of creating a network of autonomous flying drones that can deliver medical and other vital supplies to regions that either do not have access to such things, or find getting them tough. The drone network would serve areas with no serviceable road access, or places that have been devastated by natural disasters or war.

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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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Robo-Chopper Fights Wine Country Pests : DNews


California researchers at are teaming up with a Japanese vehicle manufacturer on a project to fly drone helicopters over Napa Valley vineyards to combat insect pests. The unmanned chopper — Yamaha RMAX IIG — has also been used in Australia as well, and farmers in Japan are also using it to spray and seed small areas, such as rice paddies, without affecting neighboring fields. A team at UC Davis recently ran a test flight in the Oakville district of Napa, and plans to expand, according to Wines and Vines.


by Eric Niiler

13 Jan 2013

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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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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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Drones - The Birth of a New Transportation Mode

The buzz around drones has intensified in recent months. The FAA Reauthorization bill that was signed into law last year directs the FAA to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015. Meanwhile, PBS aired a NOVA episode last month on drones titled “Rise of the Drones", and this week TIME Magazine published a cover story with the same title. I encourage you to read and watch all of these sources to get the full picture of what’s happening with this technology.

 

Rise of the Drones: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/rise-of-the-drones.html ; (the segment beginning at 38:55 is particularly interesting)

 

TIME cover story: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2135132,00.html

 

So, how might drones transform supply chain and logistics processes? In a blog posting earlier this week, Kevin O’Meara (former logistics executive at Whirlpool, now with Breakthrough Fuel) wrote that drones “could revolutionize air freight delivery in the package space,” particularly in servicing small, less-densely populated areas. The most visionary idea I’ve seen, however, comes from Matternet, which aims to “do for physical transportation what the Internet did for the flow of information.”

 

Kevin O’Meara's blog post: http://10xlogistics.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/a-drone-delivers-your-package.html?spref=tw

 

Matternet: http://matternet.us/

 

 

Adrian Gonzalez

06 Feb 2013

ddrrnt's insight:

Also watch Marc Andreesen on the possibility of a peer-to-peer drone delivery network: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiQyDhXiU4s&feature=youtu.be&t=9m38s

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Spying eyes or a bit of fun, drones fly off the shelves

Spying eyes or a bit of fun, drones fly off the shelves | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Remote-controlled drones that can record video footage are being sold in large retail stores, alarming privacy experts who say they could be used to spy on people.

 

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim is cautious about the growing use of camera drones.

 

''It is concerning that this type of equipment can be easily purchased and used by individuals, potentially without any limitation on their use,'' said Mr Pilgrim, who recently wrote to the Attorney-General raising his concerns.

 

As Mr Pilgrim points out, under Australia's 1988 Privacy Act, private sector organisations with a turnover of less than $3 million are not subject to regulation, leaving plenty of scope for abuse.

(...)

The executive director of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems Australia, Peggy MacTavish, said people using drones were subject to privacy and public safety laws, including the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's regulations for unmanned systems.

 

''Our membership ranges from the multinational corporations … right down to individuals who want to fly for recreation,'' she said. ''Even if it's recreational there are rules and regulations that apply.''

 

Ms MacTavish confirmed that drones were increasingly being sold by Australian retailers, including at Melbourne Airport, and sales to private citizens were growing. ''They're everywhere,'' Ms MacTavish said.

 

 

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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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Florida police want to use drones for crowd control

Florida police want to use drones for crowd control | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Police want legislation that would limit their use of drones to include an exception for crowd control.

(...)

Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican, said the exception would have allowed King George to use drones against the Boston Tea Party if the unmanned aircraft had existed in the 18th century.

 

The Community Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill (SB 92), although several members urged Negron to consider loosening its restrictions.

 

The bill would ban the use of drones for law and code enforcement with three major exceptions, including terrorism.

 

It also would allow drone use authorized by search warrants and in cases of imminent danger, such as a missing child.

ddrrnt's insight:

Looks like decent legislation.  It seems to keep privacy worries out of the equation.  However, "crowd control" needs more clarification because it could apply to such a wide variety of contexts.    I mean, big cities are essentially crowded, most of the time.  So..?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd_control

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Brittany Blake's curator insight, December 22, 2013 6:56 PM

How can drones be used in crowd control?

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The private drone industry is like Apple in 1984

The private drone industry is like Apple in 1984 | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The UAV industry is a fairly new one, and right now its main focus is on consumer products. That’s partially because it is growing from a consumer base: What has made them possible is the smartphone revolution, which drove down the price on the tiny electronic components needed to turn low-power remote control aircraft into flying robots that navigate, communicate, and sense. While defense contractors were making expensive and powerful drones for the US military, hobbyists were basically bolting iPhones onto remote-controlled helicopters.


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First Successful Perching on a Human Hand by a Robotic Bird Airplane (MAV/ UAV)

Micro-sized flying vehicles have all sorts of potential uses from surveillance to communications and, frankly, pure fun, but few of them demonstrate the smarts of a new ornithopter robot from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The flapping bird-like aircraft copies many aerodynamic tricks from real bird flight, and is actually capable of the complicated bunt/braking maneuver birds use when coming to land on a perch. In this case, the bot is shown landing on a human's hand--but in terms of surveillance, it's easy to see a bot like this swooping in on a target's window frame to listen in to what's said inside a room. - via FastCompany


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A US$49 personal autonomous micro UAV?

A US$49 personal autonomous micro UAV? | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Imagine if you had your own tiny quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that you could control with your voice, that would automatically follow you while avoiding obstacles, and that could shoot and stream video of you using an onboard camera. Now imagine that you paid less than 50 bucks for it. Well, if the hype is to be believed, that’s just what tech firm Always Innovating is promising with its MeCam.


Not be confused with the unrelated MeCam wearable video camera, the MeCam UAV is currently still in development, but reportedly could be commercially available by the beginning of next year. San Francisco-based Always Innovating doesn’t plan on producing the device itself, but is instead looking at licensing the technology to commercial partners.

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Building Next-generation Autonomous Systems -

Building Next-generation Autonomous Systems - | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

To assist in this type of important mission, the SMASH project is exploring a combination of effective software design practices, artificial intelligence, and inexpensive hardware. These capabilities will allow one responder to control a fleet of quadcopters  or other robotic vehicles that search the rubble (for example, using thermal sensors, ground-penetrating radar, and other types of sensor payloads) and present the results to a smartphone or other human-computer device in a manner that’s useful and efficient to human operators, as shown in Figure 2.

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Florida sheriff wants drones to monitor civilians

Florida sheriff wants drones to monitor civilians | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Drones have already been deployed across several US states, but thousands of UAVs could soon be flying all across the country for surveillance purposes that some privacy advocates consider unconstitutional.


The Federal Aviation Administration has received at least 60 applications for drone employment in the US and this month approved 348 drones for domestic use. Most of the currently employed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used along the Mexican border to help law enforcement officers crack down on illegal immigration, but some drones will soon be used to monitor civilians.


The sheriff’s office in Orange County, Fl., has already experimented with two domestic surveillance drones that it plans to use over metro Orlando starting this summer, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The drones would not be armed, but would be used to track down criminals, terrorists and illegal immigrants, as well as be used for environmental monitoring and wildfire surveillance, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The FAA predicts that 30,000 UAVs will fly over the US in less than 20 years, which has alarmed privacy advocates who claim the drones are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against ‘unreasonable searches’. (...)


Across the nation, at least nine other legislators have taken steps to restrict the use of drones on their constituents. In December, state Sen. Alex Padilla introduced a bill to try to regulate drones in California, while Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey introduced a bill to establish national privacy safeguards and limit surveillance. Missouri Rep. Casey Guernsey considers the use of surveillance drones unconstitutional and this month introduced the ‘Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act’, which would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant in order to use UAV surveillance to gather criminal activity.


As drones become less expensive, our fear is that police and other agencies could use them for fishing expeditions that infringe on individual’s right to privacy,” Gary Brunk, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, told the Kansas City Star.


14 Jan 2013

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