Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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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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Hackers claim new air traffic system can be hijacked

Hackers claim new air traffic system can be hijacked | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

The FAA is already in the process of rolling out its Next Generation Air Transportation System, of NextGen, a state-of-the-art program that will keep tabs on every plane in US airspace using GPS technology in lieu of relying on traditional radar. In the wake of a series of incidents where GPS signals were spoofed, though, serious problems could emerge in the coming years.


"If I can inject 50 extra flights onto an air traffic controller's screen, they are not going to know what is going on," Canadian computer consultant Brad Haines told NPR last year. Because Haines and others can emulate unencrypted and unauthenticated GPS signals sent from imaginary planes, he says NextGen stands to warrant some upgrades before it’s ready for the rest of the world.


"If you could introduce enough chaos into the system – for even an hour – that hour will ripple though the entire world's air traffic control,” Haines told NPR.


Haines’ ideas are outrageous, but not exactly out of this world. Just last year, a Texas college professor spoofed, or faked, GPS signals in order to hijack an unmanned aerial vehicle right in front of the US Department of Homeland Security. The United States stands to have as many as 30,000 UAVs, or drones, flying overhead by the end of the decade. When Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin spoke with RT though, he said those aircraft could come down if hackers have their way.


“The navigations systems of these drones have a variety of sensors,” Humphreys told RT, “…but at the very bottom is a GPS unit — and most of these drones that will be used in the civilian airspace have a civilian GPS unit which is wide open and vulnerable to this kind of attack. So if you can commander the GPS unit, then you can basically spoon feed false navigation information to the navigation center of these drones.”


“Spoofing a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane,” the professor added in an interview with Fox News.


14 Jan 2013


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Drones To Fly In Nebraska Skies

Drones To Fly In Nebraska Skies | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

In his third floor office at the College of Journalism and Mass Communication on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, Professor Matt Waite showed off his latest gadget.


As he picked up a remote resembling a controller for a video game, Waite said “What this thing will teach you, beyond humility, is to keep nice and steady and stable.”


This thing is an unmanned aerial vehicle, also called a UAV or drone. (...)


Waite said giving journalists the ability to deploy drones at a moment’s notice will lead to the future of journalism.


According to Waite, drones will allow better coverage of all types of stories, from severe weather coverage to county fairs. He cautioned, though, you shouldn’t plan on seeing your local news station flying drones around your area just yet.


By Ryan Robertson, NET News

10 Jan 2013

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Laser used to shoot down drones

Laser used to shoot down drones | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A laser weapons system that can shoot down two drones at a distance of over a mile has been demonstrated by Rheinmetall Defence.

The German defence firm used the high-energy laser equipment to shoot fast-moving drones at a distance.


The system, which uses two laser weapons, was also used to cut through a steel girder a kilometre away.


The company plans to make the laser weapons system mobile and to integrate automatic cannon.

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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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World's first manned flight with an electric multicopter

‎'e-volo' Personal Multicopter

The ‘e-volo’ multicopter is a prototype personal transport vehicle, steerable via joystock and powered by sixteen propellers to hover in the air. a team of german professionals— physicist Thomas Senkel, programmer Stephan Wolf, and designer Philipp Halisch, as well as Alexander Zosel— have just completed the first prototype and test flight of the craft, which they imagine for use towards entertainment purposes, aerial photography and inspection, and short-distance travel.

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The Year in Hobby-Drone Crash Porn

The Year in Hobby-Drone Crash Porn | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

... more civilian and small-fry hobby drones than ever before took to American skies and beyond in 2012--when President Obama, to cite only the game-changer development here Stateside, formally tasked the Federal Aviation Administration with incorporating "small" (see: under 55 pounds) unmanned systems into US airspace by no later than August 14, 2013. The lion's share of this fleet will be going live for surveillance, search and rescue, and other various "dull, dirty and dangerous' missions (food delivery, anyone?), though thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these 'lil guys are already airborne. With cameras rolling, they lay bear a nagging reality that cuts across the unmanned game writ large: Drones are not perfect. In fact, drones crash. Often. 


(...) before looking up at all the hopes, fears, and uncertainties that 2013 may hold for civilian and hobby drones, why not toast some of those small-fry unmanned aerials that tumbled down to Earth, gracefully or glitchy or otherwise,


By Brian Anderson

MOTHERLOAD

01 Jan 2013


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Would you get into a plane with no pilot? Tests begin on next-generation of civilian 'drone' aircraft flown by remote-control

Would you get into a plane with no pilot? Tests begin on next-generation of civilian 'drone' aircraft flown by remote-control | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
  • Civilian aircraft would use same pilotless technology as military drones

  • It could slash costs of air travel and make possible new airborne services

  • Government-backed £62m project begins testing over Scotland next month
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‘Citizen Drone Warfare’: Hobbyist explores a frightening scenario

‘Citizen Drone Warfare’: Hobbyist explores a frightening scenario | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Titled “Citizen Drone Warfare” and posted to YouTube last week by an anonymous man calling himself “Milo Danger,” the video shows a hobbyist drone equipped with a custom-mounted paintball pistol flying over a grassy field and peppering human-shaped shooting-range targets with pellets.


Following an attack pass by the drone, one of the targets sports three large red blotches on its head and neck area.


“I wanted to show an inevitability of what I think will happen with these drones,” said “Milo,” who lives on the West Coast and spoke to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity. “I’m not advocating bad activities. But I wanted to raise some of the ethical issues we need to think about with this new technology.

ddrrnt's insight:

See the Danger Info video here.

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Map of Drones over the United States and Drone Failures

Map of Drones over the United States and Drone Failures | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a new map of authorized Drone use in the United States. The map is created from information obtained from EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FAA. This is an update to a previous map released in April.

The locations show specific identities, including Military and State and Local Law Enforcement, that have applied to the FAA for permission to fly unmanned aerial vehicles in United States airspace.
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Helicopters, Quadcopters, and This Year’s Other Amazing Flying Toys

Helicopters, Quadcopters, and This Year’s Other Amazing Flying Toys | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Prices given for these items reflect the listed retail price at the time of publication. Just before the holidays in 2010, I reviewed a bunch of flying toys—planes, helicopters, and UFO-like drones that could take to the air indoors and out.
ddrrnt's insight:

Nice review of all the RC copters that Santa will be delivering this Christmas. 

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Lights, Drones, Action: Hollywood’s high flyers hit Boston

Lights, Drones, Action: Hollywood’s high flyers hit Boston | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
A recent Boston drone sighting had locals buzzing: Who is that eye in the sky? Turns out it was a West Coast production company, helping wrap up aerial shots for an upcoming reality show.

Jeff Moriarty, one of the production company’s principals, said that since acquiring the drone, which came in an Ikea-like do-it-yourself kit, opportunities ranging from a stint on G4 to the aforementioned, still-secret Boston production continue to pop up.
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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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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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Poll: Should Journalists Use Drones? | PBS

ddrrnt's insight:

Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are all the rage in warfare these days. The U.S. sends them over countries where it would prefer not to send ground troops, and the military can fire missiles by remote control. But is there a place for UAVs in the media world? You can imagine journalists in war zones wanting to see what's happening from afar, with the possibility of compelling drone footage or images. But where's the line on privacy and do we really want paparazzi sending out drones to hover over celebrity and royal weddings in the future? Vote in our poll below about drones in journalism, and share your thoughts in the comment. Listen to our weekly podcast on drones (starting at the 7:30 mark) or read more from Katy Culver about the ethical dimension of drones in journalism.


by Mark Glaser,

07 Dec 2012

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Rise of the Drones | sUAS News

Rise of the Drones | sUAS News | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
ddrrnt's insight:
10 January 2013
By Press


Drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds – do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But now, with rare access to drone engineers and those who fly them for the US military, NOVA reveals the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful, showing viewers how a remotely-piloted drone strike looks and feels from inside the command center. From cameras that can capture every detail of an entire city at a glance, to swarming robots that can make decisions on their own, to giant air frames that can stay aloft for days on end, drones are changing our relationship to war, surveillance, and each other. And it’s just the beginning. Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history, as NOVAgets ready for “RISE OF THE DRONES” (premiering Wednesday, January 23, 2013, at 9pm/8c on PBS).


And it’s not just an American revolution. More than 55 other countries are currently building, buying or using aerial military robotics.


“NOVA gives viewers a dramatic glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies that are enabling engineers to remove the pilot from the cockpit and changing the way we engage in warfare,” said Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer of NOVA. “This eye-opening documentary also sheds light on the controversies surrounding the use of UAVs, both internationally and domestically, and explores the challenges and latest advances on the horizon.”


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BeeWi's Smart Toys Put Your Smartphone in Control

BeeWi's Smart Toys Put Your Smartphone in Control | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Like another iPad-controlled device, Parrot's popular AR.Drone, the big-wheeled ScaraBee ($149.99) lets you steer via simple on-iPad (or iPhone) controls — it connects via ad-hoc Wi-Fi — and includes a camera so you can see what the toy sees. Unlike the Drone, ScaraBee only records up to one minute of VGA video. It does drive for 15 minutes on a charge. I took the bot for a quick test drive and found the controls simple, though not entirely intuitive. I assume I'd get better with practice. The company also introduced TankBee, which connects to mobile devices via Bluetooth.


BeeWi's RC helicopters, also controlled by iOS and Android devices, do have cameras, but only the infrared sort, which they use to see other helicopters and stationary targets — the latter of which can "shoot" back. Five hits and the $119 StingBee slowly loses altitude until it lands back on the ground. There's also a $69.99 version that cannot shoot or read infrared beams.

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Construction is complete on behemoth airship; first flight planned

Construction is complete on behemoth airship; first flight planned | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

According to aircraft maker Worldwide Aeros Corp., construction is complete on a 36,000-pound blimp-like aircraft designed for the military to carry tons of cargo to remote areas around the world.


The Montebello company hopes to have a first flight in the coming months and to demonstrate cargo-carrying capability shortly thereafter.


"This is truly the beginning of a vertical global transportation solution for perhaps the next 100 years,” Chief Executive Igor Pasternak said in a statement.


Worldwide Aeros, a company of about 100 employees, built the prototype under a contract of about $35 million from the Pentagon and NASA.

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Terminator 5: Rise of the Food Delivery Services

ddrrnt's insight:

Also see: Tacocopters

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DRONENET The next BIG thing.

DRONENET   The next BIG thing. | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

It's a system that will explode in a way that is very similar to the way the Internet grew up -- where connections were bought by individuals and installed one modem and IP address at a time, and where the early providers are local geeks with shelves full of modems and an expensive T-1 lines.   


It's an approach that uses "uncontrolled airspace" and incremental purchases of cheap, standards compliant pads/drones to roll itself out (very similar to the way the Internet was able to piggy back on the old telephone system).  


As a result of this open approach and decentralization, it's something that could grow VERY fast.


John Robb

Global Gurrillas

ddrrnt's insight:

Really like how John refers to the civilian drone infrastructure as "DroneNet".

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The New Definition Of Drones | KPBS.org

The New Definition Of Drones | KPBS.org | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
When you hear the word drone, images of warfare or high-tech surveillance come to mind. But the former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and a young Tijuana programmer have a different idea. They believe drones will revolutionize our daily lives.

 

“You’ll think of them being like crop dusters," Anderson said. "You will think of them in entirely new context. We’ll forget that drones were once a defense industry thing and we’ll think of it as something you’ll buy at Wal-Mart.”

John Rosman
20 Dec 2012
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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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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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Waipahu High Students Build Aerial Quadcopter

Waipahu High Students Build Aerial Quadcopter | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
Students at Waipahu High School (in Hawaiʻi) are making the most of their UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) class and plan to take aerial photographs of their school to put on Google Earth.
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Drone for aerial photography

via Imaging Resource
Called a Dedicam and developed by two inventors from Switzerland, the drone recently shot stunning footage in the thin air over the Trango Towers mountains in Pakistan at altitudes of up 20,500 feet above sea level.
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