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The video claimed that some kind of civilian flying will be legal only in 2015 - in the US.

If you have hundreds of drones flying over a big city, how is the air space going to be controlled? What if 2 of those things crash at high altitude and the debris falls on ground? Or they hit a bird like real planes do now and then. Or if they hit a building? I think there's quite a bit traffic control rules to be made in such short time.

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The changes are in airspace use - at the moment most airspace is restricted to manned aircraft.

The rule changes will allow unmanned aircraft into some of it under some conditions.

Drones are currently fee to operate, IIRC, up to 500 feet and some distance away from airports. Within those limitations you can do anything you like - "spy" on your neighbours - IIRC LA real estate agents have been using them for taking overhead photos of sections for example. The LA police are concerned about this because their helicopters also sometimes operate in this airspace.

So the changes to rules are for safety reasons - to lay out how manned and unmanned a/c can operate in the same airspace.

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AFAIK for real planes air traffic control tries to keep enough distance between planes when they fly. Is something like this needed for drones or can anyone fly the way they want (possibly drones could fly according to auto pilot)? Even in the middle of city above cars and people? For real planes it's easier to keep these safety zones because there are so few of them. But if drone density is high enough, how are the air traffic jams & collisions avoided?

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I have watched clips of hobbyists flying RC models that were large, fast (especially the jet powered ones), and were capable of flying fairly high. These sparked some concern in me about possible collisions with GA aircraft. Normally, the RC guys do not fly near airports or other high traffic areas, but GA pilots sometimes just go out and wander around, and one might not know when one was going to pop up where the hobbyists were flying that day. SFAIK no such collisions have occurred as yet, but if the number of machines flying in low to medium airspace increases dramatically, the chance of accidental encounters also goes up.

Michael

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"Rise of the Machines"? Menacing techno music? Oh brother.

I was about to type "TL;DW", but then eight and a half minutes in the docu gets to showing some of the not-necessarily-negative applications for drone technology.

It'll be interesting to read about the first instance in the US of a police drone getting shot down by the same suspects on whom it had been performing surveillance. Then again, for all I know such an instance has already been reported on.

So if, sometime in the near future, someone misflies their livestreaming-webcam-fitted mini-UAV and crashes it into my face as I'm walking to/from the grocery store, will I be able to sue the pilot of said mini-UAV? :D

From the video (at 12:47):

I'm predicting that the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that's been hovering around his house is going to be a folk hero in this country.

—Charles Krauthammer

Calling it now: said first guy will be Ted Nugent.

Won't it be ironic when some tech-head uses a small, cheap, agile drone to kamikaze into and thereby take down a larger, less maneuverable, and much more expensive government-agency drone?

Actually, tis a pretty nuanced video. Thanks for the link.

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I have watched clips of hobbyists flying RC models that were large, fast (especially the jet powered ones), and were capable of flying fairly high. These sparked some concern in me about possible collisions with GA aircraft. Normally, the RC guys do not fly near airports or other high traffic areas, but GA pilots sometimes just go out and wander around, and one might not know when one was going to pop up where the hobbyists were flying that day.

hobbyists are required to fly lower than 400 feet - which is below the minimum allowed altitude for a/c unless tehy ahve a legitimate reason for doing so (eg landing and taking off, medical evac, crop/fire/dispersant spraying, etc)

so your basic GA pilot should never, ever, be less than 100ft seperated from a RC a/c.....yeah...right!

Here is the FAA web page of news releases regarding unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - which is the technical term these days

the FAQ page linked from there is probably the best palce to start

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Here is the FAA web page of news releases regarding unmanned aerial systems (UAS) - which is the technical term these days

the FAQ page linked from there is probably the best palce to start

Thanks for the links - useful info which answered some of my questions

"Currently there are no actions being taken to establish a "special UAS airspace"

and

"Presently, the FAA is drafting a rule to address small UAS. " - so work in progress.

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Post 9/11, things got very challenging for those flying large RC aircraft. To avoid the demise of the hobby via ever expanding government regulation, there was an awful lot of work done to produce operating rules all could live with.

Here's the set defining the various classes of Large Model Aircraft, the operating competency which must be demonstrated, technical parameters, flight control requirements and more.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/files/520-a.pdf

Regards,

John Kettler

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It is a ridiculous idea to allow drones to be flown. For a country prepared to put its citizens through hoops to travel on planes the idea of an unfettered use of the sky by drones is absurd.

I never ceased to be astonished at "peoples" willingness not to look into the future effects. This is especially true when lots of money can be made out of the new technology. A Government ought to be the mechanism for looking at new techs and deciding if they are suitable or carry too much downside.

Once they are numerous legal drones the opportunity to infiltrate a terrorist weapon with GPS guidance to a target is trivially easy.

There is also the concept of privacy which may not be as important as safety but it does affect everyone.

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I never ceased to be astonished at "peoples" willingness not to look into the future effects. This is especially true when lots of money can be made out of the new technology. A Government ought to be the mechanism for looking at new techs and deciding if they are suitable or carry too much downside.

Yep. Time once was when the idea that it was the government's job to protect its citizenry from unscrupulous and/or half-baked schemes and merchandise could be held with at least a modicum of confidence. Then we were told that government regulation was bad and ought to be abolished. Now it's gotten to be pretty much every man for himself and if you can't afford your own research laboratory to test every item you might be inclined to buy, well tough luck sucker. That's what you get for not being a millionaire.

Michael

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The plan to have those drones flying in US air space 2015 is progressing though. See:

http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2012/12/14-drones-bennett

One more example of what is possible already - a bird size drone that can carry a video camera and send the signal while flying:

http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2011/11/24.aspx

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I never ceased to be astonished at "peoples" willingness not to look into the future effects. This is especially true when lots of money can be made out of the new technology. A Government ought to be the mechanism for looking at new techs and deciding if they are suitable or carry too much downside.

IIRC An Apple Store in the US recently refused to sell an ipad to an Iranian-American...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18545003

;-)

Ban mobile phones, balsa wood and servos I say.

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Lovely entrenched interest groups and business put through a bill manadating that drones will be free to fly and expect the FAA to sort it out in a short time frame. Dollar signs at the end so why worry.

And an exemption for hobbyists and academics ..... well thats OK then. Who could possibly create trouble at under 55lbs. Lets see chaff dropped over power lines .....

: )

P.S. http://www.reuters.com/subjects/income-inequality/washington

Is it possible Washington politicians are being influenced?

Nearly 13,000 lobbyists registered with the government last year and reported $3.3 billion in fees, or about $260,000 per lobbyist. That's 22 percent more lobbyists and 37 percent more inflation-adjusted revenue per lobbyist than in 1998, according to a Reuters analysis of data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Times are flush for Washington lawyers as well. The number of attorneys in the area has risen 44 percent, twice the national rate, to 41,000 since 1999. Their average income, adjusted for inflation, rose 35 percent to $156,000.

The number of organizations with a political presence in Washington - that maintain an office or are represented by lobbyists or lawyers - more than doubled between 1981 and 2006 to nearly 14,000, according to a study by political scientists Kay L. Schlozman, Sidney Verba and Henry E. Brady.

These professionals work predominantly for groups representing the top of society. Schlozman and her colleagues found that more than half the groups were devoted to furthering the interests of businesses. The next closest were state and local governments, at 12 percent. The rest were fragmented into single-digit shares among divergent interests. Second to last on the list, just above unions, were groups advocating for the poor, at 0.9 percent.

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Funnily enough early 20th century rocket development by UK amateurs belonging to the British Interplanetary Society were thwarted by Government jobsworths. All they could readily do was modify fireworks - meanwhile in Germany....

Drones for hire

http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/Drones-for-Hire-179517781.html

The FAA has focused its initial UAV rollout on small craft, under 25 pounds, which include almost 150 models made in the United States. To streamline the Certificate of Authorization process—a goal mandated by Congress—the agency is fast-tracking these little drones into parts of the domestic airspace, as long as they’re flown under 400 feet and by public safety agencies. (Many other potential users, like land-use managers and scientists, are trying, with some success, to get certificates as well. The FAA is making decisions on a case-by-case basis.) While public safety agencies are putting drones to work on various operations, a handful of sites will soon open to test general airspace integration. This December the FAA plans to designate six, in addition to an existing site, run by New Mexico State University, which since 2011 has tested drones in 15,000 square miles of lightly trafficked airspace around Las Cruces. At the test sites, operators will work out systems and protocols so they can advise the FAA as it creates nationwide regulations.

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Hmm quality argument. I suppose allowing that early research on anthrax was by talented amateurs we take that lesson forward from history. : )

BTW

Professor Todd Humphreys and his students at the University of Texas demonstrated this. This February, and at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, Humphreys’ group managed to commandeer a civil UAS – a Hornet Mini, manufactured by Adaptive Flight for use by, among others, law enforcement personnel – by means of a GPS spoofing attack. With specially-designed technology, Humphreys and company fooled the Hornet into accepting their false navigation instructions. “By inducing a false upward drift in the UAV’s perceived location,” Humphrey later testified to Congress, “the spoofer fooled the UAV’s flight controller into commanding a dive.”88 The professor acknowledged the attack’s complexity, and thus also, the low likelihood of its replication by laymen. But, Humphreys cautioned, “emerging tools of software-defined radio and availability of GPS signal simulators are putting spoofers within the reach of ordinary malefactors.”89

But no worries they will be able to install anti-spoofing devices which will of course be uncrackable. What I am not clear on is with a hoped for 30,000 floating around by 2020 who is to spot the interloping enemy drone. Why not use your own after all its a hobby up until 55lbs - though who is going to weigh them .....

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Seems rather extreme action Wicky!. Cars are pretty darn useful. And of course are registered and constrained by roads and barriers.

Apart from security the privacy concerns would be paramount in most peoples minds. Seems curious in a world where preventing hackers and perverts we would countenance the ability for people to fly over their neighbours gardens, beaches, schools taking film or pictures. The benefits to society are seemingly concentrated to a very narrow area yet in theory everyone will be allowed to have their own.

Incidentally the other thing will be flying cars with at least one model certified to fly. In a counry of vast open spaces it may appear not to be a problem but in Europe there are some very densely populated areas intrusive noise and outright loss of privacy would be a major concern.

The downsides hugely outweigh the upside for general use. The use by specialist services is certainly more hopeful.

PS good article Wicky thanks

http://blogs.computerworld.com/cybercrime-and-hacking/20867/remote-attacks-hack-and-self-destruct-cars

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