Tag Archives | Drones

drone strikes, drones,

Drone Strikes Under Obama

Since Obama has taken office, the use of drones in warfare has continued to increase. With that, we have also seen a tremendous rise in innocent civilians killed and some extremely disturbing tactics utilized during drone strikes.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, one reason civilian deaths have been on the rise is because often times, residential buildings have been targeted.

As reported in the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, another tactic has involved following up one drone strike with a second, in an effort to target rescuers of the injured. Drones have also been deployed to target the funerals of those killed in previous drone strikes.

The use of drones to fight our wars will continue to be a controversial topic for sure. But targeting funerals and family members as well? For that, there should be no debate.

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GoPro Drones

GoPro already owns the wearable video camera market which powered a very successful initial public offering of its shares this year. But how does the newly public company grow? By making the consumer drone market its own, reports the Wall Street Journal:

GoPro Inc. is developing its own line of consumer drones to expand from its core business of making wearable video cameras popular with surfers and other sports enthusiasts, according to people familiar with its plans.

The company plans to start selling multirotor helicopters equipped with high-definition cameras late next year, aiming for a price tag between $500 and $1,000, according to these people.

The entry of a big consumer-electronics brand to the drone market signals how mainstream—and lucrative—the industry has become in just a few years. Consumers have flocked to unmanned aircraft in recent years as technology advances have made them smaller, cheaper and easier to fly, leaving regulators scrambling to keep up.

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Board says FAA has power over drones, can impose $10K fine

FAA-Logovia Gigaom:

In a setback for consumer drone advocates, the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday supported the FAA’s authority to impose a $10,000 fine on Raphael Pirker, a photographer who had taken pictures from the air over the University of Virginia.

In its ruling, which reverses an administrative judge’s decision in March to throw out the fine, the Board said the FAA has authority over any “aircraft,” even model aircraft or unmanned devices, and can impose fines accordingly.

The board’s decision comes at a time of ongoing controversy over what many perceive as a heavy-handed approach to drones on the part of the FAA, which has declared no one may use the devices for business purposes — including for activities like news photography and search-and-rescue — without a special waiver. But the agency has been slow to grant such waivers, even as drone-based businesses are taking off in Canada and elsewhere.

Several media outlets, including the New York Times, had filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Pirker and challenging the FAA’s blanket ban as a violation of their First Amendment rights.

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Bionic Bird Drones Latest Surveillance Tool

Drones that look like birds apparently are sufficiently bird-like to fool not only grounded humans but actual airborne birds, thanks to what the inventor, Edwin Van Ruymbeke, describes as biomimicry. His crowdfunding appeal has already met its goal and the Bionic Bird is about to be a reality according to his page at indiegogo:

If you act now you can have your own avian drone in time for Christmas, enabling you to spy on the neighbors and see what Santa brings them this year…

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What Nobel Prize Winner Barack Obama Doesn’t Want You to Know about Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai

Russell Watkins/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Russell Watkins/Department for International Development (CC BY 2.0)

Zack Beauchamp writes at Vox:

On Friday morning [Oct. 10], 17 year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai’s prize is well-deserved: she’s been a prominent campaigner for girls’ education for years, and survived a Taliban assassination attempt for her efforts.

But women’s education isn’t Malala’s only cause. She’s also waged a prominent campaign on a topic Americans aren’t talking much about nowadays: the drone war in Pakistan.

In characteristically bold fashion, Yousafzai brought these concerns up in a meeting with President Obama back in October 2013 — one that had originally been held to celebrate her commitment to education.

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement after the meeting — before turning to drones. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism.

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Chinese Announce Anti-Drone Laser System

NOTE: This is probably not how the lasers will look. andrea.pacelli (cc by-sa 2.0)

NOTE: This is probably not how the lasers will look.
andrea.pacelli (cc by-sa 2.0)

好哇!

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

In a world increasingly populated by drone aircraft, systems designed to counter such machines are increasingly on the mind of world governments.

Weapon developers in China have announced the successful testing of a ‘laser defense system’ designed to target and destroy small-scale drones, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

In a statement released Sunday by the China Academy of Engineering Physics, cited as one of the system’s co-developers, the laser system is able to “shoot down various small aircraft within a two-kilometer radius and can do so in five seconds after locating its target.”

The report in Xinhua boasted that the system has had a 100 percent success rate in trials, shooting down “more than 30 drones” during testing.

According to the report, this system would be used for anti-terrorism efforts inside the country and to destroy unauthorized “low-flying” drones that pose a threat to public safety.

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Facebook to start testing internet beaming drones in 2015

facebook-is-redefining-checkin-numbers-for-pages-483addba84

via Gizmag:

There was an understandable amount of skepticism when Amazon announced its grand plans for delivery drones last year. But if the last twelve months are any indication, Jeff Bezos and his fellow tech heavyweights are actually kinda serious about the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. Speaking at the Social Good Summit in New York on Monday, engineering director at Facebook Connectivity Lab, Yael Maguire, has further detailed the company’s vision of internet-carrying drones, with plans to begin testing in 2015.

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s Connectivity Lab and its partnership with the Internet.org project in March this year. The initiative ultimately seeks to use solar-powered UAVs to beam internet down to the two thirds of the global population who aren’t yet connected. But to achieve this, Facebook’s Connectivity Lab and other Internet.org partners must first develop solar-powered aircraft with the ability to fly at high altitudes for long periods of time.

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Watch a Robot Ride a Hovercycle

Screenshot from video below.

Screenshot from video below.

A lot of robot talk today, but this video is worth checking out.

via Popsci:

A white plastic robot zooms a hoverbike over the English countryside, grains blowing beneath the bike’s four fans. The robot’s 3-D printed body is lightweight, and where its face would be there’s a GoPro camera instead, filming the flight. This isn’t a scene from a dystopian science fiction movie; The bike is less than four feet long, and combined robot and bike weighs a maximum of 15.4 pounds. Created by Malloy Aeronautics, the Drone 3 hoverbike is a 1/3rd scale model of the version ultimately intended for human pilots and passengers.

The hoverbike is available as a reward for Kickstarter backers pledging just shy of $1000 USD. The campaign, which concludes on August 31st has already surpassed its goal. Making and selling Drone 3 is just the first part of the plan for Malloy Aeronautics.

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