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Drones Still Face Major Hurdles In US Airspace

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the drone-vs-drone dept.

Communications 166

coondoggie writes "Communications and effective system control are still big challenges unmanned aircraft developers are facing if they want unfettered access to U.S. airspace. Those were just a couple of the conclusions described in a recent Government Accountability Office report on the status of unmanned aircraft (PDF) and the national airspace. The bottom line for now seems to be that while research and development efforts are under way to mitigate obstacles to safe and routine integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, these efforts cannot be completed and validated without safety, reliability, and performance standards, which have not yet been developed because of data limitations." The FAA and others seem mostly concerned about the drones hitting things if their GPS and ground communications are both disrupted.

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How about no? (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957007)

We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

And this is not even considering privacy and security implications. At least manned vehicles have a sufficient barrier to entry (expensive) and a motivation to be extremely reliable (because the occupants will die if not).

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957197)

"And this is not even considering privacy and security implications"

What is with you sheep? Hey idiots, pretend for one second this was done by the EVIL BUSH and tell me how you would be reacting?

4th amendment. Nothing else is relevant here.

No fucking drones with 'unfettered access'.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957297)

How exactly are they different than airplanes?

Re:How about no? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957403)

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/13542-will-police-drones-destroy-the-fourth-amendment

God you lot are thick, like I said, pretend the EVIL BUSH did this and tell me how everything smells like Unicorn farts and minimum wage is $15 quadrillion dollars per microsecond.

Oh yea they are just like fucking airplanes.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958019)

Ummmm, no on board pilot for a start

Re:How about no? (2)

letherial (1302031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957329)

Well your argument is null and void as soon as you used the word sheep. I just wanted to say, for me, i find that kind of way of arguing a bit childish. Its no wonder why you are annon.

Re:How about no? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957459)

You seem to have mistaken me for someone who gives a shit what you think. Now kindly fuck off.

Re:How about no? (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958225)

It's best to not feed the animals... And, rarely do I award AC mod points. Really, I could care less if it's an AC or a registered user making a comment, as I'm likely to ignore inane comments made by those that are logged in, too. So as to stay on-topic, I ask, When did the government listen to anything the GAO had to say? Recently, that is... within the past 40 years --pre-Nixon era.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957557)

Um, how exactly did you manage to parse "and this is not even considering privacy and security implications" into "there are no privacy or security implications"?

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957663)

And you fail. Please re-read comment in full and try again. Please try and use all three brain cells this time.

Thanks for playing.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957755)

And you fail.

Considering your refusal to answer the question, I think I did the exact opposite. :)

But hey, thanks for the (attempt to) troll!

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957211)

We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies...

Besides, if you saw Terminator 3 then you know where this is headed.

Re:How about no? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957399)

I'm sorry, I was under the impression that the Terminator movies were works of fiction. You'll have to pardon me for not wanting to prepare myself for every such nonsense situation that arises in movies. Now, please excuse me while I pack just in case I need to simply walk into Mordor.

Re:How about no? (3, Insightful)

Herr Brush (639981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957725)

You must not be a fan of sci-fi. Many, many modern inventions, social developments and world events have been preceded by fictional speculation. Perhaps a Terminator 3-type scenario isn't just around the corner but never say never.

Re:How about no? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958347)

I don't know whether to mod this funny or insightful....

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957235)

We don't need thousands of horseless carriages zipping around on the roads malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

See how stupid that sounds now?

that's a lot of jetpacks! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957341)

hey, as long has they have a man with a red lantern proceed each drone so horses aren't spooked, I'm sure the Pennsylvania legislature [wikipedia.org] will be fine with it.

Re:How about no? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957631)

We don't need thousands of horseless carriages zipping around on the roads malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

See how stupid that sounds now?

An engine failure in an autonomous car doesn't lead to is crashing thru someone's roof. A communications failure, doesn't send them headlong into buildings .

They skies are relatively empty compared to the roads. Still there is the problem of keeping these things in the sky. Its bad enough when well trained professionals sitting in Creech can't keep the Taliban from hacking video feeds or the Iranians from capturing a drone. Imagine handing one to Barney Fife or Seattle PD (already on the DOJ watch list)

There is no reason police in America need this technology. Let alone private industry.
No matter how cool it might sound to you.

Re:How about no? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957813)

There is no legitimate reason police in America need this technology. Let alone private industry.

FTFY - I'm sure they could come up with all sorts of reasons (cough cough Chris Dorner [latimes.com] cough cough), though none of them have an ounce of Constitutional legitimacy.

That said, my question regarding domestic drone use is this - what legitimate purpose could they possibly serve, that manned aircraft do not?

Re:How about no? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958053)

That said, my question regarding domestic drone use is this - what legitimate purpose could they possibly serve, that manned aircraft do not?

Probably nothing, since none of the L.A. PD air assets proved useful in the Dorner case.

Per Wiki,

The Los Angeles Police Air Support Division resources include 17 helicopters ranging from four Bell 206 Jet Rangers to 12 Eurocopter AS350-B2 AStars.

They also have one lame drone, which they didn't even employ, yet which was purchased with riot and barricade situations being publicly stated use scenarios.

Re:How about no? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958187)

I've heard the concept of providing support to fire and rescue crews thrown about as well; of course, what the people who posit such nonsense don't think of (or intentionally omit) is that, compared to a rescue chopper and properly equipped crew , an unmanned, 25kg drone flying at 30,000 ft is about as useful as tits on a bull gator.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958283)

An engine failure in an autonomous car doesn't lead to is crashing thru someone's roof.

Neither will a drone - if properly equipped. Instead of outlawing, set a safety standard. Perhaps a mandatory parachute that makes a failed drone fall slowly and harmlessly to the ground. And big fines in all cases where something comes down at speed.

There is no reason police in America need this technology. Let alone private industry.
No matter how cool it might sound to you.

Maybe not american police. But we privates wants drones for all sorts of purposes. Take pizza delivery. A driver is 'expensive' compared to a fleet of autonomous quadrocopters. Such a thing can fly the pizza to the destination unaided, using GPS. Then the drone operator is briefly involved for the landing/delivery, before the drone flies home again.

Re:How about no? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957733)

We don't need thousands of horseless carriages zipping around on the roads malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

See how stupid that sounds now?

As stupid as someone comparing apples to Grade 8 bolts.

FYI, ground-based vehicles that experience equipment failtures aren't very likely to fall from the sky, damaging persons and/or property. Hence, apples and bolts.

Of course, please do not take this application of reality as a request for you to stop your hate filled, nonsense rants. I find them, as well as the mental image of your face turning beet red as you type, quite hilarious.

Re:How about no? (1)

Herr Brush (639981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957769)

Do you have any idea how many people have been killed in automobile accidents since their invention? If drones resulted in even 1% of the total, it would be disastrous! Additionally, motor vehicles at least serve the greater good. The same cannot be said of unlimited aerial surveillance of the population by the government.

Re:How about no? (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957275)

And this is not even considering privacy and security implications

You seem to be forgetting the War on Terror, Copyright Infringement and Human Rights, citizen.

Please report to your nearest re-education center.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

the sky is falling (2)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957401)

We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

And this is not even considering privacy and security implications. At least manned vehicles have a sufficient barrier to entry (expensive) and a motivation to be extremely reliable (because the occupants will die if not).

"We don't need" is hardly a reason to make something illegal in itself. The phrase is a lazy rhetorical device.

Further, what makes you think such machines wouldn't be orders of magnitude more reliable than human drivers (who can get drunk, old, preoccupied, poisoned by testosterone, or succumb to idiocy), who operate much heavier equipment, and in closer proximity to potential victims? You seem to be presuming no one can come up with an effectual means to prevent a malfunctioning device from causing damage, which seems implausible, given the fact that a simple airbag like mechanism that slows the rate of descent would probably serve reasonably well in many situations, especially in conjunction with the same kind of laws that restrict helicopter flight over populous areas.

You'd do better to focus on why the privacy and security issues cannot be similarly resolved, instead of merely mentioning them whilst waving your hands wildly about. Surely photography and recording technology itself poses serious privacy and security issues, but this would have a been lousy reason for banning the public use of cameras and microphones.

Re:the sky is falling (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957501)

You'd do better to focus on why the privacy and security issues cannot be similarly resolved, instead of merely mentioning them whilst waving your hands wildly about.

Because drone aircraft is wildly incompatible with the 4th amendment?

It's blanket surveillance of the citizenry without any judicial oversight, lacking any probably cause, and generally not the kind of thing a free society does.

The idea that people should become accustomed to constant surveillance is a sure sign that the terrorists are winning, and the government is taking advantage of that to make everybody into scared people who will submit to this kind of thing.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957707)

That seems like a reason for regulation, not prohibition. As an example, let's say you limit drone use to fire and ambulance services. If someone's having a heart attack, you could send out a defibrillator that could be available within a couple of minutes. (Israel employs private motorbike riders for this very purpose, since ambulances often arrive to late to do anything.) This would be an easy way to save lives, and the cost would likely be covered by the reduced cost of caring for the victims. Of course you can argue that this would only lead to law enforcement using the same technology, but you could use the same logic regarding plenty of existing technology whose use by police is restricted.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957963)

As an example, let's say you limit drone use to fire and ambulance services. If someone's having a heart attack,

Except of course, they aren't being introduced for those reasons.

So now we're working backwards to find uses for drones which we might be okay with, so that we can justify the use of drones for the purposes we disagree with -- all the while glossing over the fact that by all rights, this should be illegal and unconstitutional.

Sorry, but your argument boils down to "think of the children", and has nothing at all to do with how and why they're deploying drones.

but you could use the same logic regarding plenty of existing technology whose use by police is restricted

Which does nothing at all to address the fact that this is a huge 4th amendment violation ... you've pulled a bait and switch. Now you're suggesting we should allow drone surveillance on the chance that while they're up there spying they could use it to call an ambulance. There's reasons why the police are prohibited from doing certain things.

I'm sorry, but drones delivering a defibrillator is not what they're going to be used for, not what they're being proposed for, and is mostly specious.

"Israel has roaming guys on motorcycles to deliver medical stuff, so therefore we should allow drones to spy on people" is a crap argument, since it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958303)

Except of course, they aren't being introduced for those reasons.

yet.

Sorry, but your argument boils down to "think of the children", and has nothing at all to do with how and why they're deploying drones.

"think of the children" is an argument used to justify regulation.

Now you're suggesting we should allow drone surveillance on the chance that while they're up there spying they could use it to call an ambulance. There's reasons why the police are prohibited from doing certain things.

are you sure you read the right post?

Re:the sky is falling (3, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958173)

A commercial drone carrying cargo across the country isn't compatible with the 4th amendment? This is a much broader issue than simple surveillance drones used by the police.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958263)

A commercial drone carrying cargo across the country isn't compatible with the 4th amendment?

Well, since I'm pretty sure I've yet to hear anybody talking about deploying these drones for cargo purposes, you might as well as me about how this impacts the Easter Bunny.

So far it's just law enforcement.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957679)

You'd do better to focus on why the privacy and security issues cannot be similarly resolved,

No addition to police capabilities has led to better security or better privacy in well over a thousand years. Why should we expect this tool be any different?

Re:the sky is falling (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957835)

You'd do better to focus on why the privacy and security issues cannot be similarly resolved,

No addition to police capabilities has led to better security or better privacy in well over a thousand years. Why should we expect this tool be any different?

Setting aside the veracity of that statement, law enforcement applications are surely a small fraction of possible uses for drones. Imagine, for example, a fire department sending drones into a burning building in order to assess damage and locate victims before sending personnel to locations where they can do the most good, or an ambulance drone ferrying medication and supplies to accident victims within minutes.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958155)

Imagine, for example, a fire department sending drones into a burning building in order to assess damage and locate victims before sending personnel to locations where they can do the most good, or an ambulance drone ferrying medication and supplies to accident victims within minutes.

This story is not about radio controlled (RC) toy surveillance drones that might fit in a building. Its about fixed wing Reaper/Predator/Global Hawk sized craft [airforce-technology.com] that fly high over cities used for spying. Good luck flying that into a burning building. Firefigters will laugh you out of the skys.

Further, if you are going to deliver medication via drone, you better be able to land the drone anywhere, and have someone there ready to receive the payload. Its a lot cheaper to to send the Paramedics on the chopper with the supplies they need, and the evac capability in one package.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958281)

I'm not sure why you'd assume drone tech won't proceed like most other tech: faster, cheaper, smaller. Furthermore sending a chopper full of paramedics is not something you're going to be able to do in many situations. You can't send one out each time someone needs an epi-pen, but sending one on a drone could save someone's life.

Re:the sky is falling (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957907)

We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

And this is not even considering privacy and security implications. At least manned vehicles have a sufficient barrier to entry (expensive) and a motivation to be extremely reliable (because the occupants will die if not).

"We don't need" is hardly a reason to make something illegal in itself. The phrase is a lazy rhetorical device.

"We don't need" is not the reason; "malfunctioning and crashing into things and people" is.

I take it this misunderstanding is a result of the fact that schools don't require students to do sentence diagramming anymore? That's sad.

Further, what makes you think such machines wouldn't be orders of magnitude more reliable than human drivers (who can get drunk, old, preoccupied, poisoned by testosterone, or succumb to idiocy), who operate much heavier equipment, and in closer proximity to potential victims?

Uh, you do realize that "unmanned" does not equal "un-piloted," right? Those drones have the exact same shortcomings as the manned aircraft you mentioned (i.e., chance for pilot error); the difference is, in a manned aircraft, if the pilot doesn't correct or compensate for a malfunction, he dies. With a drone, if the pilot fails to correct/compensate, other people die. Yes, that does make a difference when it comes to decision making.

You seem to be presuming no one can come up with an effectual means to prevent a malfunctioning device from causing damage, which seems implausible, given the fact that a simple airbag like mechanism that slows the rate of descent would probably serve reasonably well in many situations

Again, this is not a mutually exclusive concept - if one can come up with an "effectual means" to keep drones from crashing, those same measures should be applicable to manned aircraft.

FYI, there is, still, no such thing as an uncrashable plane. Thus, your premise is flawed.

Re:How about no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957529)

We don't need thousands of unmanned vehicles zipping around in the skies malfunctioning and crashing into things and people.

We need something to deal with all those sky hurdles! Especially all those big fluffy ones that rain and snow. Drones would be perfect for blasting the heck out of them.

Re:How about no? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958033)

Yup, I can't see anything bad coming out of this. No sir-ree.

Re:How about no? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958339)

Add $15 worth of proximity detecting radar to the design, with software interrupt, and that shouldn't be that big of a problem.

OTOH, if my solution is taken seriously, just wait until the local police try to catch a UAV with fouled up communications programmed to play keep-away.

Silly question (2)

NeroTransmitter (1928480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957029)

Why can't they just fly OVER the hurdles?

Re:Silly question (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957105)

They'll raise the hurdles higher and spray paint protests over them. Ask a silly question...

Silly answer (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957795)

Why can't they just fly OVER the hurdles?

They could, but it would be too expensive in terms citizens' taxes spent on fuel.

The FAA and others seem mostly concerned about the drones hitting things if their GPS and ground communications are both disrupted

Fear not, hurdles are only temporary... I mean... look: if one is able to use explosives and still doesn't have the desired results, it simply means one is not using enough of them. Hitting the hurdles with the appropriate amount of explosives will surely clear them... after that, everybody (still living) will be protected by them drones.

drones shmones (2, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957035)

My suspicion is that once drones start to become more ubiquitous in US Airspace, pecople here will come up with ways to interfere with them. In other countries directly targeted by the drones, they haven't been very successful, but in the US all it will take will be a few backyard hobbyists who really really really have issues with drones, and they will come up with an easy way to interfere/take over/destroy/ shoot down said drones...and this technology, whatever it is, will be then used by people in other countries to take out OUR drones.

So putting drones in US airspace is actually a stupid counterproductive thing, on many fronts.

Re:drones shmones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957119)

On the plus side it may breed a whole new generation of engineers specializing in avionics, ballistics and signal jamming techniques.

Hmmm radar guided, computer controlled, surface to air paintball canon...

Re:drones shmones (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957309)

but in the US all it will take will be a few backyard hobbyists who really really really have issues with drones, and they will come up with an easy way to interfere/take over/destroy/ shoot down said drones

Which will unleash the full fury of the machine to track down these 'terrorists', because, as Bush said, "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists".

And clearly objecting to this kind of thing is something only a terrorist would do.

Re:drones shmones (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957387)

Good grief, have you HEARD of the DMCA? The part about circumventing copy protection? And that's for SONGS fer chrissake. How do you suppose the government is going to react to people hacking into surveillance drones using encrypted commands flying over schools and hospitals (THINK OF THE CHILDREN!). I'll give you a two-word hint: "Guantanamo Bay".

Re:drones shmones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957903)

I'll give you a two-word hint: "Guantanamo Bay".

Good grief... do you really imagine Guantanamo is large enough for all the electric arc welders who emits in large spectrum?

Re:drones shmones (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957417)

a few backyard hobbyists who really really really have issues with drones, and they will come up with an easy way to interfere/take over/destroy/ shoot down said drones

Those people will disappear very, very quickly.

Re:drones shmones (1)

rcamans (252182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957491)

No, it is very productive. It will lead to new generations of EMP cannons and other cool stuff.

Re:drones shmones (1)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957581)

They already have a solution to this problem. Under new policy, the drone operators will have the right to take out backyard hobbyists on U.S. soil, just like they currently do overseas. Try to test an interference device, and you'll soon be at the unpleasant end of a hellfire missile trajectory.

Re:drones shmones (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957925)

They already have a solution to this problem. Under new policy, the drone operators will have the right to take out backyard hobbyists on U.S. soil, just like they currently do overseas. Try to test an interference device, and you'll soon be at the unpleasant end of a hellfire missile trajectory.

Don't forget the double tap procedure... needs to become an operational standard.

Black box solution (was Re:drones shmones) (2)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957765)

I want to see an electronics box which:

  - scans for the unencrypted video feed on the frequencies drones use
  - sounds an audio alarm when it finds one
  - displays the video feed on a local screen
  - immediately begins streaming the video off-site (for record-keeping)

Anyone have an idea on how affordable / expensive / reliable such a thing could / would be?

Re:drones shmones (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957837)

will come up with an easy way to interfere/take over/destroy/ shoot down said drones...and this technology, whatever it is, will be then used by people in other countries to take out OUR drones

You mean... the drones taken out by the hobbyists on US soil will be foreign drones (as opposed to OUR drones flying overseas)?

Re:drones shmones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958349)

Aren't AA cannons already legal in America?

The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957037)

banning drones in their air space is going to be a major hurdle.

Seems like systematic reduction in rights and progressively more 1984 and Brave New World type policies have caused a reaction. Just in time too, Houston got caught trying to sneak drones into service with absolutely no public input. Texas responded recently with a state-wide ban. Last thing we need is a president checking his smile for food particles in his reflection on his Nobel Peace Prize right before ordering U.S. citizens murdered like he does Middle Eastern ones.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957185)

It's a simple question [theatlantic.com] . Since Barack Obama decided he doesn't need due process to kill Americans overseas, did he decide he doesn't need due process to kill Americans in America? He won't answer. John Brennan, CIA director nominee, won't answer either.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957977)

It's a simple question [theatlantic.com] .

You are asking questions from the wrong side of the gun... or drone for the matter of hand. In the new incarnation of the Brave New World, it's no wonder you won't get an answer.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957249)

banning drones in their air space is going to be a major hurdle.

The Federal government has no problems sending ATF thugs into California and raiding marijuana dispensaries at gunpoint, despite the current administration's whinings to the contrary.

I've little doubt the Federal government is not going to give a single damn about state law when it comes to sending in drones.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957545)

Uhh, airspace laws aren't state laws.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_rights#United_States [wikipedia.org]
"In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the sole authority to control all airspace, exclusively determining the rules and requirements for its use"

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957689)

Well - that's up to nullification challenges then isn't it?

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (2)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957727)

On another note it's illegal to toss a moose out of an airplane in Alaska - that most certainly is a state law, so I submit states can make their own laws where airspace is concerned.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958049)

On another note it's illegal to toss a moose out of an airplane in Alaska

You know, I bet that would be a fascinating story involving large quantities of alcohol and stupidity.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957443)

Last thing we need is a president checking his smile for food particles in his reflection on his Nobel Peace Prize right before ordering U.S. citizens murdered like he does Middle Eastern ones.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he already order a U.S. citizen to be murdered? Anwar al-Awlaki?

For that matter, didn't he do in al-Awlaki's kid as well in another strike? Though that one may have been collateral damage (which apparently makes it okay)....

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957697)

The difference being Anwar al-Awlaki was not on U.S. soil at the time - it makes a difference when you're in this deep.

Re:The fact states are scrambling to pass laws (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958199)

The difference being Anwar al-Awlaki was not on U.S. soil at the time - it makes a difference when you're in this deep.

So, you're saying that if you were to go on vacation in the UK, say, that the President could then declare "open season" on you legally?

Or if you were to cross into Canada? Or Mexico?

And how close to shore would you have to be to be deemed "safe"? Three Mile Limit? Twelve Mile Limit? 200 Mile Limit?

I am a UAV pilot... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957041)

The only UAV that's close to airworthy is Northrop's billion dollar disaster of the Global Hawk. Of course, airworthiness is a big part of the reason that they cost $50M apiece. None of the rest of the UAVs are airworthy. Not even remotely. They all have severe design flaws that render them reasonable only for overwater, over the ocean, or combat zones. None of them are designed with the rigour or safety focus that's required for a small airplane, much less something that's in commercial service. All of them have software single point of failure problems that will cause them to crash in an unpredictable place.Triton and the Global Hawk will, at least, crash in a pre-planned, surveyed spot. None of the rest.

I see no reason to allow anything over 55 lbs to fly unless it's designed to the same level of safety and airworthiness as "real airplanes", because the physics works the same way when it hits you. I'm not saying "no" to UAV's, but start over and do it right.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957151)

reference? links?

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957205)

I am curious why did you pick 55 lbs?

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957469)

Would 25 kg have sounded odd?

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957223)

Well, I used to work for General Atomics, and I say you're full of shit.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957337)

I've flown your robots and been part of the USAF airworthiness process. Your robots are excellent tools for killing terrorists in other peoples countries. They're not safe enough to fly over my kids. Sorry, but your airworthiness process is "waivers and acceptance of risk".

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957509)

First off, I'm against flying them over the U.S. due to privacy rights, so I am on your side here, just for a different reason. Their time on station combined with the sensor packages and standoff range of those sensors give them a huge advantage over manned aircraft for surveillance, and that's just not something the government should be using on its own citizens on its own soil. They're instruments of war, not of police investigation. And that's not even considering their ordnance capability.

The waivers and acceptance of risk are due to the lack of pilot - you're correct, when there's no crew life at stake, the military requirements are not as strict. As far as airworthiness, honestly, what is safe enough to fly over one's kids? In terms over incidents per flight hour, the Pred-A and Pred-B Avenger are in the same neighborhood as civil aircraft - and I've seen the so-called airworthiness of some of the civil aircraft at the local airstrip up close and personal. I wouldn't want a lot of those old deathtraps flying over people either, let alone taking a flight in one.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957643)

The waivers and acceptance of risk are due to the lack of pilot - you're correct, when there's no crew life at stake, the military requirements are not as strict. As far as airworthiness, honestly, what is safe enough to fly over one's kids?

So sick and tired of this "think of the children" crap....

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958091)

Hey, it wasn't my argument. I don't have any.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957971)

They're instruments of war

Best.

Anti-domestic-drone argument.

EVER.

Of all time.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957553)

BuRRRRRn!

Or is it.

CrAAAAAAAAAAsh!

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957821)

I can agree with that. The current crop of UAVs are designed with very liberal performance specifications - they're designed for situations where they're allowed to crash, and can crash willy-nilly. You can't take a drone of that design and just say "let's put this in civilian space". It's a complete violation of the design principals of the product.

Every single part of the design is expressed with certain assumptions in mind, and you just changed every assumption of the design. Start over.

Re:I am a UAV pilot... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958123)

All of them have software single point of failure problems that will cause them to crash in an unpredictable place.Triton and the Global Hawk will, at least, crash in a pre-planned, surveyed spot.

Hmm... billion dollars for crashing into a planned spot you say. Northrop may be interested in my paper airplane design...

Liable Party in an Accident? (3, Insightful)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957047)

So if there's a mid-air collision between a private or commercial aircraft and a drone flown by a government agency, the usual legal protections will probably shield the drone operators from liability. The thought of that kinda sucks.

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957255)

My understanding is that the rules for model aircraft would apply, which pretty much make the model aircraft operator liable for a large portion of the damage.

Disclaimer: I got a little involved in the model aircraft community for a while, but never deep enough to personally deal with liability. Input from those more knowledgeable is appreciated.

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957569)

Model aircraft aren't run by the state and federal governments. Thus, those rules would not apply.

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957669)

I don't care about liability for the damage - if I'm flying my plane VFR and I have to communicate to other pilots to warn of my presence and one of these things runs into me unannounced and cripples my plane, paying for the plane will not be what I'm worried about. Even if they have radio transponders so the towers and so forth can see them on their radar, it won't help when you're flying VFR without a flight following.

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (1)

gaudior (113467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957783)

It's pretty simple: You will not be allowed to fly in any area where the government is flying a drone. Say good bye to whatever is left of civil aviation.

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (1)

rcamans (252182) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957551)

Drones MUST have the standard radio transponders commercial planes have. Also, they will need gyro guidance systems so if external guidance (radio, gps, etc) goes out, they will be able to fly, and should auto-return to launch site.
But flying weaponized drones over US air-space, outside of military bases, is unconstitutional, unless marshal law is declared.
And military flying of drones without weapons is also restricted to flying between bases or on training flights, where use of any spy abilities (cameras, radar, sonar, etc) is prohibited.
But that is just the opinion of a fol who believes the constitution means something...

Re:Liable Party in an Accident? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958331)

It's not unconstitutional. Or even illegal if there is an insurrection.

Posse Comitatus doesn't apply to the National Guard, Coast Guard or police forces.

It would only be illegal under PCA for Federal Armed Forces.

National Guard has it's own set of regulations, but surveillance is one of the things they are permitted to do in support of state and local police.

Purposeful interference (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957221)

How many have considered purposefully interfering with surveillance drones?

Since Britain is considering turning off active airport radar [slashdot.org] , and using TV signals, one would think that hobbyists could do similar things to track surveillance drones.

And then actively interfering with their ability to surveil by using maybe high powered IR lasers, carefully aimed microwave transmitters, or similar aimed at them.

Pringles Can Ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957237)

I got my stuff ready to take over anything that flys in my zone. going to be doing some nice Enders Game fun things with downed drones.
  My nighbors already have seen my spy planes flying overhead and have been okay with them.

program a drone to chase the drone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957267)

what if the Federal Gov creates drones that specifically lock on to drones and that drone destroys a sheriffs drone from somewhere in Iowa like Stubenville. would the Supreme court get involved?

Sense and avoid (1)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957323)

This is why I have been working on a practical "sense and avoid" (SAA) system for UAVs and FPV RC models.

So far so good (very good in fact) and I expect to start the airborne testing of a prototype very shortly.

The goal was to have the reliable detection of full-sized aircraft at a minimum range of 1.5Km and not rely on transponders or other equipment in those aircraft and it appears that this objective is attainable.

It's been a lot of fun developing this thing and it's something that has really only become possible recently, now that we've got some seriously powerful processors capable of handling the signal processing involved without the need for a rack-sized box and an appetite for watts.

If it works "as planned", odds are that I'll be releasing this as an open-source, copyleft project so hobbyists can use it instead of it becoming the sole domain of the "drone" companies.

Re:Sense and avoid (1)

UneducatedSixpack (2829861) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957575)

What exactly is "full-sized" aircraft? Is it general aviation aircraft like Cessna/Piper or something bigger like Boeing 737? I would also like to know how well system would detect another aircraft that is coming head-on. From my own experience it is really hard to see a small 4-seat airplane that is more than 1 mile / 1.6 km away. If another airplane is lower and background is the ground clutter then it is almost impossible to see anything further away than half a mile. If this detection system would work well and would cost less than active traffic systems then it could be used by general aviation airplanes.

Re:Sense and avoid (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957999)

This is why I have been working on a practical "sense and avoid" (SAA) system for UAVs and FPV RC models.

So, how does it feel to be part of the problem, you bastard? LOL, just kidding... kinda...

odds are that I'll be releasing this as an open-source, copyleft project so hobbyists can use it instead of it becoming the sole domain of the "drone" companies.

Well, alright... I suppose that's a good enough reason to let you live...

(seriously, no offense meant, I'm just messing with you)

Hey Faggots, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957373)

My name is John, and I hate every single one of you. All of you are fat, retarded, no-lifes who spend every second of their day looking at stupid ass pictures. You are everything bad in the world. Honestly, have any of you ever gotten any pussy? I mean, I guess itâ(TM)s fun making fun of people because of your own insecurities, but you all take to a whole new level. This is even worse than jerking off to pictures on facebook.
Donâ(TM)t be a stranger. Just hit me with your best shot. Iâ(TM)m pretty much perfect. I was captain of the football team, and starter on my basketball team. What sports do you play, other than âoejack off to naked drawn Japanese peopleâ? I also get straight Aâ(TM)s, and have a banging hot girlfriend (She just blew me; Shit was SO cash). You are all faggots who should just kill yourselves. Thanks for listening.

I wonder if they've considered the security aspect (1)

Herr Brush (639981) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957577)

Drones over Afghanistan are one thing, but flying them over thousands of tech-happy hackers in SoCal or MA is another. And once domestic countermeasures have been developed, how long till the technology spreads overseas?

Re:I wonder if they've considered the security asp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42957949)

So I'm looking into plans for a home-built narrow-beam EMP generator...

Whoops, just got put on the The Bad Guy List. Again.

Waiting on an Acceptable "Death by Drone" Metric (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42957985)

>> these efforts cannot be completed and validated without safety, reliability, and performance standards

Translation: We know that drones falling out of the sky will kill and main a lot of our citizens. However, we need someone to make a call on how many deaths-per-million-flights (or other metric) is an acceptable number.

You will comply... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958023)

So glad that my fellow Americans are baying sheep and happy to allow these to watch them.

I have lost ALL respect for my fellow Americans. They all love the PATRIOT act, they all love being fondled at the airport, and they all WANT to be watched.

Drones are illegal in Seattle (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#42958129)

Drones are illegal in Seattle.

Be a shame if someone used a 3D printer and some filament wire or some ground lasers to take one of them out, if they happened to stray into our airspace.

Just saying.

A real shame ...

a scenario i can think of. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958139)

what happens when someone takes control of a drones flight control system causing it to crash? (possibly into buildings or people) who is responsible if the operator cannot be located?

Drones are Terrorism. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42958169)

Obama himself reportedly signs off personally on each target.

Obama's legal people do not call it "assassinations".

The call it "targeted killing"

http://lewrockwell.com/napolitano/napolitano86.1.html
by Andrew P. Napolitano - a former New Jersey Superior Court Judge.

- state and federal laws that expressly prohibit non-judicial killing

- an executive order signed by every president from Gerald Ford to Obama prohibiting American officials from participating in assassinations

- the absence of a declaration of war against Yemen, treaties expressly prohibiting this type of killing

- the Declaration, which guarantees the right to live, and the Constitution, which requires a jury trial before the government can deny that right

- The president cannot lawfully order the killing of anyone, except according to the Constitution and federal law.

U.S. media complicit in Obama's drone doctrine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/06/f-vp-macdonald-us-drones.html

It’s also clear American media outlets are comfortable suppressing news the government does not want published. Today’s story reveals not just that the Americans have operated a secret drone base for years in Saudi Arabia, but that the Post, along with various other news organizations, have been keeping that fact to themselves at the government’s request.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/22/why-obamas-killer-drones-violate-international-law/

In May we learned that the President personally maintains a “Kill List” and holds weekly meetings during which, as judge, jury and executioner, he determines who lives and who dies. It was also revealed that the President counts all military-age males killed in drone strikes as militants.

http://livingunderdrones.org/report-legality/

Intentionally targeting rescuers and the wounded are clear violations of international humanitarian law and US rules of warfare.

Regardless of one’s assessment of the legality of the recourse to the use of force (jus ad bellum)–the use of force against a specific individual must also comply with either international humanitarian law (in the context of an armed conflict) or international human rights law (outside armed conflict). In this regard, the legality of so-called “signature strikes” is highly suspect, as are attacks resulting in significant civilian casualties, attacks on first responders and funerals, and the targeting of individuals not engaged in the Afghanistan theater, particularly those who do not pose an imminent threat;

http://livingunderdrones.org/

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children,

The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.

http://livingunderdrones.org/report-legality/

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