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Injured Man Is First Person Saved By a Police Drone In Canada

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the go-get-help-dronie dept.

Canada 187

AchilleTalon writes "As the US continues to grapple with the idea of letting drones fly through the country's airspace, our neighbors to the north have reported a new milestone for unmanned aerial technology: the first life saved using a drone. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the province of Saskatchewan announced yesterday that they successfully used the small Draganflyer X4-ES helicopter drone to locate and treat an injured man whose car had flipped over in a remote, wooded area in near-freezing temperatures. Zenon Dragan, president and founder of the Draganfly company that makes the drone, said in a statement: 'to our knowledge, this is the first time that a life may have been saved with the use of a sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) helicopter.'"

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Drones (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43702379)

They are a powerful technology, for good, or evil.

Re:Drones (4, Insightful)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year ago | (#43702407)

Pretty much true of any and all technology (maybe with a few exceedingly rare exceptions and even that's debatable); it's the intent behind the use of a tool or technology that is good or evil.

Re:Drones (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43702419)

Exactly so. I wish more people would remember that when discussing various other technologies. Or maybe it would be better to say I wish that understanding was more broadly shared when discussing various other technologies, activities, and actions.

Re:Drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702523)

The technology itself shouldn't be banned, but we must severely limit the government's usage of it when it could be used for purposes of spying or infringing upon people's freedom.

Re:Drones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702953)

but we must severely limit the government's usage of it when it could be used for purposes of spying or infringing upon people's freedom.

We should limit everybody's usage with regards to those things. I don't care whether you serve the upper class of the wealthy, the famous, or the political, I don't want them spying on everyone.

Re:Drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702767)

I still think that demerits of powerful hand-held lasers outweigh the benefits. You can use a extendible rod (with a light) to point at stars.
A gun is better for self defence.

Re:Drones (2)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#43703523)

There really is a lot of public good that can arise from public safety organizations having access to a flying vehicle with FLIR capabilities that costs less than $5000/hr to operate....

Thats great.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702387)

When they are used for search and rescue. The problem is that our police force has been lobbying to get them for law enforcement, to be used to further spy on and exert control over the populace. If law enforcement wants to have drones for the sole and limited purpose of search and rescue thats fine by me. Id prefer if I didnt need to worry about some agency watching my every physical move.

Re:Thats great.. (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#43702559)

No, don't you see -- this justifies everything. Commence media saturation of the population to welcome the use of drones in all aspects of society, because if they one time saved a guy in a place in this one context, then it's worth any sacrifice or inconvenience or violation, don't you see?!

Re:Thats great.. (3, Funny)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year ago | (#43702619)

Let's wait for a drone to crash into a bus full of children and go up in fire. Good footage of screaming, burning kids and bodies mangled by engine parts will make the public think. The tragedy must not be wasted. FLYING KILLING MACHINE MURDERS CHILDREN will be the headline. In time, it will happen and the media shark feeding must be prepared.

Re: Thats great.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702765)

"What are you going to do when it goes and melts down a busload of nuns?! How would you like to write the jeadline on that one?!"

"Nun soup"?

Re:Thats great.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702771)

That's one rancid rectum you have there! You know what they say about rancid rectums: They're right at home with fetid cocks. Do you know what I have here? A fetid cock. Shall we commence the celebration? What say you?

Re:Thats great.. (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43702773)

Exactly, this a great PR move... Makes it so general populace WANTS the police to use drones. After that, it will be used as a general spy tool.

Re:Thats great.. (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43702907)

When they are used for search and rescue. The problem is that our police force has been lobbying to get them for law enforcement, to be used to further spy on and exert control over the populace. If law enforcement wants to have drones for the sole and limited purpose of search and rescue thats fine by me. Id prefer if I didnt need to worry about some agency watching my every physical move.

When you research this device on the manufacturer's website they are very very careful to NEVER specify the RANGE.
It can go 30mph (allegedly), and climb to 8000 feet but no range or duration is given, and it does this on a 5400mAh battery.
(My android tablet has a bigger battery).

I'd be very surprised if this thing could get out of sight of its operator.

Which means they could have just look for the car and followed his tracks or sent a dog. But instead this will be used as an excuse to equip every police force with one of these things, and they won't be restricted to search and rescue.

Re:Thats great.. (2, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43703301)

Everything depends on the voltage :) If their battery is, say, 48V, you'd need a good armful of android tablets to beat that.

Re:Thats great.. (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year ago | (#43703469)

thanks for the info. it looks like a toy a kid would use. Sorry the stuff we got in the USA is on a whole other level.

Re:Thats great.. (1)

deimtee (762122) | about a year ago | (#43703507)

5400mAh @ 14.8 volts.
It's about the same mAh capacity, but three or four times the voltage of most tablet batteries, giving it much more energy storage.
I agree that they do try to hide the range stats though.

Re:Thats great.. (1)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about a year ago | (#43703529)

Quit FUDing! Drones just saved their first life! And after only nine years of CIA drones spying and blowing people up.

Clearly they are the greatest boon to public health since penicillin.

We could save more people with 24/7 surveillance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702399)

And implanted GPS transponders!

It's a good good thing citizen!

And remember... we care.

(Is it ominous that my captcha code was "terrors"?)

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702449)

I get where you're coming from; I really do. The issue I see is that, if your beef is with the existence of "eyes in the sky", then you're about fifty years too late. There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate, so just imagine what the government has up there. Worrying about drones under those conditions is like bitching that somebody tracked dirt into your dirt-floor house.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#43702551)

It's pretty bad already, so let's make it worse!

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702629)

That's the thing: is this really "worse"? It's pretty much the exact same thing, only cheaper.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#43702777)

I'd say it's worse, yes. I doubt satellites would be very useful for spying purposes.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702567)

There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate...

Name two.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702821)

I name one George.

I always name things George.

Just ask my daughter, George the Third.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43702649)

There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate

Satellites are not comparable to drones. To achieve good resolution, satellites need to be in near earth orbit, which means they are moving overhead at thousands of km/hr. They can take a snapshot, but they cannot loiter and observe continuously, and they cannot zoom in real time. They are an expensive and limited asset, which means they are not available to the local cop who has a grudge against you because you are dating his ex-girlfriend.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702779)

+5

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702843)

They are as expensive and limited to Federal agencies as overpriced "LEO-Grade Surveillance/Rescue Drones" are to local police departments. They aren't going to check out an expensive piece of equipment that requires the precinct to maintain an FAA license to operate to Officer How-Do-You-Fly-This Bob without a paper trail.

If you're worried about mission creep, and how this picture will look in twenty years... well, that's where drones are exactly comparable to satellites. Surely you see this?

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43703257)

They are as expensive and limited to Federal agencies as overpriced "LEO-Grade Surveillance/Rescue Drones" are to local police departments. They aren't going to check out an expensive piece of equipment that requires the precinct to maintain an FAA license to operate to Officer How-Do-You-Fly-This Bob without a paper trail.

Drones are neither expensive nor difficult to operate. I have a quadcopter with a camera that cost about $500. My 8 year old son can fly it, so I think Officer Bob could manage as well. It is currently illegal for me to fly it out of line-of-sight, but there is no enforcement, and when I fly it, I usually look at the video on the laptop, not the drone. If Officer Bob was willing to break the law by using police resources to spy on his ex, then I don't think he is going to be too concerned about unenforced FAA regs.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (2)

r2kordmaa (1163933) | about a year ago | (#43702981)

Read a licence plate, if so then barely and only because there are only so many alphanumeric characters and you know how each one fogs out. That besides the point, sattelite imaging is often overestimated, the fact that you can take a look at any place in the world does not mean you can see the whole world with one look. Think of it like that, make a pinhole in a piece of paper and put the paper over a map, now try to read "dragons be here" through the pinhole. Same problem with finding interesting things with satellites, if you dont know where to point the sattelite in the first place you cant find anything.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43703013)

There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate

High school physics FAIL [wikipedia.org] !

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43703149)

But.. but.. they had them on TV!

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703283)

Modern technology fail... or do you really think that satellite imagery is still poured over by dozens of people magnifying glasses in a poorly lit room? Jesus fucking Christ... it's like I'm talking to rejects from the Cold War here.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43703525)

Modern technology fail... or do you really think that satellite imagery is still poured over by dozens of people magnifying glasses in a poorly lit room? Jesus fucking Christ... it's like I'm talking to rejects from the Cold War here.

I'm not sure what you're referring to, but what I was pointing to was that reading a license plate from LEO would require a 10+-meter mirror, under the best conditions (no atmosphere to screw things up). Somehow I don't think that such a satellite has ever been launched. It doesn't matter at all whether the images are being pored (sic!) over by "dozens of people magnifying glasses in a poorly lit room", since "dozens of people magnifying glasses in a poorly lit room" can't beat the fundamental limitations of an imaging system that have their roots in the most fundamental laws of physics.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#43703627)

Aperture synthesis, take 5 pictures in succession and you have your plate

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703519)

There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate

[citation needed]

Don't say "google earth". That's mostly done with aircraft. You specifically said "commercial satellites" and "read your license plate".

Citation needed.

Re:We could save more people with 24/7 surveillanc (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about a year ago | (#43703601)

I get where you're coming from; I really do. The issue I see is that, if your beef is with the existence of "eyes in the sky", then you're about fifty years too late. There are commercial satellites with the resolution to read your license plate, so just imagine what the government has up there. Worrying about drones under those conditions is like bitching that somebody tracked dirt into your dirt-floor house.

Yeah, but people generally have a much bigger fear of local law enforcement than they do the CIA or the NSA. Local law enforcement shouldn't be in the spying business.

first, a matter of perspective (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | about a year ago | (#43702403)

I can assure you hundreds and maybe thousands of people have been saved by drones of all sizes and shapes - but possibly the first time a drone used by the police has saved a life...

Re:first, a matter of perspective (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702625)

if your referring to military drones preventing soldiers from being in harms way, i don't really think that counts. 1. americans aren't people, 2. miliary arent people. 3 those drones kill actual people to save the worlds garbage

Search and rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702411)

Back country search and rescue operations are an excellent use of drone technology.

But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a drone (0)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#43702439)

...goes to Germany, with the V1 buzz bomb launched on June 13, 1944.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#43702451)

Pfffffa. Those German's are such show offs.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702489)

I think it was the chinese [wikipedia.org] .

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43702515)

Doesn't count. No guidance. A device like that you just point in the vague direction of the enemy and hope will hit. If you send a few thousand off, chances are a few will go the right way.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43702577)

The V1 had a rudimentary guidance system consisting of an anemometer in the nose that track distance and tipped the missile into a dive at the proper range.

So yes it was the first guided drone.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43703549)

There was also a gyrocompass for course and some other stuff for altitude, if I'm not mistaken. Technically, it was one of the first cruise missiles, although it didn't much of cruising - it did a lot of the missing, though. :-)

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (2)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43702657)

By that logic, the "drone" in the article wasn't even a "drone", since it doesn't do any of it's own onboard guidance. It's really just a fancy RC helicopter.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#43702837)

It probably does have simple onboard guidance. Lots of home-built RC quadcopters do, and I don't see any reason why a commercial one shouldn't.

Re:But the honor of the first life TAKEN by a dron (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43702543)

Interesting point, but I have to disagree. The V1 was a missile, not a drone. The V1 itself constituted the attacking weapon. I think the distinction with a drone attack would be that the drone itself isn't the attacking weapon, but rather it carries weapons to attack. Example: The Predator drone which carries Hellfire missiles.

Figures. (5, Funny)

SpeZek (970136) | about a year ago | (#43702443)

Of course we Canadians would use drones for polite and considerate tasks. We have a reputation to keep up!

Re:Figures. (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43702561)

Sometimes good deeds go unpunished. What would have happened if that blob on the FLIR was a napping grizzly bear?

I wonder what the relative costs are for the drone or a Cessna with a FLIR camera?

Re:Figures. (1)

Grisstle (2798631) | about a year ago | (#43702833)

Grizzly bears are not native to Saskatchewan, especially the region near Saskatoon where this occurred. There is a tiny insignificant are in the far north east Saskatchewan that you might find Grizzly bears but it is no unlikely that they are not considered to be native to Saskatchewan. Maybe a wolf, most other dangerous animals would be too big to be mistaken for a human.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702905)

Draganflyer seems to be a bit cagey about their prices, but I'm seeing prices in the 10-15k range. I'd assume 20k once accessories are added.

Cessna: 100k-300k depending on the model; of course the RCMP probably already own a couple (or something similar). Cameras seem to range from 5k (for something very much crap) to about 300k for a real FLIR like the Boston PD uses.

In addition to maintenance cost, fuel, and risk factors of a full size aircraft, a 20k drone seems to make sense if, and only if it has the endurance and the needed capabilities.

Re:Figures. (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43703165)

Generally the advantage of drones against something like a Cessna is the lower cost (both up front and ongoing) and of course needing much less specialized operators. Aircraft have always been a limited resource, but at these costs even small local forces could keep one or two around.

Re:Figures. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703221)

Don't be so smug. I know a few cities whose police forces operate drones for surveillance.

Re:Figures. (1)

SpeZek (970136) | about a year ago | (#43703421)

Sorry.

Drones to the rescue! (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#43702445)

Throw that drone a ticker tape parade!

They took our jobs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702485)

- Prof. Bush Pilots Association

Huh. (0)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43702505)

You can bet your left nut (or ovary; far be it for me to exclude the testicularly challenged - with the exception of ole' Adolf) that the establishment/mainstream media - after all, they're the essentially the same thing these days - will milk the living shit out of this.*

*That was admittedly a questionable mixing of metaphors on my part, given the less than pleasant visuals that they might evoke...

Re:Huh. (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43702593)

If you're mixing them, I prefer my metaphors shaken, not stirred.

This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | about a year ago | (#43702513)

autobahn, kindergarten, encouraging technological development, unifying a nation

Re:This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (2, Funny)

Servaas (1050156) | about a year ago | (#43702531)

You forgot getting rid of the jews! (I joke I joke, he didn't get rid of the jews)

Re:This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43702955)

And I'm sure glad he didn't.

Can you imagine a world without Spaceballs?

Re:This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (4, Funny)

Holistic Missile (976980) | about a year ago | (#43702575)

He is, after all, the guy who killed Hitler...

Re:This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702831)

Genius, pure genius! Best. Counter. Ever.

XD

Re:This reminds me that even Hitler did some good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702601)

autobahn, kindergarten, encouraging technological development, unifying a nation

Hitler tried the things you are proposing.

Read the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702549)

Apparently, the guy swerved off the road to avoid the missile launched from the drone itself.

Heard this story (2)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#43702553)

As with most government tools we will only hear about the good things until after they become common place. When tazers were originally deployed they were a "replacement only for lethal force", now they are used at the drop of the hat against loudmouthed teens, nonviolent protestors, and pregnant women with little to no repercussions. Right now it is all about saving people lost in the woods and catching murders, but 5 years after they are more ubiquitous you can be guaranteed that the stories will begin to flow of women catching one hovering outside their bathroom window, protestors finding unflattering images of themselves on police forums & former boyfriends/girlfriends of officers being stalked by drones (much like the cases of police misusing official databases to track/harass).

Re:Heard this story (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43702987)

All Slashdotters live in basements with the shutters closed, no dangers of having unflattering images of themselves on police forums.

As for the "former boyfriends/girlfriends" part, that's also applicable. You can't date JPEGs.

Correction (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about a year ago | (#43702557)

The man's life was saved by a policeman using an infrared camera which happened to be mounted on a drone.

It's important to get the gist of the story right here, because the decision to use drones domestically is a matter of trade offs. So it makes a difference whether you draw the spurious lesson "drones save lives", or the correct lesson, "infrared cameras save lives, drones save money in deploying such cameras in comparison to conventional helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft." One might reasonably choose to risk civil liberties because of certain life-or-death situation, but not choose to do so if its a matter of another ten or twenty bucks a year on your state or provincial taxes.

Re:Correction (1)

arcite (661011) | about a year ago | (#43702585)

The only reason why the drone is piloted by a human is because the AI technology hasn't yet caught up. Give it ten years and these drones will pilot themselves.

Re:Correction (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43702849)

AI technology is here, RCMP budget is not!

Re:Correction (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43702991)

Translation: "I really, really want to find a way to slam drones... but I can't, so I'll nitpick, play semantic games, and on a heavy spin and smokescreen so I can pretend that the drone really wasn't all the important".

Re:Correction (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43703641)

Well, it's not quite so easy. You can have drones for orders of magnitude less cost than full on helicopters/planes...say $10-100K/drone instead of $10M/plane. Plus they can fly in inclement weather with no risk to humans. They can stay "on station" for days instead of hours. You can use 100s or 1,000s of them to search an area non stop until the mission is complete without having to have 1,000s of pilots ready to go at a moment's notice.

When drones start being used to evacuating people from disaster areas, they will be able to perform more risky landings without risk to pilots.

Actually, many lives have been saved with drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702563)

...by killing terrorists, think of how many lives have been saved.

ok maybe there's a little sarcasm in my comment...

Re:Actually, many lives have been saved with drone (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | about a year ago | (#43702915)

actually a valid point - not to mention Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) missions, and convoy protection (stopping he convoy before getting to the roadside bomb) Global Hawk was used to provide surveillance of California wildfires to aid firefighters etc.. also likely saving lives. I think its awesome that the RCMP is using remotely piloted technology and it is cool it paid off in a tangible way of saving a life- but drones have save lots of lives in less visible ways

It is not the tool.... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#43702571)

...it is the use to which the tool is put. With powerful tools in the hands of government, it becomes a matter of how much one trusts said government.

Re:It is not the tool.... (1)

gagol (583737) | about a year ago | (#43702859)

Trusting government??? You are nuts!

Crack Pipes Save Lives Too (2, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43702605)

If you throw a crack pipe at the head of a bank robber and distract the robber long enough to subdue the robber, you could say that a crack pipe saved the life of the bank manager.

The effect of a tool depends on how it is used.

Then again, a person carrying a crack pipe at a bank would probably have used the tool for its usual purpose, and would be unable to successfully aim the pipe at the robber's head, so the odds of a crack pipe routinely saving lives are about as slim as the odds of a drone routinely saving lives.

Re:Crack Pipes Save Lives Too (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43702995)

You used a crack pipe before writing your comment, right?

Re:Crack Pipes Save Lives Too (1)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#43703657)

I could see this working, but it would definitely be a crack shot.

weight of the word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702617)

People in the US seems hesitant to have "drones" in the police force because of that buzzword used in the military to carry out attacks. There's an image associated with "drones" where we see a black and white image, followed by a violent explosion.

But intellectually, drones is nothing more than unmanned aircraft. I believe the police force would get less flak about it and privacy concerns if they called it unmanned helicopters. The picture in the article, it looks like a toy RC helicopter with off-the-shelf point and shoot camera (even though it's infrared). You could swat it off the air by throwing a shoe (if it was within range).

Make Magazine and various hobbyist websites have tutorials and gleaming articles about attaching a camera to an RC helicopter....but when the police department does it, it's evil? Police and news helicopters are already equipped with insanely powerful telephoto lenses where perpetrators don't even notice its presence (Rodney King footage).

I'm not saying the PD should have a free pass at it, but at the same time I feel this double standard on RC helicopters with cameras attached to be a little disingenuous.

As for the libertarian Rand Paul loving out there - I respect your need for privacy, but realistically you're not that important or interesting to begin with. Nobody cares about your data or whatever information you have. I've been there. I used to encrypt and lock down my *home* network and whatnot. Until I realized, no one gives a crap. There are billions of people out there - plenty of "noise" to hide under, if that's the case.

Re:weight of the word (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#43702813)

but when the police department does it, it's evil?

The government has the power to ruin people's lives, so the implications are far different. Furthermore, the information would be available to the entire government, not just a single person.

And unmanned drones are different from helicopters (and I don't think helicopters should be spying on anyone, either) in that they can be used en masse far more easily.

but realistically you're not that important or interesting to begin with.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. As long as the government doesn't abuse me, all is well!

Re:weight of the word (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43703613)

Furthermore, the information would be available to the entire government, not just a single person.

There are two issues with this statement;
1. The "single person" has access to youtube and the internet and can post the video for anyone to view. Remember the blood in the river caught by a civilian drone [dailymail.co.uk] ? There are also many news outlets that will publicize it if it is important enough.
2. "The government" is not a monolithic organization. There are many competing agencies and departments who are competing with each other to make themselves look more important and therefore get a bigger budget. It is difficult enough to get two local police departments to work together let alone State and Federal agencies.

And unmanned drones are different from helicopters (and I don't think helicopters should be spying on anyone, either) in that they can be used en masse far more easily.

True, it is easier to use drones en masse much the same way it is easier to establish a manned base on the Moon compared with a manned base on Mars (neither of which are going to happen any time soon). To use drones en masse will take a lot of money, mostly in terms of pilot and technician salaries, which most police forces do not have. These slippery slope arguments, "A hundred today means a hundred thousand next year", are invalid. They are not being used en masse today or for the foreseeable future. Until then, and in the numbers they are being used they are a very useful tool.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.

There is a lot of truth in that statement. If you don't want to get a speeding ticket then don't speed. I don't generally go about breaking laws but when I do I am willing to take the consequences..

As long as the government doesn't abuse me, all is well!

As long as the government doesn't abuse anyone, all is well! Fixed that for you. Any tool can be abused. Should night sticks taken form police because they could be used to beat up an innocent person? The protection comes in when someone does use the tool improperly. They need to be prosecuted and sent to jail as has happened many times.

Re:weight of the word (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43703011)

You could swat it off the air by throwing a shoe (if it was within range).

(news from 2014)
And so tonight, the president declared shoes illegal.

Re:weight of the word (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43703259)

I think the issue many people have, besides the imagery, is drones drastically lower the barrier to abuse by police departments. Putting a fixed wing plan or a helicopter in the air is a fairly big deal, there is paperwork and people involved, there will be fuel and maintenance to deal with, and generally only large departments actually have easy access to them.

Drones on the other hand are much much cheaper to acquire and operate, and will probably be done with much less oversight. And unfortunately the police have a reputation for abusing powers when they are easy to access.

So I think people feel that the main reason current aircraft have not been heavily abused is their relative inaccessibility, and that the problem with drones is not that they add fundamentally new capabilities, but because they make those capabilities cheap and accessible.

Re:weight of the word (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43703269)

Though on the topic of 'importance', that is one of the issues. To be important enough to abuse traditional aircraft you really have to be on the radar so to speak. But for drones? They are much more likely to find their way into personal conflicts.. cop neighbor doesn't like your dog? Date a cop's sibling and you have a fight? In the same way other police powers have slowly found their way into petty personal squabbles, drones could to.

There's Video of Search from Drone (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | about a year ago | (#43702699)

There's a link in the article to a ~2 minute IR video that was provided and annotated by the drone's maker. It shows how human body heat clearly contrasts with snowy background, even from miles away. I'd be curious to see the same video shot in Summer temps. I suspect the range falls by 50% or more.

Re:There's Video of Search from Drone (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43703031)

Dude. This is Canada. In summer the snow just gets a little bit warmer!

Re:There's Video of Search from Drone (1)

mhotchin (791085) | about a year ago | (#43703615)

The flip side is that in the summer the urgency (based on the weather, at least) goes down. If the drone can't find you because it's too warm outside, you probably won't freeze to death.

And across the ocean... (1)

FFOMelchior (979131) | about a year ago | (#43702733)

A hatchery is the first structure created by a drone in South Korea

Imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702883)

when we can 3D print all the drones we need?

Re:Imagine (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43703043)

Stop imagining, the future is today [diydrones.com] !

Obviously not the best way to do it (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43702957)

It would be better to equip every person and every vehicle with a GPS and a transponder, which could be queried at any time by police or other government agency performing essential public safety work. It could also serve as a universal form of ID.

I dont see why its a big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702983)

Americans seem to have this stupid notion that they get 100% freedom and privacy 100% of the time anywhere they go while they do whatever it is they please.

I hate to break it to americans but as soon as you leave your home and out in public you no longer have privacy. That's why it is called being out in public. Do you complain that everyone else outside of your home can see you? Do you complain that police on patrol can see you? Do you complain that you can have your picture taken by someone else? No. But you complain when the government wants drones that can see you outside of your house.

Here is a nutty notion, if you are out in public and don't want to be monitored, don't do anything illegal. That's not so hard is it? Because trust me, joe lunchbox walking to his car to drive to mcdonalds wont be monitored because no one cares about him. Only bad people doing bad things will be monitored.

Hell americans complain when something bad happens that the cops weren't doing enough to prevent it, but still complain when the cops try to take preventative measures. If they don't take preventative measures they cant very stop anything can they? Now drones cant really stop anything but they can make catching people a hell of a lot more efficient.

Me personally I don't care if a drone sees me picking my nose when I go to the mailbox because I don't do bad things, thus I have nothing to worry about when I am out in public. Oh and I also realize that I AM OUT IN PUBLIC.

When the president has a drone flying around my living room, then we can talk.

Re:I dont see why its a big deal. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year ago | (#43703107)

Americans seem to have this stupid notion that they get 100% freedom and privacy 100% of the time anywhere they go while they do whatever it is they please.

I'm not seeing it.

I hate to break it to americans but as soon as you leave your home and out in public you no longer have privacy.

What? Where are all these Americans who supposedly think that you have privacy even when in public? I'd be happy if more than a select few existed, but many people seem to only care for security.

But really, the government is not entitled to have ubiquitous surveillance, so this whole thing is meaningless.

locate and treat? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year ago | (#43703297)

So this drone was taught first aid? Did it stitch up a leg? Reset a broken bone?

Rare event! Drones for spying, not saving lives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703481)

How many drones does Canada have flying around? Are they restricted to roads in remote areas?

What chance do drones have of detecting such a vehicle?

If 1 human is watching 1 drone's footage, and watching if far more attentively than most people in such a position would, the question becomes "how much ground can a single drone cover in 8 hours?" If a single drone can cover all the roads in a city once or twice in an 8 hour shift, and there are 25 such cities in Saskatchewan, then for an annual cost of about 3.5 million dollars, a few lives in Saskatchewan might be saved.

I feel it is important to disclaim the fact that the lives saved are an extremely rare bi-product of the true reason these drones are used--spying on the civilian population.

Are we willing to spend millions of dollars and subject ourselves to endless, warrantless government surveillance in order to save a handful of lives a year?

Our money would be better spent policing fast-flowing rivers to prevent the much more prevalent drowning death.

Let's not get tricked into becoming a surveillance state by sensationalist stories, mm-kay?

I want pizza delivered by drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703553)

Faster and cheaper than by car. Especially during rush hour. Of course we want drones in our airspace - plenty of them . . .

Bullshit (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about a year ago | (#43703661)

The story is spin, not to mention inaccurate.

The drone didn't do anything to 'treat' the man, as stated in the article and summary.

The drone spotted him using an infrared camera that could as easily have been mounted on the manned helicopter that didn't, for whatever reason, spot him when it went out. Not sure why the helicopter didn't also check the area where the man's mobile phone signal had last been spotted (which is where the drone went) but whatever.

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