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Ask Slashdot: Time To Regulate Domestic Drones?

Soulskill posted 1 year,21 days | from the or-time-to-domesticate-regulator-drones? dept.

Technology 190

Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, a small helicopter drone tumbled out of the sky over midtown Manhattan, crashing to the sidewalk near Grand Central Station. On the way down it almost hit a businessman, who plucked out the video card from the wreckage and handed it over to a local television-news station. In the video, the drone (a Phantom Quadcopter) lifts off from what looks like an apartment terrace and buzzes its merry way toward some nearby skyscrapers, pausing for a few panoramic surveys of the Manhattan skyline. But the operator is clearly inexperienced, crashing the vehicle against the side of a building, and the flight lasts a mere three minutes before a final collision sends it to the street. Drone enthusiasts and engineers blamed the Quadcopter's poor performance on the pilot's possible reliance on GPS mode; when flying in an area crowded with tall buildings (and they don't get much taller or more crowded than in Manhattan) that block GPS signals, a vehicle can quickly think it's off-target and attempt to correct, leading to crashes. In theory, the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan, but that hasn't stopped any number of hobbyists from launching drones. And hobbyists aside, the industry for commercial drones is picking up: over the summer, the FAA approved a pair of small, unmanned aircraft systems for flight, and Airware (which builds autopilot computers for drones) recently accepted funding from Google Ventures. That's led legislators to begin exploring ways to regulate domestic drone use (particularly with regard to use by law enforcement), and it begs the question: should drones be regulated? And if so, how?" A similar incident just happened in Australia, where a small drone operated by an unknown owner crashed into the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Counter-terrorism officials felt they had to investigate, of course.

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"Domestic"? (0)

Lumpio- (986581) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039577)

Does that mean drones flown within the borders of your country, or drones owned by citizens of your country? If this is another NSA-esque "it's OK to spy on just about anybody in the world as long as they're not a citizen of the US of A" thing, I'm going to be angry.

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039665)

Sensationalism, for sure.

To that end, everything the FAA regulates is domestic. Otherwise it would be the IAA.

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

Lumpio- (986581) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039697)

I'm pretty sure if it's a good idea to have regulations on drones in one single country in the world, they're a good idea everywhere.

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039829)

I'm pretty sure if it's a good idea to have regulations on drones in one single country in the world, they're a good idea everywhere.

The world is not under the FAA's jurisdiction, which was the point I was making. But yea, you're pretty spot-on: "what's good for the goose" and all.

Re:"Domestic"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040365)

yeah, thanks obama.

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

sabri (584428) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040507)

yeah, thanks obama.

The only thing you need to thank Obama for is to address the FAA's inability to enforce the existing regulations.

UAVs are already regulated under existing rules. For example, the term aircraft [faa-aircra...cation.com] is defined as follows:

A device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

A "drone" is a such a device. In theory, all aircraft (except toys, of course) are required to have an airworthiness certificate, as per FAR 91.203. And since the FAA requires a pilot's certificate for UA operation (see this [faa.gov] ), it is in practice impossible to legally fly a civilian drone for the simple reason that there is no certification category for such aircraft:

Is a FAA issued pilot certificate required to operate civil UAS?
Yes. If the aircraft is issued an airworthiness certificate a pilot certificate is required.

Summarizing: the regulations are there, they're just not enforced yet.

How is this not a toy? (2)

slomike1 (1125421) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040577)

In theory, all aircraft (except toys, of course) are required to have an airworthiness certificate, as per FAR 91.203.

This vehicle would be considered a toy. The operators were certainly using it as a toy.

Re:"Domestic"? (2)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040625)

UAVs are already regulated under existing rules. For example, the term aircraft is defined as follows:

A device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

Damn. No more flying kites legally without a license.

(and before someone complains that the string somehow makes it "not flight," note that the FAA includes the tethered tow time for a glider as part of "flight time."

Re:"Domestic"? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040215)

I'm pretty sure if it's a good idea to have regulations on drones in one single country in the world, they're a good idea everywhere.

We already have regulations. It says so right in the summary: the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan. That fact that operators are violating existing regulations is in no way evidence that we need more regulations (that will presumably also be violated).

This is just an attempted power grab by authoritarians. They want government drones to spy on us, but they don't the people to be able to look back at them.

Re:"Domestic"? (2)

Lazarian (906722) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039903)

By labelling a remote control airplane a "drone", you can scare the public into thinking that there's roving bands of high school kids dropping Preadator UAVs on top of their babies playing in the backyard. In reality they can justify banning the decades old hobby of flying RC aircraft, and companies like pork processing plants won't have to worry about being caught dumping pig blood into public waterways via some guy with an RC plane with a camera.

Re:"Domestic"? (3)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040201)

This another "It's OK for us to spy on everyone, but civilians better not think that they can have drones too, because those are OUR TOYS, GODDAMNIT!"

The NSA no longer distinguishes between US citizens and citizens of other countries. We are all the enemy now.

If that weren't true, they wouldn't be joking about hit squads on their critics and concentration camps for reporters. If it weren't true, they wouldn't be lying their asses off ever times Gen Alexander or James Clapper goes before Congress or the news media.

Eisenhower was president when I was born, and I've never seen this kind of open hostility toward basic constitutional principles of liberty and basic civil rights. Even during the Nixon Administration, there wasn't this kind of unapologetic disregard for basic rights of citizens in what's supposed to be a free society.

Video card? (3, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039581)

Why would drones have videocards? Oh wait, the guy doing the reporting is stupid and was talking about an SD card that had a video file of the flight on it.

Re:Video card? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039677)

While I was confused at first as well, I don't think the guy deserves to be called "stupid". It's a minor mistake by a non-technical individual and responding so strongly reduces the value of our opinion.

Re:Video card? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039695)

While I was confused at first as well, I don't think the guy deserves to be called "stupid".

Ignorant, yes, but I agree - I doubt anyone on Slashdot knows the man personally, and surely not well enough to accurately gauge his intellect.

Re:Video card? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039707)

If I called the engine of my car "the gas tank", mechanics would laugh at me. This is no different.

Re:Video card? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039787)

Calling a card that stores videos a "video card" at least makes sense for someone who doesn't know any better. Calling an engine a gas tank is just stupid as its neither tank-like nor where you pour in the gas.

Re:Video card? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039885)

There is an entire generation of people who refer to Atari and other game system cartridges as "tapes" because one of the first transportable "mass" memory devices for home computers was audio tapes.

Our local newscasters quite often instruct us to "log in to kgw.com for more information" on the story they just reported. Most of them know that you don't need to actually log in to access the information, but they're using the common vernacular that most people recognize.

I doubt there was a single /. reader who didn't immediately know what the phrase "video card" referred to.

Re:Video card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040019)

The reporter is presenting a story to a non technical audience who probably could quite easily call the card that you store video on a "videocard".

Re:Video card? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039699)

Oh wait, the guy doing the reporting is stupid and was talking about an SD card ...

Stupid and ignorant are two different things. We have an old guy at work with 2 PhDs under his belt yet he calls the computer case the CPU. Is he stupid? No. He's probably the smartest person in the building. He just has no clue about computers.

Reporters are expected to report on an incredibly wide array of subjects using accounts and statements from witnesses who often have even less of a clue. You can't expect them to get everything right every time.

Re:Video card? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039721)

You're right, I should have said ignorant.

Re: Video card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039761)

Or maybe you shouldn't stroke your ego in public...

Re:Video card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039883)

20 years ago it was quite common to refer to the beige box as the CPU. Esp as many of the peripherals were external.

Re:Video card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039749)

That phrase is used in the summary, so we have to assume that "Nerval's Lobster" and possibly "Soulskill" are the stupid ones for including it.

Double regulation? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039597)

The article states the FAA already has regulations, so WHY the call for more? Just enforce what is there and stop making it harder to actually follow laws and regulations.

Re:Double regulation? (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039773)

The article states the FAA already has regulations, so WHY the call for more? Just enforce what is there and stop making it harder to actually follow laws and regulations.

You got to my comment before me. The title of the piece is misleading, since it is already regulated. It is already enforced too, but you just have to catch a violator to inflict a penalty on them.

Quadcoptor toy with gopro cam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039607)

Paranoid people

Drones? (4, Insightful)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039611)

So, basically, any machine that flies and is remotely operated is a drone nowadays? This 'drone' word is being way overused.

Re:Drones? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039679)

Probably just an issue of vernacular: 'drone' rolls of the tongue much more readily than 'remote controlled quadcopter.'

Re:Drones? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039905)

Probably just an issue of vernacular: 'drone' rolls of the tongue much more readily than 'remote controlled quadcopter.'

But "toy" is even easier to roll off the tongue, and more appropriate when the devices they're calling "drones" are $50 (or even $500) toys.

Much more dangerous than most "toys", though (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040517)

But "toy" is even easier to roll off the tongue, and more appropriate when the devices they're calling "drones" are $50 (or even $500) toys.

How much it costs doesn't matter much if it weighs a few pounds and falls on your head from 100m up, or flies into your windscreen while you're driving through a residential neighbourhood, or sits outside your home with its cameras pointing through a gap in your daughter's curtains while she gets changed.

Re:Drones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040033)

This is a drone. It was flown using GPS guidance and a remote video feed. An RC helicopter must be flown by visual sight of the Aircraft by the pilot. The secound you see through a video or use other means of navigation to guide the helicopter. It's a drone

Re:Drones? (1)

Lumpio- (986581) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039713)

Let me blow your mind: there are also bees called "drones". They are neither machines nor remotely operated, all they do is fly!

Re:Drones? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039895)

Please, don't blow his mind with drones. Terrorists is another overused word.

Re:Drones? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039751)

drone
Pronunciation: /slashdot sucks at funny looking characters/
n.
A remote-controlled pilotless aircraft

A quad-copter relying on GPS control with a minimal amount of remote pilot interaction sounds like a drone to me.

Mind you the other definition is a continuous low humming sound which if you've ever played with a quad-copter is also correct.

Re:Drones? (1)

pinkfalcon (215531) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039827)

This was my thought too:
What is the difference between a drone and a remote controlled toy?

What about those remote controlled helicopters/airplanes - are the sale of those going to be regulated because some people fly them in urban areas? What's the difference (legally) between a $1000 gas powered 10lb helicopter with a 5 foot wingspan and one of those $20 battery powered indoor helicopters you buy at Big-5 and fly for 1 minute/charge? (until you sneeze and blow it across the room)

20 years ago i had a model rocket that went several hundred feet in the air before spreading it's wings to come back down - no control whatsoever - is that more or less dangerous than a quadcopter being controlled through a remote link, or following a pre-programmed path?
What if I put a camera or some other payload on that glider - is it a drone now?

Is anything that flies without a human being on board to control it considered a drone? What about paper airplanes?

Re:Drones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040037)

Drones fly through the Clouds. It's only logical.

Re:Drones? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040071)

So, basically, any machine that flies and is remotely operated is a drone nowadays? This 'drone' word is being way overused.

Right, I propose we adopt the Japanese term: Salaryman.

Could have killed someone (2)

a.d.trick (894813) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039617)

A 3 pound object falling 15 could easily kill someone without a helmet. Even with a helmet your chances aren't that stellar.

Re:Could have killed someone (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039753)

Yep, 15 is a pretty long drop. I think FAA should limit these things to an altitude of 10, limit airliners to an altitude of 5.

Re:Could have killed someone (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039755)

Yeah, a 3 pound object like a flower pot, a window pane, a coke bottle, a chunk of rock, a purse, a model airplane, or any of many other kinds of objects that tumble off buildings. Are you going to make new, separate laws for each class of object? Why???

Re:Could have killed someone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040053)

How can we sue each other otherwise?

This fact is what's going to be used to stir (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039907)

public opinion... Drones are bad, ban drones.... blah blah b.s.

But really, the continued use of these things by inexperienced pilots is going to cause newsworth injury or death sooner or later, just like bucky balls...

Not likley (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039951)

A 3 pound object falling 15 could easily kill someone

Very unlikely with a flying device of any kind, because the weight is distributed over a large area with many parts that will crumple on impact, and terminal velocity is greatly reduced by the amount of resistance it would have falling through the air - a quad-rotor free-falling would probably act more like a leaf than a rock.

Re:Could have killed someone (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040115)

A 3 pound object falling 15 could easily kill someone without a helmet. Even with a helmet your chances aren't that stellar.

Foolish person does stupid inconsiderate thing. Rocks are dangerous too. By the time that object is 15 it should know better.
I have a 20 meter tall walnut tree and that scares me too as that is high enough for a walnut to reach near terminal velocity (v=sqrt(2ad). I think that squirrels should be imprisoned because they chew them off and them fumble them with out any consideration that I have to get the lawn mowed.
If stupid was an enforceable crime then congress would have to hold session in the prison laundry. Please don't beg them to make possession of heavy objects a felony. Officer : "Judge we need a warrant and we have proof the perp has at least a 3 pound baby." Judge: "Be careful when you go in that they don't drop it on you, you are authorized to use lethal force." Michael Jackson . Too soon?

"Begs The Question" (4, Informative)

getto man d (619850) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039623)

"..and it begs the question: should drones be regulated?"

No it does not beg the question [begthequestion.info] .

Re:"Begs The Question" (2)

orgelspieler (865795) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039711)

First of all, stop being pedantic. Second, the statement "FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas" is begging the question. It is basically saying "X should be regulated, because X is forbidden." If that isn't assuming the initial point (petitio principii), I don't know what is.

Re:"Begs The Question" (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039801)

First of all, stop being pedantic. Second, the statement "FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas" is begging the question. It is basically saying "X should be regulated, because X is forbidden." If that isn't assuming the initial point (petitio principii), I don't know what is.

Sounds like it is already regulated. The question is if it is over regulated.

Re:"Begs The Question" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039731)

It certainly does. Just because some archaic use of three simple words means the opposite, it doesn't mean the logical, literal usage of the words should mean the same thing. See also, could/n't care less.

beg - to request.

beg the question - request the question

In short, go fucking kill yourself.

Re:"Begs The Question" (1)

dfsmith (960400) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039841)

I especially liked the web site's reasoning that "beg does not mean 'beg' and question does not mean 'question'" in the original translation. I think the begthequestion.info web site is a dumb terminal; where dumb does not mean 'mute' and terminal does not mean 'point of departure'.

Re:"Begs The Question" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039987)

Well, maybe it does after all :-)

That's not how you use "begs the question" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039627)

Begs the question does not just mean "the question that should be asked." It means "basing a conclusion on an assumption that is as much in need of proof or demonstration as the conclusion itself." In other words, assuming a truth without providing proof.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

Re:That's not how you use "begs the question" (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039779)

The term "Begging the question" is the obscure name of an logical fallacy (circular reasoning), used only by people only when talking about logical fallacies. It uses the archaic form of "begging" to mean "assuming". And it is never used conversationally.

The phrase "which begs the question [followed by the question]" is a simple English phrase that means no more than the words it uses, used conversationally and understood by anyone who can speak English.

Everyone who learns about the former goes through a period where they bristle at the latter. It make them feel superior, but it demonstrates the opposite.

Regulations? (4, Funny)

Lendrick (314723) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039651)

So you're going to make the drones go away by adding more government?

So you're going to make the government go away by adding more government?

So you're governmenting to make the government go government by governmenting government government?

Government government government government government government government government government government government government government?

I'm an anarchocapitalist!

Re:Regulations? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039669)

The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.

Re:Regulations? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039717)

... and we must sacrifice our freedoms to protect our freedoms.

Doubleplusgood!

Re:Regulations? (1)

Lendrick (314723) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040007)

"Someone who wants rule of law deserves neither rule nor law. Also, warlords who come to your house, murder you, and take all your stuff are the same as the IRS."

- Benjamin Einstein Lincoln

Re:Regulations? Support the right to bear arms (1)

hguorbray (967940) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039797)

on your own Reaper or Predator Drone

I'm sure we can get the NRA and the Military/Industrial complex behind this!

the next logical step would then be drone-killer drones, killer drone killer drones, etc

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Regulations? Support the right to bear arms (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040331)

We need to invent the NSAMA, that would take care of the drone problem.

I'll let you figure out the acronym.

Re:Regulations? (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039971)

I'm an anarchocapitalist!

No, if you were a true anarchocapitalist, you'd have written:

GOVERNMENT ...

And thank God /. has a "lameness" filter to stop lame jokes:

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

/. has apparently never heard of true anarchocapitalists.

Re:Regulations? (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040159)

Because a few 'criminals' (that is, someone who breaks the law) cause problems, why do we need to make the people who follow the laws suffer with more regulation???

I got it!!! Register all drones. Create a bunch of rules that will keep people what shouldn't have drones from having them. Create obstacles so that those the follow the law already and don't cause problems bear the brunt of the new regulations.

Outlaw drones .. and only outlaws will have drones.....

If the existing laws are being ignored, why would any sane person think adding more laws would make the problem go away. When existing laws are being ignored, it's only the uncreative and lazy that don't find new ways to enforce them and prefer instead to add more laws.

Laws that won't be followed and have absolutely no impact .. except on the majority of people who follow the law.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039657)

No. Look at the number of deaths from alcohol. When we start seeing numbers like that, then maybe we should think about regulation. We have too much regulation in everything already. We should be removing some of those laws.

Re:No. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039687)

Alcohol is regulated and drunk driving is illegal.

People flying remote-controlled planes and quadcopters should be required to pass a class and get a license or something.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039843)

Alcohol is regulated and drunk driving is illegal.

People flying remote-controlled planes and quadcopters should be required to pass a class and get a license or something.

Yeah sure, let's regulate Frisbees and baseballs, too — a child could get hit by one of those things, you know.

Re:No. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039963)

People have no clue on risks. There are far higher chances to die from alcohol (not just driving), accidents, or gun shots than from "they must be regulated!" technologies. But still alcohol and tobacco are things accepted and promoted, and having a gun and a car are practically requirements to feel like a citizen.

Guns (that are only meant to kill) should be far more regulated than drones. And use and abuse of addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol should be something with campaigns against them (not prohibition, but no promotion neither)... and probably sugary drinks should fit in that set there too.

just wait for auto cars to use the same GPS mode (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039675)

and they get messed up in an area crowded with tall buildings

Re:just wait for auto cars to use the same GPS mod (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039745)

This is the exact reason autonomous cars do not rely on GPS for navigation. Typical sensor suites for an autonomous car in addition to GPS include: Inertial Navigation System, high resolution odometry encoders, 2D lasers, 3D lasers, and 3D stereo vision. The data from all these sensors are fused together to create a high accurate (to within 10 centimeters in my experience) localization of the robot car.

Re:just wait for auto cars to use the same GPS mod (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039991)

Typical sensor suites for an autonomous car in addition to GPS include: Inertial Navigation System, high resolution odometry encoders, 2D lasers, 3D lasers,

Give me a million dollars or I'll turn my autonomous car loose upon your streets...

Re:just wait for auto cars to use the same GPS mod (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040023)

But it still get lost it may be able to see the road but don't know where it's going.

Re:just wait for auto cars to use the same GPS mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040471)

It should know where it goes even without GPS. It knows the direction it goes (through Inertial system) and how far it goes (wheel encoders)

particularly with regard to use by law enforcement (2)

frovingslosh (582462) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039681)

(particularly with regard to use by law enforcement)

If they are concerned about use by law enforcement, this this will do no good. Law enforcement doesn't obey the law, they are above the law. Anyone paying attention knows that they just do whatever they want. If they are ever caught the only "punishment" is to give some tax payer money to someone.

Re:particularly with regard to use by law enforcem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039709)

I'd rather live in a world where there's police, even if some are corrupt, than a world without.

Re:particularly with regard to use by law enforcem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040335)

Cool strawman, dipshit

Drones versus Toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039689)

What's the difference between a unmanned drone and those remote control helicopters/airplanes that people have been flying for years.

Is it the fact that you pre-program a course and it navigates by itself instead of a human controlling it and watching where it goes (either on the ground or through an on-board camera link back to a base station).
Is it based on size? or payload?

20 years ago I had a model rocket that went several hundred feet up and then spread it wings to glide back down - does that count as a drone? How about if I put a camera on it?

or is the question moot and we should regulate everything that flies or glides without a human on board to control it. Even down to paper airplanes.

That's no drone... (3, Insightful)

PNutts (199112) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039725)

/ force

It's a frickin' toy. And what's up with taking the SD card and giving it away? If a car crashes in front of him will he start picking up items and handing them out?

Re:That's no drone... (2)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039791)

The summary says he is a 'businessman', so clearly he is devoid of scruples.

That's no drone... it's a weapon (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039815)

If a car tried to run me down and kill me but crashed, and I noticed that it had a dash board camera, I might certainly take the memory card from the camera, particularly if there was no one trying to stop me. Who it is given to, cops, news media or a lawyer depends on the details of the case. But in this example I think it was better to give it to the news media than to give it to cops who are likely to be too stupid, too lazy, or too corrupt to do anything proper with it.

Your supposedly moral position of "don't take the evidence, it belongs to the person who almost killed you and he might not want anyone to see where the projectile came from" is disgusting.

Re:That's no drone... it's a weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040207)

If a car tried to run me down and kill me [...]

You think this was a botched hit job?

Re:That's no drone... it's a weapon (1)

PNutts (199112) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040375)

Fine, be disgusted. Your assumptions about my opinion are incorrect and your analogy isn't applicable. The SD card is property.

Re:That's no drone... it's a weapon (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040411)

But in this example I think it was better to give it to the news media than to give it to cops who are likely to be too stupid, too lazy, or too corrupt to do anything proper with it.

This "businessman" called the cops too. They didn't do anything, but not because of the tin-foil reason you listed, but because the police don't regulate air space. The FAA does.

Taking and keeping lost property is theft. However, this guy took the lost property to the police, which is the correct response (for something found on the sidewalk).

stop making stupid laws (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039737)

In theory, the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan, but that hasn't stopped any number of hobbyists from launching drones.

How is this different from any other model aircraft? Quadcopters are probably a lot less dangerous than all the other kinds of model aircraft people have been flying for decades.

It's simple: if you hurt or kill someone with a "drone", you're going to be held responsible just when you do the same with any other kind of object, vehicle, weapon, or model aircraft. And if you fly model aircraft where you shouldn't, you can be held responsible for that already.

Now, stop making new stupid laws that simply duplicate already existing, perfectly good laws.

Re:stop making stupid laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040085)

Does not seem to work that way for Obama.

Re:stop making stupid laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040103)

Hopefully the law would have enough sense to scale to harm done.

A foamy flyer or micro-ultralight might hurt if its propeller gets caught in your hair and that's about it. A park flyer might hurt a bit and might even leave a welt in an extreme case, but is unlikely to cause major injury. Now a high powered RC aircraft capable of lifting a full-size camera body which also weighs a few pounds itself can do some serious damage if the operator is reckless and/or incompetent.

I don't think it would be just at all to have a lawsuit when somebody gets nerfed by a harmless micro-scale aircraft, but there are definite grievances if somebody loses life or limb to a larger aircraft. Like model rockets, maybe regulation (if needed) should be based on size and weight.

Even then with regulation, there will probably be people making potentially hazardous R/C craft and drones from non-regulated materials. Electric motors and stuff like that are fairly easy to come by.

Moar regulashuns plz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039769)

Sooo....The FAA already forbids flying unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas, but since some people do it anyway we should add regulations to forbid flying unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas? If that doesn't work, I suppose that we could always add a regulation to forbid flying unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas, or perhaps a regulation to forbid flying unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas.

As a last ditch effort, maybe we should do all of the above but add a regulation to forbid flying unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas?

Sure, let's regulate domestic drones. (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039781)

Let's start by regulating law enforcement use of drones out of existence.

Pre-Optimization (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039817)

Before you scream "Think of the children!" shouldn't you at least wait until one gets bruised?

As it stands now, I'd prefer the drones stay unregulated - I'm planning a trip to Manhattan to collect free quad-copter parts and memory cards.

Re:Pre-Optimization (1)

Meeni (1815694) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039937)

Drones are already regulated.

Re:Pre-Optimization (1)

Meeni (1815694) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039949)

And so are RC flying toys by the way.

Stupid motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039819)

So we're calling for regulation of drones, when the drone operator is already violating the law.

God you fuckers are ignorant and stupid.

Where the fuck is your brain? Were you born that way or have you just been reading /. and listening to tea bagger/ayn rand propaganda so long its rotted your brain?

And no I'm not going to read the fucking article because to many fucking articles now are just some asshole's blog who's making money with advertisements and page views.

Time to something more productive like watch some porn.

Re: Stupid motherfucker (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039919)

Hahahaha right fucking on dude

Kid crashes toy hellicopter, news at 11:00 (3, Informative)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039873)

There are FAA safety rules for flight, and AMA rules for hobyists. Even small toy helicopters & planes can be quite dangerous.
AMA = Academy for Model Aeronautics (SP?) (This is the group that oversees most model aircraft clubs)

AMA clearly states thou shalt not fly over people, in crowded areas, or in a manner that might end up w/ your aircraft in a situation where it could cause harm.
This is no differnt than driving an RC car on a busy road. NOT BRILLIANT. (Though to be 100% honest, I'm all for cul de sacs, and the occasional county freeway...)

The guy clearly broke AMA rules, and if a member should have his status revoked. Also, I'm sure he broke the law, but befor we go TOO crazy, what if someone hit a softball in downtown NYC? a baseball? a rock... I'm pretty sure aimlessly throwing rocks isn't itself explicitly illegal yet.
IMHO a quadcopter is a rock w/ four props and a helluva battery...

I just can't believe the dumb a$$ lost a decent craft trying to fly near buildings which create crazy vertical wind sheer using GPS at that.
My biggest problem is dicks like this are going to make it harder for guys like me because the public will cry outrage, and think of the children. It won't be long before one of these DO hurt or kill someone.

I'm sure many /.. readers are interested in this kinda stuff. It's a great hobby btw. I suggest reading up on Wattflyer.com, DIYDrones.com, and RCPlanet.com. A bucketload of information abounds for those interested in doing heli's,quads, fixed wing, FPV & Drone flight. Learn to fly on a simulator, then learn again w/ an AMA chartered club. There everywhere, and you'll save tons of $ in broken planes.

Re:Kid crashes toy hellicopter, news at 11:00 (1)

edjs (1043612) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040485)

It won't be long before one of these DO hurt or kill someone.

And by "won't be long" you mean last month:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/09/06/1517200/man-killed-by-his-own-radio-controlled-helicopter-in-brooklyn [slashdot.org]

Self-inflected rather than taking out a bystander, and in an area designated for RC flying, so not quite the same.

Already regulated (3, Informative)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039879)

the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan,

Looks like an applicable regulation to me. And it looks like the operator was in clear violation. No news here.

the FAA forbids the operation if uavs over NYC (1)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,21 days | (#45039957)

"the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan" It's already a UAV free zone. What's the plan for further regulation? No uavs over 16oz?

Aw, Sh*t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45039983)

You can sort of feel the moment when the guy realizes that he has about zero chance of being able to fly the thing back to his rather small balcony. He takes close to 50 seconds to get it up and off the balcony in the the first place because he's having trouble controlling it. Next, he flys across hundreds of feet of open space and smacks the same building several times like he's not sure of the orientation of the UAV. I feel it's obvious that he's on full-manual control w/o GPS and has no real-time video from the vehicle itself - he's totally screwed and he knows it...

Too bad he lost about $700 (UAV + camera) in 4 minutes...

Regulations as such. (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040013)

the FAA forbids the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles over crowded areas such as Manhattan

If it's for hobbyist reasons, no, it doesn't.

From the FAQ:

Do I need to get approval from the FAA to fly a model aircraft for recreation?

No. FAA guidance does not address size of the model aircraft. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be kept below 400 feet above ground level (AGL), should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full scale aircraft, and are not for business purposes. 1, 2

http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/uas_faq/#Qn2 [faa.gov]

pdf1: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/uas/reg/media/frnotice_uas.pdf [faa.gov]

pdf 2: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/1acfc3f689769a56862569e70077c9cc/$FILE/ATTBJMAC/ac91-57.pdf [faa.gov]

The second PDF applies to model aircraft. The first to SRS BZNS "money making" UAVs. It's when you start getting into SRS BZNS that the FAA says you need a waiver.

These quadcopters that are less than two feet across (even though the FAA in the second PDF says they don't define by size) that aren't SRS BZNS are obviously "model aircraft" and have never been needed to be regulated

The second PDF cited above has "guidelines" for "good neighborliness." They are good ideas if you don't want to injure anyone (where the real risk lies) and get sued in civil court for negligence. But they are not hard and fast administrative laws

--
BMO

Re:Regulations as such. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040475)

Dude, your own FAQ and your Advisory both state that you're not allowed to fly them in populated areas.

Responsible use (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040091)

As with many activities, people who break the already existing rules mess things up for everyone.

I was at the exciting finale of the America's Cup out on the pier with something like 10,000+ people watching the boats race to the finish line shadowed by three helicopters providing video coverage. So what does some dope do? Launches his quadcopter from the middle of an outdoor crowd and flys it out over the finish area. What part of "away from populated areas" and "away from aircraft operations" did this idiot not understand?

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040277)

Regulation is a poor substitute for common sense.

I sent a note to my Senator (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,21 days | (#45040319)

I sent a note to my senator a month ago about drones.
In it I had expressed no good/bad opinion.

I did offer some suggestions to improve safety.
Simple things like mandate ATC friendly beacons
because most are "stealthy" by design. I also
suggested tail "colors" so the flying agency could be
identified via binoculars. Especially important in
the case of forest fire management support rolls, i.e.
not covert, not law enforcement.

What was interesting was the gibberish letter that
made it clear that my letter had not been read but
it also made it clear that this California Senator and
staff had no researched opinion on the topic.
no clue....

My impression after reading the reply was to take
a large dose of KYjelly with each meal because it
will make the abuse I would receive from agencies
in the government less painful.

The trouble that I see is that this was a "generated" personal
reply. I would rather see a pointer to a single position statement.
The statement could say: "this is a new topic we are currently
researching and will be forming opinions". But between the
lines was a heavy hand pushing me down over a .....

Language appropriation (1)

quonsar (61695) | 1 year,21 days | (#45040353)

So once 'bomb' became 'IED' I suppose it was inevitable that 'radio-controlled toy helicopter' would morph into 'unmanned drone'.
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