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Are Tethers the Answer To the Safety Issues of Follow-Me Drone Technology?

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 months ago | from the drone-kept-trying-to-escape dept.

Robotics 88

Hallie Siegel (2973169) writes Camera-equipped follow-me drone technology is hitting the scene in spades, promising extreme sports enthusiasts and others amazing aerial shots. Imagine, your own dynamic tripod that follows you on command. But what about the safety issue of having follow-me drones crowding the ski slopes? The tethered Fotokite addresses these concerns while sidestepping FAA regulations.

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Isn't this MORE dangerous? (4, Insightful)

popo (107611) | about 2 months ago | (#47392105)

Sorry, but the logic here escapes me. Aren't the danger of crossed-tethers exponentially greater than the danger of colliding drones?

This and more (2)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 months ago | (#47392117)

I really don't want (amateur) pilots flying swarms of anything over my head at the beach/ski-slope/swimming pool. And tethering the drones to the pilots will mitigate what exactly?

Re:This and more (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392159)

It will mitigate legal trouble, as long as nothing happens. A tethered object isn't subject to the same rules as a free flying object. The pilot will still be liable for damaged caused, but not for breaking FAA rules. It's in the blurb, so mod this redundant.

Re:This and more (1, Troll)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 months ago | (#47392179)

Legal trouble? Who's talking about legal trouble? I'm talking about the physical and spatial problems of multiple tethered moving objects in a 3D environment.
Are you a lawyer?

Re:This and more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392205)

Who cares what you worry about? If the rules say one must not fly a free flying drone above your head, but may fly a tethered one, then you can't stop someone from doing the latter. What matters to someone who wants to sell drones, tethered or not, is that people are not legally prevented from using the product. If the safer product can't be sold, then of course being legal trumps being safe.

Re:Who cares what you worry about? (1, Troll)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 months ago | (#47392299)

I guess what you're trying to say is that you're a lawyer?

Re:Who cares what you worry about? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392665)

I guess what you're trying to say is that you're a lawyer?

What you are demonstrating is deliberate stupidity. Which is no less stupid for being a deliberate action. Now STFU.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392375)

What matters to someone who wants to sell drones, tethered or not, is that people are not legally prevented from using the product.

That never seemed to matter to the sellers of radar detectors. It was never illegal to sell, buy nor own one, but has always been illegal to operate one - at least in Australia.

Re:This and more (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 2 months ago | (#47392537)

Not in WA - they're everywhere over here.

Re: This and more (1)

TangoCharlie (113383) | about 2 months ago | (#47392411)

The title of the piece is "Are Tethers the Answer To the Safety Issues of Follow-Me Drone Technology?", so which the answer is an emphatic "No", for all the obvious reasons: collision, tangled tethers, over-head power cables, etc.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393257)

then of course being legal trumps being safe.

There's no law against punching yourself in the face. Why don't you get started on that right now?

Re:This and more (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 2 months ago | (#47395101)

TFS says this is about safety. Which it clearly is not.

Re:This and more (1)

rHBa (976986) | about 2 months ago | (#47392225)

Exactly, thinking about ski resorts the chances of your drone hitting a ski lift could cause the lift to shut down (temporarily) so I'd imagine the resorts banning them anywhere near a piste. Also I'd have thought the chances of a downed drone(s) garotting someone are fairly high.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392643)

I keep going thru scenarios to where a DRONE hitting a MASSIVE SKI-LIFT is going to cause it to shut down. At all.

Re: This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393995)

How about the one where a drone strikes a car or tower and gets tangled up. Are you going to ignore the report and send people up on the lift or are you going to stop the lift and send out a crew to clean up the mess and do a safty check?

Re: This and more (1)

rHBa (976986) | about 2 months ago | (#47394863)

Or a drone hitting a chairlift? Even if nobody is hurt you'd still investigate, the next time you might not be so lucky...

Re:This and more (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47393801)

It will mitigate legal trouble, as long as nothing happens. A tethered object isn't subject to the same rules as a free flying object. The pilot will still be liable for damaged caused, but not for breaking FAA rules. It's in the blurb, so mod this redundant.

BUT... and this is about the 4th time I have pointed this out on Slashdot:

A Federal administrative judge has ruled that the FAA has no authority to regulate small drones. Although the FAA has appealed this ruling, I very highly doubt it will be overturned, because the judge made his ruling on the basis that Congress simply hasn't given them any authority to do so.

It the meantime, of course, the FAA is still trying to regulate everything in sight. But it won't last.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47397385)

It will mitigate legal trouble, as long as nothing happens. A tethered object isn't subject to the same rules as a free flying object. The pilot will still be liable for damaged caused, but not for breaking FAA rules. It's in the blurb, so mod this redundant.

BUT... and this is about the 4th time I have pointed this out on Slashdot:

A Federal administrative judge has ruled that the FAA has no authority to regulate small drones. Although the FAA has appealed this ruling, I very highly doubt it will be overturned, because the judge made his ruling on the basis that Congress simply hasn't given them any authority to do so.

It the meantime, of course, the FAA is still trying to regulate everything in sight. But it won't last.

Wrong. Congress has given them authority of everything, and I do mean *everything* above a certain altitude, and within certain distances from airports. The current debate with the courts has more to do with the FAA being able to regulate *types of use* in the low-altitude range, and the current ruling (which is on hold pending more court battles) is more specifically about whether the FAA followed proper procedures when enacting those regulations.

Re:This and more (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47403009)

Wrong. Congress has given them authority of everything, and I do mean *everything* above a certain altitude, and within certain distances from airports. The current debate with the courts has more to do with the FAA being able to regulate *types of use* in the low-altitude range, and the current ruling (which is on hold pending more court battles) is more specifically about whether the FAA followed proper procedures when enacting those regulations.

No, it's not wrong. Although I do admit that I accidentally left out the "low altitude" part. Mea culpa.

But as the judge correctly pointed out, the law clearly states that the FAA has authority over "navigable" airspace, which means roughly airspace that is used for continuous travel by person-carrying vehicles. (This same rough definition is also used for "navigable" waters.)

So it's not even "everything" above a certain altitude. It is the travelable and traveled airways. Which are pretty clearly defined on airplane navigation charts.

Anything lower than that, or away from traveled airways (like airports, where low-altitude flight is common) is fair game. And it doesn't matter in the least whether the drone is being used for commercial purposes.

Re:This and more (3, Informative)

rHBa (976986) | about 2 months ago | (#47392203)

In many Alpine ski resorts there are a lot of paraglider and speedrider pilots (of which I am one, in Chamonix).

Although we're not allowed to fly directly above pistes I can imagine these drones being very popular off-piste (i.e backcountry) where we often paraglide. A collision with an untethered drone *probably* wouldn't be too dangerous assuming the rotor blades are surrounded with a shroud but if it were tethered to the skier/boarder then the likelihood of it becoming tangled is quite high and could easily cause major problems for the paraglider pilot.

Luckily Chamonix is a very traditional resort so I'd expect these drones to be banned anywhere near the piste and (hopefully) off-piste as well, however it would be almost impossible to police off-piste!

As a pilot and aviation enthusiast... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 2 months ago | (#47397647)

I really rue the day that "r/c model aircraft" because a "drone". Suddenly, a toy is worth regulating, and it's become rather ridiculous.

Now we're talking about having to tether a model aircraft with a line, so that now we have entanglement issues?

Can somebody please add some reason?

Re:As a pilot and aviation enthusiast... (1)

rHBa (976986) | about 2 months ago | (#47397797)

FYI, here are some opinions of other paraglider pilots on the subject of flying with R/C models [paraglidingforum.com] .

This is mainly about soaring with full r/c than follow-drones which would presumably have a more predictable flight path, so not exactly the same situation but I'd still imagine speedrider pilots having problems with this because they are often well below the 400ft AGL height limit.

Re:This and more (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 months ago | (#47392207)

Funny I think the same thing about people with cars and guns. Yet somehow as a species we're content with the massive injury and death rate from those activities but a petrified from the highly remote chance that we may get killed by a terrorist, attacked by a shark, or hit by a falling drone.

Re:This and more (0)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 months ago | (#47392317)

Do you think gun injuries are massive? By that definition, people being struck by lightning and winning lotteries are absolutely out of control and in epidemic rates.

Lumping car related injuries and fatalities in with guns is a wonderful way to create your hyperbole argument, but I would invite you to visit a shooting range some time. I think so far, without fail, once people actually use guns, they get a better impression of them and simply gain a better perspective on things.

We live in a dangerous world. No doubt about it. And we cannot make it un-dangerous no matter how we try. If we rid ourselves of all technology and live as animals live, we would STILL have dangers. It's time we stop denying that technology serves us, but in much the same way that "time-saving kitchen gadgets" don't really save [much] time, other tech has its costs as well.

And seriously, the right to enjoy the fun of shooting as well as the fighting chance to defend one's self? It's written into law. Why do we have to keep having the discussion? My advice to you and all gun-fearing people out there? Get a gun. You're a good person. Learn to use it well and wisely. Your fears will decline and we'll all be safer for it.

Re:This and more (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 months ago | (#47392335)

Ahhh you must be one of those, "He mentioned guns so he must thing it should all be illegal, I better rebuff" types.

No, couldn't be further from the truth, you misunderstood what I was trying to say. I was saying that compared to getting killed by falling drones the above list is far more dangerous to the general health of people, and THEY ARE ALL LEGAL.

So everyone needs to take a deep breath, get some perspective and realise that getting killed by a flying drone is about likely as a terrorist attack. You should worry more about driving to a ski slope than dying on it.

Re:This and more (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 2 months ago | (#47392347)

Get your cars and your guns of my ski-slope ; ).

Re:This and more (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#47393591)

Get your cars and your guns of my ski-slope ; ).

You just made me think of an interesting new Olympic sport: The Drive-By Biathlon Jump. It will have both street-legal and monster-truck versions for both urban and rural American enjoyment.

Wild West Yahoos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392391)

With Yahoos like this running around? [nola.com] Sometimes, the best thing is to NOT have a gun.

Home protection? Maybe. Although, it's hard to get to a gun when it's locked up and unloaded while the "bad" guy is kicking down your door.

I prefer baseball bats and mace.

Bullets go through walls and kill innocents - even a .22 long will go through a plaster board wall if you're not lucky enough to hit a stud.

And some people with their 9mms, .223s or even 7.62mm for home protection?! WTF are they thinking?! I guess they want to take out whoever is in the house from another room?! Sight unseen - spraying bullets?!

I'm a gun FAN; not a gun NUT - I respect when and where they are appropriate for use.

And I also know when to not LOOK for or WANT trouble.

Re:Wild West Yahoos (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47392979)

Gun control is using two hands. If you hit the target with your 9mm, neither the bullet nor the target are going anywhere.

Though we both agree that a .223 is pretty useless. Overkill for short range defense against humans, woefully underpowered for Zombie attacks. It's really the 12 gauge shotgun that is your friend - safe, accurate (well, you don't need to be really accurate), effective.

Re:Wild West Yahoos (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 2 months ago | (#47393063)

A 12 guage is also a useful 'remote control' for drones. You don't even need radio contact.

Re:Wild West Yahoos (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47397209)

If the 5.56 is so useless for self-defense, why are many federal agencies buying them for use as defensive weapons for their officers? Personally, I think 9mm or .40 carbines would be better but opinions differ.

Re:This and more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392403)

Do you think gun injuries are massive? By that definition, people being struck by lightning and winning lotteries are absolutely out of control and in epidemic rates.

Lumping car related injuries and fatalities in with guns is a wonderful way to create your hyperbole argument

Calm down, calm down, no hordes of Obama's magic negro communistical armies are going to come and confistcate your precious.

Can't even mention guns these days, without one of you kooks chiming in, upset and pissed, that the leebuuruls are tryin to take Mah guns!

Well okay, let's just expand this a little so all the kooks can play at once

I heard that guns cause Global warming, so do drones.

Is it true that you have to believe in creationism in order to be in the NRA, and I understand that there is Biblical prophecy regarding that.

Gay marriage!, and the anti gay service bill from Arizona

Now we can get all the looks to chime in with their favorite kiookieness

Re: This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392989)

So you believe people being killed by guns is a rare event?

Re: This and more (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47397217)

More rare than by cars. As for actual children being killed... more rare than swimming pools.

Re: This and more (1)

rvw (755107) | about 2 months ago | (#47397993)

More rare than by cars. As for actual children being killed... more rare than swimming pools.

Nuclear bombs kill even less kids!

Re: This and more (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47404791)

Oh that's rational debate right there, that is.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392341)

Funny I think the same thing about people with cars and guns. Yet somehow as a species we're content with the massive injury and death rate from those activities but a petrified from the highly remote chance that we may get killed by a terrorist, attacked by a shark, or hit by a falling drone.

Yes, but cars and tobacco have been grandfathered...

Re:This and more (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 months ago | (#47392285)

I think you will find that the permission of the site location's management will likely be required as well to run this equipment as it becomes more common. I find the tech to be "cool" until you realize that it's all rather noisy. So it becomes not only a danger issue (and it's not like there isn't already danger associated with skiiing or any of the other activities likely to be focus of these drones) but one which is a nuissance to others.

This all speaks of the problems of enjoying and living in the moment and of that moment being missed due to "recording the moment." The moments are tainted by the added equipment. If it's not a person who lives the tainted moments behind a lens or LCD panel, then it's the moment being tainted by loud noises generated by the machinery to automate the process.

Adding a "leash" to the devices is interesting but I cannot imagine these devices responding fast enough that they won't get tugged like a child's helium balloon at every turn.

I suppose if they could get rid of the noise problem, I would find the tech more interesting.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392371)

I really don't want (amateur) pilots flying swarms of anything over my head at the beach/ski-slope/swimming pool. And tethering the drones to the pilots will mitigate what exactly?

Why does everyone keep assuming that when a $1000+ tethered iDrone toy hits the market people will be buying them up in droves and we'll suddenly have "swarms" of them flying around? Let's just calm down for a bit here over this crap. The price tag alone will keep the majority at bay initially.

And you're concerned about mitigating away the dangers of a small R/C aircraft falling on your head while on the beach/ski-slope/swimming pool? Yes, because of course that double-black run has never caused anyone injury, and no one has ever lost their life to big-wave surfing. Yeah, make sure you look out for the drone...obviously that seems to suddenly be the most dangerous thing going on around you.

And if two idiots flying $1000 tethered toys around can't manage to use enough common sense to stay away from each other enough to avoid a crash, well I look forward to the Darwin Award footage. I'd also tell them to go fly a kite. And mean it.

Re: This and more (2)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 2 months ago | (#47392413)

Because for some reason people think I am interested in watching hours of videos of them going down a slope, riding a horse or pretending they are in Tour de France.
And they don't even bother to edit it down to a couple of minutes.
No, they have hours of footage showing off their below average skills.
I do like seeing bits of vacation videos but not really when it's just video selfies.

Re: This and more (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 months ago | (#47393003)

I see you've not been over to YouTube recently.

Re: This and more (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 2 months ago | (#47395285)

:)

Re:This and more (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47397225)

Because many people think that 2 events is an epidemic.

Re:This and more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392571)

I really don't want (amateur) pilots flying swarms of anything over my head at the beach/ski-slope/swimming pool. And tethering the drones to the pilots will mitigate what exactly?

I really don't want (amateur) commentators using red herrings and hyperbole to insert themselves into an argument without understanding the underlying hobbies they're discussing.

Re:Isn't this MORE dangerous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392233)

When the tethers cross you just land the things and untangle. Why would that be dangerous? Oh, right, because you're racing down a ski slope and have no real control over the drone.

"follow-me drones crowding the ski slopes" is going to cause accidents no matter how you do it.

Betteridge's law of headlines. (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 2 months ago | (#47392267)

No.

Re:Isn't this MORE dangerous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392325)

Sorry, but the logic here escapes me. Aren't the danger of crossed-tethers exponentially greater than the danger of colliding drones?

You're worried about colliding drones when the look-at-me generation is using them for Jackass: The Next Generation tryouts.

Somehow a camera on a string seems to be fairly low on the danger scale compared to the insanely stupid shit planned in front of the camera.

But hey, look at the bright side. At this rate, the Darwin Award Show will be on pay-per-view by next month.

Re:Isn't this MORE dangerous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392685)

Not if you tie them around the neck. In a very short while you'll get rid of all idiots following this trend.

Captcha: malice

Re:Isn't this MORE dangerous? (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47393137)

Yes it might increase the risk but it may meet the law. But once the legal waltz begins who will argue that an electronic tether is less real than a piece of string? As usual the real issue is progress and not the argument put forward. The flack about drones has nothing at all to do with drones. People want to be able to get away with things. Whether it is adultery or robbing a gas station most people fear the truth in their lives. Taking real responsibility for our thoughts and deeds is not on the table for debate. It should be.

Re:Isn't this MORE dangerous? (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 2 months ago | (#47397411)

Sorry, but the logic here escapes me. Aren't the danger of crossed-tethers exponentially greater than the danger of colliding drones?

Not only that, but it is also a very expensive balloon on a string.

Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (1)

oursland (1898514) | about 2 months ago | (#47392121)

Each public flight should be insured with the insurance agency knowing the risks of each flight. Tethers do nothing but add an additional liability as they add weight, may get caught up in trees or power lines, and will potentially cause damage in the case of a vehicle crash.

Re:Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392345)

Each public flight should be insured with the insurance agency knowing the risks of each flight. Tethers do nothing but add an additional liability as they add weight, may get caught up in trees or power lines, and will potentially cause damage in the case of a vehicle crash.

Gee, for a minute there I thought I was reading a safety pamphlet from the 1950s talking about flying kites.

Yes, if you really think about it, we've done quite a bit in our history with objects on strings, and yet a 20' string tied to helium balloons by the dozen doesn't require a pilots permit, and flying a kite doesn't require a license.

And naturally, the first question born from this insanity is why the hell aren't we forced to buy kite and balloon insurance these days...I'm rather shocked the greedy bastards let that one fly....literally.

Re:Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392387)

Insurance companies sure are a greedy lot, aren't they. My car is valued less and less every year yet somehow my insurance premium keeps going up. WTF?

Re: Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393011)

Because it's potential to cause damage is not connect to it age or value.

Re:Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393355)

because getting in a slow speed crash destroys backup cameras, $1000 light assembly and $100 of plastic in a bumper that requires $3000 to replace.

Re:Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 2 months ago | (#47395127)

Perhaps your car is valued less each year due to its decreasing reliability. Perhaps your premiums go up each year due to your car's decreasing reliability.

Re:Tethers don't matter, insurance does! (1)

oursland (1898514) | about 2 months ago | (#47394833)

Yes, if you really think about it, we've done quite a bit in our history with objects on strings, and yet a 20' string tied to helium balloons by the dozen doesn't require a pilots permit, and flying a kite doesn't require a license.

You don't have a clue what people are doing with these things, do you? Flying a unmanned aerial vehicle is nothing like tying a helium balloon to a string.

And naturally, the first question born from this insanity is why the hell aren't we forced to buy kite and balloon insurance these days...I'm rather shocked the greedy bastards let that one fly....literally.

You're not required to buy insurance for a lot of things, but you'll be personally liable for all damages without it. In the case of transportation, the risk of damage and injury is so great that the government has opted to mandate all vehicle operators be insured.

Artificial Kid (1)

oheso (898435) | about 2 months ago | (#47392125)

... call your office.

slap drones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392147)

Good, now slap drones are a reality. I wouldn't mind having a slap drone following me around, despite the social stigma, because nobody ever talks to me anyway. But do these things have any conversational skills? I'm guessing no.

No, antigravity is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392169)

.No, antigravity is.

Re:No, antigravity is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392217)

Congrats, you've volunteered to invent antigravity. Get to work!

No good solution for drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392173)

I don't think drones will ever be capable of doing anything well but causing chaos in the sky's. The shear numbers would certainly not be controllable in any safe way. Just look at the complex safety net we have for airplanes. When you look at what a company like Amazon wants to do with drones and then you multiply that by every other retailer who then decides to do the same thing. Then add in typical uses, like law enforcement, news reporting, and other uses for drones which I am sure would be many. You are talking about far exceeding any ability to control drone traffic especially in large cities. I don't envy the FAA having to try and decide what to do about drones over American sky's. Especially when you consider, the local air traffic, is already crowded in lower elevations from small aircraft, helicopters, and other craft. If I was Amazon I would not hold my breath that the FAA will allow them to release thousands of drones over America any time soon.

Re:No good solution for drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392281)

An aircraft flying below 400 feet is a hazard even to itself.

A small drone flying below 400 feet is a hazard only to lifeforms below 400 feet. And if the drone has reasonable safety features (such as shielded/ducted propellers) then it shouldn't be a problem as long as linear speeds below about 50 miles/hour (yes, there should be a mass value included, higher mass, lower speed).

I also think "tethers" could work as long as they are virtual, not physical. Physical tethers will always get tangled - if nothing else, tangled with other objects on the ground, in the air, the object they are connected to, or even other tethers.

Re:No good solution for drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392435)

A small drone flying below 400 feet is a hazard only to lifeforms below 400 feet. And if the drone has reasonable safety features (such as shielded/ducted propellers) then it shouldn't be a problem as long as linear speeds below about 50 miles/hour (yes, there should be a mass value included, higher mass, lower speed).

Ah, I see you've totally ignored the risk of drone injestion to the turbines of aircraft taking off and landing at airports. And before you say, "what idiot would be flying a drone around an airport?" let me remind you of incidents like this one [dailymail.co.uk] and this one [cnn.com] . These are the same kind of idiots attempting to dazzle aircraft with laser pointers, even police [dailymail.co.uk] helicopters [couriermail.com.au] .

Re:No good solution for drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392463)

No - I didn't ignore that as it is already covered by "restricted/controlled air space".

And that includes a LOT of areas.

You have the same issues with people flying kites, and that is also covered.

Re:No good solution for drones (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 2 months ago | (#47397259)

Ah yes, the old "some people will misuse it so lets ban it for all" argument. Why are you not also clamoring for severe restrictions on the purchase of computers, cameras of all kinds but especially any device capable of video recording, cars and boats? Every one of those has been used irresponsibly and illegally in the past and will be in the future.

Ever been fishing? (1)

The Real Dr John (716876) | about 2 months ago | (#47392263)

I'm sure the tether lines of multiple drones would never get crossed and cause any problems. Right?

Answer (1)

Spliffster (755587) | about 2 months ago | (#47392307)

simply no.

Re:Answer (1)

psnyder (1326089) | about 2 months ago | (#47392333)

Betteridge's law of headlines [wikipedia.org] fits perfectly:

This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word "no". The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it.

Not sidestepping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392379)

It's not side-stepping FAA regulations because kites are not regulated by the FAA in the first place.

Re:Not sidestepping (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 2 months ago | (#47392981)

Yes it is side stepping, because the second you unsnap that tether, the 'kite' becomes a 'drone' (Despite how much i despise that term being used for hobbyist RC craft). which, as of late, is subject to a slew of FAA regulations. Also, I suspect if you flew a kite high enough in the right place, (like in the approach path of an airport) the FAA would come down on you like a sack of bricks.

Re:Not sidestepping (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | about 2 months ago | (#47394791)

The FAA doesn't use the term "drone" for anything. This thing, tethered or not, is a model aircraft. As long as it is used for hobby purposes within the guidelines for model aircraft, the FAA doesn't care. What the FAA does not allow is any unlicensed aircraft (which includes models, balloons, kites, gliders, rockets and probably tennis balls), tethered or not, to be used directly or indirectly for commercial purposes.

Re:Not sidestepping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47395303)

balloons and tennis balls are not aircraft, nor are skydivers; lighter than air aircraft specifically have some guidance ability (only up and down).

Re:Not sidestepping (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 months ago | (#47398055)

What the FAA does not allow is any unlicensed aircraft (which includes models, balloons, kites, gliders, rockets and probably tennis balls), tethered or not, to be used directly or indirectly for commercial purposes.

So, does this mean professional tennis tournaments are forbidden in the US? So, how are these guys [usopen.org] able to skirt the FAA regulations?

Re: Not sidestepping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393043)

It's only purpose is to side step FAA regulations by declaring it a kite. Kites need a string to work. This does not need a string to work. It would work better without one.
It is loophole technology.

Artificial problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392445)

Jesus christ, what a terrible solution to it.

Either way uou can find pilots tethered or not at (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392467)

Air-vid.com aerial pilot finder.

Legal issues not Safety issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47392555)

Anyone who is not a mentally incapable baboon can see this is far more dangerous, it's not about safety at all, it's just about finding a loophole in the regulation.

Article has nothing to do with safety (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 2 months ago | (#47393203)

Perhaps I missed something, but the linked article (and also the Fotokite product/site) has absolutely nothing to do with safety. It talks about privacy/transparency.

A tether to a person on the ground only makes the devices even more unsafe, as they now get tangled with each other and other environmental hazards. Perhaps it would limit its range (which is not mentioned in the article), but a heavy device falling is a heavy device falling.

One thing that would increase drone safety would be an automatic parachute so when they do collide or lose power or go ape crazy, it can more softly return to earth.

SHI&T. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393489)

If *BSD is to buReaucratic And a BSD over other superior to slow,

Control line! well, not really. (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | about 2 months ago | (#47393635)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Control line aircraft are, according to some, (and citations of the supposed FAA response are never available) "motorized kites." Therefore having a permanent tether to the aircraft makes this model no longer subject to the same rules as a untethered aircraft (in theory). I am not sure if these are really parallel arguments though.

If use of a tether allows commercial operation of "camera drones" to resume then it is probably a good thing. Responsible operators taking reasonable precautions and safely operating their equipment allow for some useful services. There should be oversight for these operations though, but the industry should be encouraged not banned.

I do not want some yahoo with a model to crash and then think they have no responsibility to the resulting property damage though...

Is it really that hard to add collision detection? (1)

wealthychef (584778) | about 2 months ago | (#47393749)

I think that as self-driving car technology improves, the collision detection technology will find its way into drones. This is not much of a safety issue. More of an annoyance. Welcome to the new world, just get used to shit whizzing through the air and doing stuff.

Uncouth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393851)

Given how inconsiderate people are when it comes to technology I entirely expect the first users to walk into fancy restaurants and fly them around inside and raise hell when they're asked to leave because 'there's no rule against it huehuehue.' It's like people at the park flying their RC helicopters at people because 'it's just a toy!' Yeah a toy that will fuck up your eyes with even the shitty cheap plastic models.

tethersfordrones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47393975)

Drone + tether = kite

Tethers + Power Lines = Bad Juju (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47394059)

Densely populated urban areas like New Your City have a plethora of exposed and uninsulated power line strung all over. Persons holding onto their drown tether, like a Drone Leash of sorts, will be executed as the tether encounters a power line.

Drone tether is NOT a good solution, unless you are Obama and desperate to implement the IPCC's "Kill Whitey and Kill CO2" program.

Some idea (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 2 months ago | (#47397747)

Well, I RTFA and it's bullshit. I was hoping for a way to have a drone follow you automatically by following the tension of the tether, like a kite, but that's not the case here. What I'd like to find is a way to hook up the drone/kite to me while mountain biking / extreme skiing and have it film from above while not having to control it. Does such a thing exist ?

What a tangled mess! (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 months ago | (#47398041)

(At the risk of being modded redundant...)

Just imagine these on a crowded ski slope, when every other ski runner has these. Not only will they tangle with each other, but also with the overhead ropes of ski lifts.

And if your particularly unlucky one stretch of tether might get tangled behind a rock while another stretch of the same tether gets tangled around a fellow skiers neck. No, I don't want these on any slope where I am skying. Even if the FAA don't have jurisdiction, hopefully the resorts will forbid them.

tether can be the power supply. but already there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427079)

http://vimeo.com/69445277

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