At UAV not Drone we like to feature organizations that are using unmanned aerial vehicles for the greater good and we have found a very interesting social network that is committed to serving humanitarian purposes, http://UAViators.org. They are self-described as “A global network of civilian/hobbyist UAV pilots who safely and responsibly fly UAVs to support peaceful, humanitarian efforts and their mission is as follows:
Our Mission is to bridge humanitarian and UAV communities internationally. We do this by supporting a global volunteer network of professional, civilian and responsible hobbyist UAV pilots who facilitate information sharing, coordination and operational safety in support of a broad range of humanitarian efforts.
In this episode of the UAV not Drone podcast, I talk about the new set of proposed regulations by the FAA for commercial UAV use in the United States. I interview Brant Hadaway, a practicing attorney that specializes in UAS laws and regulation to discuss the FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for small unmanned aerial systems.
After the leak of the document that would propose legislation for unmanned aerial vehicles on Saturday, February 14 2015, the FAA held a press conference the following day, on a Sunday, before a federal holiday, to unveil their 195 page proposal for regulating commercial UAVs (click here to view the full 195-page PDF document) or here to view a 2-page summary.
Presenting the NoFlyzone, a community driven database of properties that will prevent “drones” from flying over your house. Actually, its just a site where you can submit your property without residence verification and somehow in the future, UAV manufacturers will use this data to prevent their craft from flying over your property. Just like DJI is doing for the White House. Oh, nevermind.
In Episode 02 of the UAVnotDrone podcast, host Julian Melo summarizes the incident where a drone landed at the White House lawn on January 26 2015 at 3 in the morning and the series of events that happened after.
One of the most talked about events of in the realm of UAVs in the recent months was the “Drone lands on the White House lawn” incident, which occured on Janurary 26, 2015. First, lets describe the events and the way the media reported on it.
The president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, Bob Brown, wrote a special note regarding President Obama’s reaction to the “Drone on the White House lawn” incident, where a call for more regulation is made.
AMA believes that a much better approach to managing the community is through education, not regulation. AMA has always believed that the best, and perhaps the only, way to successfully manage the recreational community is through a community-based set of safety guidelines and the combined efforts of the FAA and AMA.
I completely agree with this sentiment: regulation is not the key to keeping UAVs from restricted areas, especially because there Washington D.C. is already a no-fly zone. It was not a lack of regulation that enabled this incident to occur, it was a lack of education.
If the solution was to simply ban the technology, or even just disallow it under AMA programming, it’s unlikely that it would have any significant impact. If the goal is to thwart a nefarious attempt by someone using this technology, no rule or regulation will prevent that. The point is that it’s not the technology, it’s how the technology is used.
Check out the complete note. Its a worthwhile read.
Wired magazine just published a very interesting article titled “Why the US Government Is Terrified of Hobbyist Drones” where they discuss an eye-opening conference about the potential malicious uses of “drones” that happened just days before the “Drone at the White House” incident.
The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.)
This is a subject that many UAV enthusiats, including myself, would rather ignore, but we are very aware of the potential harm that off-the-shelf “drones” could inflict. I imagine we all have theorized how an individual with malicious intent could set out to harm and destroy people and property. They also had on display a DJI Phantom with 3 sticks of mock dynamite attached to it, as seen below:
But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.
They also discussed the new geofencing-enforcing firmware that will get pushed out to the DJI Phantom 2, how its basically ineffective and user reactions:
“One could theorize that every zone anywhere could be a restricted zone,” wrote another. “Thank you but no thank you. If I spend thousands of dollars then I want to fly wherever the heck I want as long as it is under 400ft and 500ft away from airports.”
Check out the full article below and let me know what you think.
I came across a new organization designed to protect, integrate and explore the commercial use of UAVs (their term is sUAS, or small unmanned aircraft system). Its called the Association of Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems and their website is located at: http://www.acuas.org/. Anyone is free to join and they also accept donations. Their mission statement, as state on their home page is the following:
The ACUAS firmly believes:
THE UNITED STATES DESERVES TO BENEFIT FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY
and businesses and citizens deserve the opportunity to move forward along with the rest of the world.
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO OPERATE SUAS FOR OUR BUSINESSES
and until proven necessary, our government has no basis for restricting commercial operations.
WE MUST INTEGRATE COMMERCIAL SUAS NOW
to include everyone who wishes to use and benefit from safe and responsible sUAS operations, without delay and without restrictive barriers-to-entry.
I encourage you to visit their website and join the organization, donate if possible. It these types of organizations and the people behind them that will help UAVs flourish.
In case you were under a rock last week, a DJI Phantom landed on the White House lawn after a drunk government employee decided to fly this roommate’s “drone” and it flew away. Here’s Jon Stewart’s political commentary on the subject. After all, Obama loves drones, why shouldn’t one land on his lawn?