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 One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.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.