Lethal drones are the industry's latest headache

2015-09-21

Lethal drones are the industry's latest headache
Earlier this summer, a Connecticut man rigged a handgun to the top of an unmanned aircraft, posting a video of the device hovering in the woods and firing shots. The spectacle raised more concern about how consumers or law enforcement could wreak havoc with drones, a fast-growing technology with immense potential.

The leading drone industry group, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and some law enforcement groups have spoken out against equipping the unmanned devices with weapons. But as those stakeholders cannot make laws, individuals and police can make a case for arming drones in most of the United States.

The prospect of police shooting rubber bullets or spraying tear gas from a drone is slim in the immediate future. But as more UAVs take flight in the U.S., some lawmakers are pushing for clearer restrictions on arming them, in order to reduce fears of users abusing the legal uncertainty.

Drones could add $82 billion and 100,000 jobs to the U.S. economy by 2025, according to industry group Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Despite the imminent spread of the aircraft, lawmakers have been slow to address concerns about using them violently.

"It's something that could be easily abused in the wrong hands. But technologically, we're not quite there yet," said David Swindell, director of the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University and a drone policy expert.
The FAA—which has primary regulatory authority over dronessays pilots cannot "allow any object to be dropped from an aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to person or property." However, the agency does not ban it if "reasonable precautions" are taken to avoid injuries or property damage.

At least five U.S. statesVirginia, Wisconsin, Oregon, Nevada and North Dakotahave passed laws barring police from arming drones in some capacity. While lawmakers in North Dakota banned law enforcement from using lethal weapons earlier this year, they scratched "non-lethal" weapons from the final law, leaving the door open for equipment like Tasers and rubber bullets, which can still cause serious harm.

While that state's law has created a stir in recent weeks, theoretically policeor anyonecould make a case that adding "non-lethal" weapons to drones is legal anywhere it hasn't been explicitly forbidden.




FAA Small Drone Rule Lets Unmanned Aircraft Soar

2017-09-11
FAA Small Drone Rule Lets Unmanned Aircraft Soar
A host of new users is changing the world of commercial aviation thanks in large part to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) small unmanned aircraft rule, Part 107 (PDF), which has now been in place for a year.

US Naval Research Lab Tests Stackable CICADA Microdrones Swarm

2017-08-22
US Naval Research Lab Tests Stackable CICADA Microdrones Swarm
The U.S. Naval Research Lab has been working on its CICADA (Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft) drones since at least 2011. The tiny drones are designed to be carried aloft by other aircraft and dropped, whereupon they’ll use GPS and little fins to glide to within 15 feet of their destination.

The Drone World Expo 2017 Interviews  Hector Ubiñas

2017-08-22
The Drone World Expo 2017 Interviews Hector Ubiñas
In the third of a series of interviews with key figures involved in the success of Drone World Expo, we talked to for Hector Ubiñas, Aviation Services Manager, San Diego Gas and Electric. Hector joined SDG&E in September 2016 and has been overseeing the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) program since starting with the company. In this role, Hector is responsible for the daily operations of the UAS program and continuing to develop new work methods for its application in the utility industry.

Swarms of Drones Test New Dogfighting Skills

2017-04-25
Swarms of Drones Test New Dogfighting Skills
Aerial dogfighting began more than a century ago in the skies over Europe with propeller-driven fighter aircraft carried aloft on wings of fabric and wood. An event held recently in southern California could mark the beginning of a new chapter in this form of aerial combat.

13 Takeaways from The White House Workshop

2016-08-08
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The White House launched a new effort Tuesday to help increase the use of drones and showcased how government agencies have become a proving ground for a wide array of new drone concepts and technologies.

New Report: Drones in Public Safety and First Responder Operations

2016-07-24
New Report: Drones in Public Safety and First Responder Operations
It may not seem like it, but drones are still in their infancy and only proving themselves through the rigorous testing done privately, commercially, and by state and federal government agencies. Despite the tangible benefits that drones can provide, the public has mixed sentiments about their use by law enforcement, firefighting, and search & rescue operations.

Drone World Expo  Exclusive Interviews  Mark Bathrick

2016-07-14
Drone World Expo Exclusive Interviews Mark Bathrick
We wanted to find out more about the team behind Drone World Expo – what makes them tick, what motivates them and what are the secrets behind the success of the event. We interviewed Advisory Board member Mark L. Bathrick who directs a nationwide aviation services business for the U.S Department of the Interior (DOI) overseeing the safe operation of over 1,200 contracted and government-owned manned and unmanned aircraft across a wide range of business applications.

Rwanda Readies Life-Saving Drone Delivery System

2016-07-03
Rwanda Readies Life-Saving Drone Delivery System
This summer, small autonomous airplanes will begin carrying life-saving blood to 20 hospitals and healthcare centers across Western Rwanda, Africa, in one of the first-of-its-kind drone-based delivery demonstrations.

Tree-Planting Drones

2016-06-28
Tree-Planting Drones
Beaverton, Oregon-based drone startup DroneSeed created a drone with a device that fires seeds into the ground using compressed air in an effort to reforest the Pacific Northwest, and eventually forests around the world.

FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

2016-06-21
FAA Finalizes Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Today, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has finalized the firstoperational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones”), opening pathways towards fully integrating UAS into the nations airspace. These new regulations work to harness new innovations safely, to spur job growth, advance critical scientific research and save lives.


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