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 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.

Embry-Riddle Consumer Guide to sUAS for Novices

2016-06-17
Embry-Riddle Consumer Guide to sUAS for Novices
A research team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus has created the first-ever comprehensive consumer guide to small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) for novice users–those individuals interested in purchasing their first small remote controlled or autonomous multi-rotor flying aircraft.

DroneDeploy Users Map 3,000,000 Acres

2016-06-09
DroneDeploy Users Map 3,000,000 Acres
At the Drones Data X Conference in San Francisco, Mike Winn, co-founder and CEO of DroneDeploy, announced in his keynote that our users had achieved a new industry milestone: 3,000,000 drone mapped acres across 120 countries.

Companies Team for UAS Inspection of Wind Turbines

2016-06-01
Companies Team for UAS Inspection of Wind Turbines
Two companies involved in aerial wind inspection services, HUVRdata, based in Austin, TX and EdgeData based in Grand Forks, ND, announced a collaboration to deliver a suite of wind industry data intelligence tools and credential processes to optimize the use of this technology within the wind industry.

DARPA Demo Day at the Pentagon

2016-05-15
DARPA Demo Day at the Pentagon
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency yesterday hosted DARPA Demo Day 2016 at the Pentagon, giving the Defense Department community an up-close look at the agency’s portfolio of innovative technologies and military systems.

FAA Enables Section 333 UAS Registration Online

2016-04-25
FAA Enables Section 333 UAS Registration Online
What’s not to like about an automated government system thats faster, simpler and more user-friendly than the paper-based system it supplements?

Europe Wants UAS for Migrant Route Surveillance

2016-04-19
Europe Wants UAS for Migrant Route Surveillance
EU border patrol agency Frontex announced Friday that it is in talks with industry for using remotely piloted aircraft for maritime surveillance, adding drones to its existing portfolio of satellite and sensor technologies for monitoring vessel traffic and migrant flows.

AUVSI Study of FAA Exemptions Published

2016-04-17
AUVSI Study of FAA Exemptions Published
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has released an interactive analysis that finds 38 types of business operations have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly unmanned aircraft systems commercially in the National Airspace System (NAS). According to the report that analyzed more than 3,000 FAA exemptions, aerial photography received the most, followed by real estate and aerial inspection. The report also finds that exemptions have been approved in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Senate Bill Calls for Certification of Unmanned Aircraft

2016-03-26
Senate Bill Calls for Certification of Unmanned Aircraft
The Senate’s version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016 has finally made it out of committee, and it contains 65 pages of requirements for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Some of these provisions go to the heart of the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) philosophy for dealing with unmanned aircraft. If enacted, the legislation could have a profound impact on the development of this industry.

Antimatter Space Propulsion Possible within a Decade

2016-03-15
Antimatter Space Propulsion Possible within a Decade
Dreams of antimatter space propulsion are closer to reality than most rocket scientists could ever imagine, says former Fermilab physicist Gerald Jackson. In fact, if money were no object, he says an antimatter-driven spacecraft prototype could be tested within a decade. To that end, next month, Jackson and his Chicago-based Hbar Technologies firm are launching a $200,000 Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the next phase of its antimatter propulsion research.


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