Awesome Stuff: Drones! Illegal Drone Uses! And Drone Haters!

from the drones! dept

Given that we wrote this week about the FAA saying that basically any use of a drone for money is illegal, we figured that for this week’s awesome stuff we’d focus on some projects around drones — some of which may actually be illegal under the FAA’s ridiculous interpretation.

  • HEXO: Autonomous Aerial Camera
    First up, we’ve got the HEXO, an autonomous aerial camera. It’s a drone that you can attach a GoPro to (some packages include the GoPro) with some software that you can use to let the drone know who/what to follow, and the drone will do exactly that. It’s designed very much with aerial imagery of sporting events in mind. The examples in the video above are… amazing. Makes me want to do more sporting activities that I’d want to film just to use this kind of thing.
  • Airdog: Auto-follow Drone for GoPro
    Okay, this one is very similar to the HEXO above — a drone system for automatically filming action sports from above with a GoPro. In fact, in some areas the similarities are striking. They’re both built by companies based in Palo Alto, California. They both launched on Kickstarter on the same day, and they’re both built by companies made up of action sports folks who wanted to have better systems to film themselves. It looks like the AirDog is a little different in that, rather than autonomously following you via the software, the AirDog requires a “leash” that you strap to your wrist, so it knows where to film. The AirDog also looks a little bit more expensive, and, frankly the sample shots in the video aren’t nearly as impressive as those in the HEXO video, though that may have more to do with filmmaking technique than the devices in question. Either way, two options for very similar offerings — and using either of them for commercial uses will piss off the FAA.
  • View from Nova Scotia — an aerial drone film
    A filmmaker wants to make a film about Nova Scotia, filmed entirely by drones. The project is just about over and has almost no backing, so it’s not going to get funded. Also, it’s in Canada, so the FAA rules don’t directly apply to it, but if this were in the US, the project itself would almost certainly go against the FAA rules, for being a “commercial” offering using drones. That seems fairly ridiculous for a variety of reasons.
  • Personal Drone Detection System
    Okay, finally a project that the FAA might like. Consider this as the anti-drone project if you, like the FAA, look at the above stories and freak out. Some folks who don’t like drones have built some “drone detection systems” to let you spot drones flying around you. Honestly, given the quality of the video and the prototypes shown, this seems like a fairly amateurish project. The system also doesn’t really do anything other than alert you if a drone is entering the “grid” that you set up. Seems like a perfect solution for people overly sensitive to drones. Perhaps the FAA will order a few dozen.

That’s it for this week. Have fun and try not to piss off the FAA this weekend.

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Drones! Illegal Drone Uses! And Drone Haters!”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I found the new riot control drones designed to break up groups of protestors pretty interesting.

‘The Skunk boasts eight electric motors with 16-inch propellers, lifting 45kg and carrying 4,000 pepper-spray paintballs, plastic balls or other “non-lethal” ammunition. The device is equipped with four barrels firing up to 20 balls per second each, which could equate to 80 pepper balls per second “stopping any crowd in its tracks”.’

‘The Skunk is also fitted with bright strobe lights, “blinding lasers” and on-board speakers to enable communication and warnings to the crowd. It has a thermal camera and high-definition video camera with on-board recording.’

It’s not technically a commercial drone being used to “make money”, so I see no reason the FAA would declare them illegal. Especially if law enforcement applied for them citing safety and security concerns. Skunk will probably be pilot tested in prisons first, then gradually rolled out for use on the general public.

Christenson says:

ALL drones are illegal, per the FAA....

Since they aren’t operated by the government, and, if you operate one, your obvious purpose is professional advancement, that is to make money by getting a better job from your improved skills.

Obviously, the FAA has a bridge for sale…in Brooklyn! (as well as a future-proof bomb shelter somewhere)

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

it is a frickin’ automated flying Cuisinart that follows you around with 6 unguarded, high powered, flesh tearing blades. Pass.

I trust you’ve never actually seen one of these things? Because that description is not even close to accurate. You notice how all of the propellers are very thin light plastic?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

So I was wondering who of you two was correct, did a short search and found this post: (contains blood but not that bad)

Those are 6 pictures of quad/hexa injuries. Granted they still have all fingers but if I ever buy one of those drones I’ll make sure the rotors stop on contact.
Oh and do yourself a favor and don’t click the link to the french website. Those are injuries caused by bigger RC stuff. The guy isn’t exaggerating.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

I agree that safety is something that could be considered with these things because the safety of others can be affected. Hopefully the FAA could pass meaningful regulations that ensure safety without restricting our freedoms too much or requiring that these things are very expensive.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

I think where things get kinda messy are things like if a drone hurts someone to what extent do we blame the operator of the drone vs the manufacturer. Do drones need to meet certain criteria to be allowed to fly?

If we start getting into a system where the FAA needs to pre-approve every drone then the whole approval process could turn into the mess that we have with the FDA. Politics will get into the mix, companies will seek to have patents on approved criteria so that they can be exclusive sellers, there will be all sorts of back door dealings going on, and these things will be unreasonably expensive for no good reason with very little innovation (and this is more justifiable with drones because they affect the safety of others. When it comes to the FDA the justification is far less because what I choose to take is often my own decision and my own business and has no impact on others). Then again if we set objective standards that must be met there should be some process to ensure that manufacturers are meeting those standards. Meeting them could absolve a company from liability. One problem with that is new and improved, safer, standards may need to go through another bureaucratic process to get approved leaving drones less safe than future advancements could allow them to be.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

Rather than expending massive amounts of money and hot air on the subject of liability, it might be prudent to install some sort of protective mesh over the blades. This minor modification could be inexpensive in terms of money and weight. But, I’m sure there will be much whining over the imposition of such regulations. The FAA will probably claim the industry is self regulating and the collateral damage to be acceptable. However, insurance companies will probably require drone operators to only use units that have protective mesh propeller covers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 A flying Cuisinart that follows me where ever I try to run?

I was thinking a protective mesh would definitely reduce the damage done. But even then what if the thing ran out of gas, malfunctioned (due to weather conditions. Rain, strong or abrupt winds, etc..), and decided to just fall and hit someone at high speeds. It could still hurt and cause damage.

Tony Lee (user link) says:

Don’t forget to add the collapsible pocket quadcopter Air Droid that funded for almost $1M dollars on kickstarter!

Quadcopters with cameras are definitely a hot topic as well. Just a couple weeks ago the news featured some guy who was harassed by a woman on the beach just because she thought he was invading public privacy… Yeesh…

Spointman (profile) says:

Declared illegal after the fact?

Say I use one of these drones to film myself on a daily jog in the park. Maybe I share the video with my friends, maybe I just keep it on my PC to review my performance. This is arguably legal under FAA rules. Some time later, I sell the video to a stock footage company. Pray tell how that makes my previously legal act suddenly illegal? How is the operation of the drone any different if I get paid after the fact of filming?

art guerrilla (profile) says:

just the flag carriers before the interstates...

these drones (own a micro-quad w/cam myself) will become a very useful tool for civilian use…
(of COURSE -like much technology- the military/etc will take advantage to work their bit of evil with the other edge of the two-edged tool…)
but, like buggy whip makers* twisted the law to get flag carriers parading in front of early cars, not to *benefit* cars/public, but to impede its adoption; the status quo defenders of today will seem silly and selfish in retrospect…

(* citation needed; or is it a generalization used as a shorthand to symbolize the manner in which entrenched interests control the law, etc to favor their own ends, and not the interests of the public at large ?)

Shaun Kelly (user link) says:

Uses of drones

There are a multitude of uses for these drones. From commercial real estate, landscape health, roofing analysis, crop checks, security, promotions, hobbies and so much more.

Aerial videography drones like the DJI Phantom and the accessories like what KumbaCam sells, make these drones even more diverse and capable of doing a lot more. New infra red cameras and other things are in the works and nearly completed just to name a future capability. has all the drone accessories with the fastest time to flight setup on the market.

Kristin (user link) says:

What All Quadcopters Illegal According To FAA?

I agree that FAA restricted the use of drones for commercial purposes to an extend. However, it might be only partially applicable since not everyone cause damage to public. For example, a real estator using a drone may be for roof checking, security or maybe promotions. In this scenario, there is no problem with using a quadcopter. Let’s hope FAA will consider these factors in future. I notice Wltoys v959 Quadcopter is a better alternative to Dji phantom models because it is inexpensive and has a camera too. Again, Personal Drone Detection System might make the quad-haters interested. I hope the operator get his quad back if their on is detected in this radar hehe 🙂

Max Abbey (profile) says:

Uses of the best quadcopter

You can find multitude of purposes for these quadcopters. From commercial landscape health, real estate, crop checks, roofing inspection, promotions, security, pastime and much more.

Airbone videography quadcopters such as the DJI company Phantom as well as the reviews like what our site publishes, make these quadcopters even more unique and able of performing much more. Fresh infra red video cameras as well as some other stuff are within the tasks and also almost finished simply to tell a future capacity.

(best drones for sale article) has all of the reviews of the best quadcopters for sale

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