NoFlyZone is a company with a strange mission: restrict where drones can fly. People who don't want drones over their houses can go to the company's website and register their address. NoFlyZone will add geographic coordinates and the corners of the property to their database. Once a month, NoFlyZone sends out updated information of these addresses to partner companies in the drone industry, so they can hard-code privacy protections into their product. Launched Tuesday, the database is an attempt to proactively self-regulate drones.
France has a drone problem. Someone keeps flying the remote-controlled devices over French nuclear reactors, which continued even after the country arrested some drone enthusiasts. So far 13 of the country's 19 facilities have been buzzed. Looking for a way to stop quadcopters messing with, you know, nuclear reactors, France is testing out the only answer that makes sense: Bigger, badder drones. (Although secretly we wish they'd use birds.)
How does a hobbyist make their drone stand out from the sea of identical quadcopters? Dress it up like it's got stolen goods inside and the Galactic Empire is on it's tail, of course! Drone enthusiast Olivier C outfitted his custom quadcopter with a homemade body to make it look like the Millennium Falcon.
This informational poster from AVIC shows the launch sequence of the artillery UAV. It's deployed from a 155mm shell (PLZ-04 howitzer) or 300mm rocket (A-100 rocket launcher), and when nearing deployment, the shell deploys a drag parachute to slow down. At the slower speed, the shell splits open so the drone can safely deploy. Despite the drone's small size, its sensors are capable enough of detecting specific targets like the M1A2 Abrams tank.
In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama mentioned drones exactly once. Out of respect for human dignity, he said, our use of drones should be “properly constrained.” When he said “constrained,” Obama was referring to military drones, not toy drones, but now, he might have a personal interest in constraining smaller ones. Early this morning, while the president was away visiting India, the Secret Service found a crashed drone on the south lawn of the White House.
In the transitory space between Mexico's Tijuana and America's San Ysidro, the drone flew. Six rotors carried it forward, and strapped to its body were six packets of methamphetamine, weighing more than six pounds. Discovered by Tijuana police crashed in a parking lot just shy of the San Ysidro border crossing, the drone never completed its illicit mission.
A leaked internal memo says the Air Force's drone division is not only unmanned, but understaffed and overworked. Coming shortly before a major defense budget battle, the memo is a fascinating window into the strange bureaucratic politics of drones within the Air Force. Drones are largely how the Air Force fights insurgencies, but the high demand for drones and the limited advancement opportunities for drone pilots means there just aren't enough pilots to go around.