The Task Force on US Drone Policy

The US killer drone program is not creating a “PlayStation mentality” about war, a report from former Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency officials said Thursday.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, the study called them, “do not turn killing into a video game.”
The report comes three days after the disclosure of a secret Obama administration memo outlining the legal justification for the government’s drone-targeted killing program, a lethal strategy that authorizes the killing of innocents as collateral damage.
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View original article at Ars Technica

As ordered by the US Congress, the FAA is gearing up to set forth a standard for commercial UAVs, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and commercial drones operating in America’s airspace. While they’ve been dragging their feet, and the laws and rules for these commercial drones probably won’t be ready by 2015, that doesn’t mean the FAA can’t figure out what the rules are for model aircraft in the meantime.
This week, the FAA released its interpretation (PDF) of what model aircraft operators can and can’t do, and the news isn’t good: FPV flights with quadcopters and model airplanes are now effectively banned, an entire industry centered around manufacturing and selling FPV equipment and autopilots will be highly regulated, and a great YouTube channel could soon be breaking the law.
The FAA’s interpretation of what model aircraft can and cannot do, and to a larger extent, what model aircraft are comes from the FAA Modernization And Reform Act Of 2012 (PDF). While this law states the, “…Federal Aviation Administration may
not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft…” it defines model aircraft as, “an unmanned aircraft that is capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere; flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and flown for hobby or recreational purposes

View original article at Hack A Day

The main fear associated with the government use of drones in the United States has been one of privacy invasion when police use them. But at least one guy in California has turned that idea on its head and has begun using drones to film police conduct, instead.Cameras and cops don’t get along all that often, despite the fact that photography in public places is a right protected by the First Amendment. Filming police from the ground can be a dangerous business. With unsettling frequency, videos that show police intimidating camera-toting citizens are being posted online

View original article at Motherboard

Image: Sergey Kamshylin/ShutterstockAn inmate in a Dublin prison is in solitary confinement on 24-hour watch until authorities retrieve contraband from him that was smuggled into the medium-security joint via drone. Translation: prison authorities will be waiting until he takes a shit and then combing through his poop for drugs. Gross.On Tuesday morning, the remote-controlled quadcopter drone crash-landed in the exercise yard of Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin. Prison authorities explained to the Irish Independent that they suspect the drone wasn’t supposed to land in the prison, but “just hover over it until the inmates got their hands on the contraband

View original article at Motherboard

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ and its gimbal-stabilized camera, doin’ its stabilization thing in flight.

Steven Michael

The Dunning-Kruger effect: a bias wherein unskilled persons mistakenly overestimate their ability to accomplish a given task. After buzzing DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter drone around my driveway for about two minutes, I’m pretty sure I was the walking embodiment.
“This is easy!” I said, flying the expensive piece of equipment—on loan from DJI—around in a tight box. “And awesome!” I jammed the left stick forward and the drone rocketed skyward, shooting up to a hundred feet overhead without any apparent effort

View original article at Ars Technica