Tag Archives: security

Unannounced appearance of mapping drone delays 10 flights at Beijing airport – 4 drone operators detained by police

On December 29, 2013, the flight of an UAV drone was detected over the International Airport of Beijing at 11:00 AM. The drone, an RC model airplane equipped with video camera, was flying at 100 Km/h.

An RC model plane. For illustration purposes only. Kindly shared on Flickr Creative Commons by www.expeditionarguk.com
An RC model plane with camera. Kindly shared on Flickr Creative Commons by www.expeditionarguk.com – For illustration purposes only

An helicopter was sent to intercept the UAV, which tuned out to be a drone owned by a local company that was performing mapping operations of the airport. Although the operation was legal, the flight of the UAV was done without the proper authorizations and without warning the airport operators. Hence the alarm when the drone was spotted flying over the airport.

The departure of 10 civilian flights was delayed because of this accident.

The 4 man operating the drone are detained by the local police and have been charged with “endangering public security” and “seriously interrupting flight order”.

Source: Suasnews

Italian police starts a drone surveillance program in Turin for security and law enforcement purposes

Italian Police have started a program to use multirotors for surveillance and law enforcement purposes in the city of Turin.

The drones – quadcopters in the available videos – are provided by the Italian/Swiss company Aerial View.

Aerial View Logo
Aerial View Logo

Click on the image below for the full story and the video on the Euronews website:

The quadcopter used in Turin, Italy, for law enforcement and surveillance purposes
The quadcopter used in Turin, Italy, for law enforcement and surveillance purposes

Here’s a statement from Omar Morando, Aerial View pilot:

“All the drones have a transmitter that sends in real time the video signal from the camera to a ground station, where there is a HD monitor that can visualise what the camera is recording. Besides you can see the same pictures with special glasses which have inside a micro-monitor. When you wear these glasses, you have the same sensation as you would watch a 42-inch monitor”

Source: Euronews

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Safeflight Chopter’s SFC4410-1 Quad H Airframe unboxing

Received a couple of days ago the SFC4410-1 Quad H Airframe from Safeflight Chopters. It is a quadcopter frame designed mostly with security in mind. Here’s a picture of the mounted Safeflight quadcopter from the website:

SFC4410 Safelight Quadcopter
SFC4410 Safelight Quadcopter

and some action:

I had noted this frame a while ago, made a post on it, and placed an order. Since I live in a heavily populated area, the idea to be able to fly a quad in a city park, without worries about the propellers cutting something they should not, is very attractive and worth a test.

In this model the propellers are entirely caged in a plastic structure, with a strong nylon net above and below each propeller.

After flying the mini h quad for a while, the structure looks quite big, it can be virtually fitted in a square with approximately 67 cm edges. Each of the 4 plastic circles has a 26,5 cm internal diameter and 33 cm external diameter.

Safeflight SFC4410-1 Quad H Airframe
Safeflight SFC4410-1 Quad H Airframe

The frame feels extremely lightweight. It is made of molded light plastic, similar to the one that you can often find inside consumer items boxes, to shape the inside of the box so as to fit the various components of the product. This plastic is however strategically reinforced in key places, like the motor mount for instance

Close up of the motor mount
Close up of the motor mount

and the upper and lower frame components that are reinforced with carbon bars.

One of the components is reinforced internally with bars
The lower and upper “plates” are reinforced internally with carbon bars

Very lightweight overall. How will it hold crashes? We might well check this out soon :)

The purpose of this post is to share some very first shots of components during the unboxing. Build details and more photos will be posted while construction advances.

Secom’s surveillance drone – An advanced flying security camera

As reported in this Nikkeibp story, Japanese firm Secom has released an innovative security camera, able to get close to the target and shoot pictures and videos to be used for information and evidence in security investigations. It is actually a medium sized  (80cm diameter) quadcopter with an unusual shape that offers way more flexibility and maneuverability than a fixed camera, even with PTZ control.  This one will track the target anywhere even in a huge area.

Images souce: Nikkeibp

Surveillance quadcopter by Secom japanese security firm
Surveillance quadcopter by Secom japanese security firm
Secom surveillance drone, rear side
Secom surveillance drone, rear side

When a non authorized person or vehicle enters the secured area, the quadcopter will get close and gather evidence about the intrusion by taking pictures and video. The drone can take pictures of a car license plate for example.

A licence plate picture taken by Secom's security quadcopter
A licence plate picture taken by Secom’s security quadcopter
Secom's quadcopter is equipped with a camera and two leds, and can determine the color of a vehicle even et night
Secom’s quadcopter is equipped with a camera and two leds, and can determine the color of a vehicle even et night

A failsafe algorithm that avoids crash when a propeller fails on a multirotor: quadcopter automatic fault detection

We have recently discussed the importance of security in the world of quadcopters and multirotors and indeed security is at the heart of the ongoing debate on FAA regulations of the US airspace in relation to RC models, that of course include our beloved multirotors.

In our previous article we had noted how, in a presentation of Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea from the ETH Zurich, there is a bit of extreme interest for the security of quadcopter flights: Prof. D’Andrea showed that on cutting out two propellers from a quadcopter, the machine can still fly by adopting a different flight pattern, in which the quad continuously rotates on itself (yaws). Not very practical for shooting some stable video, but possibly great to avoid a crash.

And indeed the team of Prof. D’andrea now expanded on this part of the research and presented a video in which the same mechanism, a failsafe algorithm, is activated automatically during flight on a propeller failure.

Hopefuly we might see this as a selectable option on the next generation of flight controllers. DJI, what about implementing this on the next NAZA update? We might read some less news on quadcopters falling from the sky of Manhattan maybe and flying a quadcopter near people could become slightly less of a concern.

Next we’d like to see some efficient automatic avoidance mechanism. This would be another piece of the puzzle that needs to be completed to make multirotors really secure in a near future.

Multirotor used to smuggle tobacco inside prison – Drone technology opens new routes for contraband

Staff member from the Calhoun State prison in Georgia spotted a suspicious “helicopter” flying over the prison.

Calhoun State prison
Calhoun State prison

Rather than an helicopter, it looks like something visitors of this site are very familiar with: a DJI F500 hexacopter with a NAZA flight board, controlled by a Spectrum DX radio:

DJI hexacopter used for contraband in an attempt top smuggle tobbacco inside a Georgia prison
DJI hexacopter used for contraband in an attempt top smuggle tobbacco inside a Georgia prison – source

This unusual visit prompted a search on the premises surroundings, and after an hour Deputies noticed a suspicious Dodge car with 4 people onboard, two males and two females, and the multirotor.

“Everybody had several cell phones with different contacts. People try different things but the helicopter was something new. It is a surprise I’ve never seen a helicopter. They were in the woods flying it they had binoculars evidently so they could watch it,” Hilton said.

Multirotor tobacco smugglers - source
Multirotor tobacco smugglers – source

Read the full story at walb.com

This had to happen sooner or later. Quadcopters and multirotors are an obvious easy way to bypass any kind of wall, perimeter, country border et-cetera, and maybe deliver illegal items such as drugs for example.

After all, with multirotor deliveries for books and pizza to start soon, the use of this technology for both law enforcement (1-2) and all sorts of illegal purposes is just a matter of time.

The rise and fall of UK Mereyside police drone

With the raise in availability of drone technology, Merseyside police in the UK thought it would be a good idea to acquire a drone, actually a 13.000£ quadcopter, to aid in law enforcement tasks.

Mereyside police drone

police drone

article-1250177-083D8720000005DC-470_634x389

 

And here is the drone in operation live:

November 2009: Merseyside police acquires law enforcement quadcopter

The quadcopter is put to use, officers are trained.

February 2010: Merseyside police makes the first arrest in the UK based on drone technology, by helping in locating a car theft suspect - BBC article 

However about one week later, it turns out that the police did not have the required Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permission to fly the quadcopter.

“CAA said it needed to be consulted over any use of the drones, that can fly up to 400ft and reach speeds of 30mph.”

February 2010: Merseyside police drone is grounded for the lack of the required flight permissions by the CAA – BBC article

The police subsequently filled out the required paperwork and obtained all the permissions to fly the drone.

The drone resumes operations.

October 2011Merseyside police drone crashes in river Mersey - see also here

During a flight training session the drone apparently looses battery power and crashes into a river. Officers responsible for the crash were “given advice” (a dressing down in police slang). The costs of the incident were covered by insurance. Interestingly

“during its use officers recognised certain technical and operational issues including staff training costs and the inability to use the UAV in all weather conditions.

“These issues in conjunction with the current financial climate resulted in the decision being made by chief officers not to replace the unit.”

October 2011: Merseyside police drone ceases operations

This story is very interesting as it is an example of trying to put to work an idea that in principle seems potentially productive, and then coming in touch with all the hidden problems involved and the technical and, not least, budget limitations. I think the idea was good but the technology was still too young in 2009 to make drone law enforcement become a reality on a limited budget. I would guess that if the very same program was started today, it would probably have more chances of success as there was so much research and development done from 2009 to today in multirotors technological development, navigation systems, better and lighter frames with higher payloads, longer flight times, better resistance to variable weather conditions etc.. We can see this as an early, brave experiment that failed. We’ll probably see other similar program succeed more and more in the future, as technology evolves and equipment prices drop steadily.

In Marseille police plans to use drones for law enforcement and surveillance purposes

Marseille Police chief Jen-Paul Bonnetain is pushing the idea of using drone based aerial surveillance to aid law enforcement and police investigations. The idea is strongly supported by socialist politician Eugène Castelli, who is ready to propose investments for millions of euros in the project.

Will Marseille become a test ground for a wider aerial surveillance program in France? Are we entering a science fiction era in which multicopters and personal, or less personal drones will be part of our everyday life?

surveillance drone

Source: Le Monde