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 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”.
The drones – quadcopters in the available videos – are provided by the Italian/Swiss company Aerial View.
Click on the image below for the full story and the video on the Euronews website:
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”
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:
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.
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
and the upper and lower frame components that are reinforced 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.
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.
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.
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.
Staff member from the Calhoun State prison in Georgia spotted a suspicious “helicopter” flying over the 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:
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.
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.
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.
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?