For two years, Google has been running secret drone delivery tests with their own UAV prototypes. Over at The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal has the first look at Google's Project Wing. From The Atlantic:
Taken with the company’s other robotics investments, Google’s corporate posture has become even more ambitious. Google doesn’t just want to organize all the world’s information. Google wants to organize all the world.
During this initial phase of development, Google landed on an unusual design called a tail sitter, a hybrid of a plane and a helicopter that takes off vertically, then rotates to a horizontal position for flying around. For delivery, it hovers and winches packages down to the ground. At the end of the tether, there’s a little bundle of electronics they call the “egg,” which detects that the package has hit the ground, detaches from the delivery, and is pulled back up into the body of the vehicle.
Camera-equipped drones, like the one that shot the video above, are a wonderful tool for photography at the annual Burning Man festival. But "if you're planning on flying a drone at Burning Man this year," says BB pal Eddie Codel, "You'll need to register and follow a ton of new rules."
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The latest FAA rules on UAVs are so broad that they class adorable toy quadcopters as drones and require special permits to operate them. Meanwhile, hot air balloons and unpiloted model aircraft are fair game for unlicensed play. The drone hobbyists are pissed:
Remember the secret memo explaining the legal justification for assassinating Americans with drones that the ACLU forced the Obama administration to release? Turns out that that memo relies on anothersecret memo that the Obama administration is also relying on. Obama is a no-fooling Constitutional scholar; you'd think that he'd be wise to the idea that secret law is not law at all.
An octocopter drone hovers in front of vapor trails left by aircrafts during a demonstration. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic
In an updated advisory of restrictions around the use of drones, the Federal Aviation Adminstration says unmanned aerial vehicles may not be flown within 5 miles of any US airport, unless the drone operator has advance permission from the "airport operator and the airport air traffic control
The Skunk, a drone from South African company Desert Wolf, is billed as the first riot-control drone -- it fires dye-balls, pepper spray and rubber bullets at protesters, blinds them with strobes, broadcasts control messages to them, and records them. Its first customers are South African mine-owners wishing to target striking workers.
The Obama administration has lost a high-stakes lawsuit brought against it by the New York Times and the ACLU over its refusal to divulge the legal basis for its extrajudicial assassination program against US citizens. The Obama administration declared that it had the right to assassinate Americans overseas, far from the field of battle, on the basis of a secret legal theory. When it refused to divulge that theory in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the Times and the ACLU sued. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found in the Times's and ACLU's favor.
The Obama administration had insisted that the legal memo in question was protected as a national security secret. However, the court found that because the administration had made statements about the memo, assuring the public that the assassinations were legal, it had waived its right to keep the memo a secret. There's no work on whether the administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Jeffrey writes, "Bay area flyers, come talk and fly drones over pizza and beer in our massive 17 foot tall ceiling warehouse!
Amateur and professionals are welcome to come and talk drones and show off their airframes in action. We'll have plenty of charging stations, onsite repair workbench, tasty local beer, and food/snacks for flyers.
Compete for fun prizes, fame, and whimsical trophies in our drone flying contests.
Starts at noon on April 5, contests start at 2 PM.
Plenty of parking and free for all."
Drones are being used to drop care packages of drugs into Quebec prisons, according to Stephane Lemaire, president of the province's correctional officers' union. On Sunday, guards at the Hull jail watched a drone flying over the yard but couldn't determine if it delivered any contraband. The Ottawa Sun paraphrased Lemaire as saying, "Officers don't have the right guns to take out drones -- especially near city centres -- and a net or even a jammer that would disrupt the drone's signal would go a long way."