Citing close encounters of the drone kind, FAA bans UAVs near airports

An octocopter drone hovers in front of vapor trails left by aircrafts during a demonstration. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic


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 tower."

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Autonomous multicopter made from pool noodles

Mark Harrison made a quadcopter body out of sections of pool noodle, producing a UAV that's cheap, rugged and great for practicing on. As he points out on Make, the beauty of multicopters is that they don't have to be aerodynamic and their bodies don't have any moving parts, giving you lots of flexibility in design. Plus: "Let's face it, it's just funny to think of flying pool noodles!"

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Burrito Bomber: open source hardware-based drone autonomously delivers Mexican food

The good folks at Darwin Aerospace have figured out how to use drones to parachute burritos directly onto your property. They await pending FAA reforms before they can go into business, however. Here's how it works:

It works like this:

  1. You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone's autopilot.
  2. We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
  3. The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.

We built Burrito Bomber using a handful of open source projects and some new bits we created ourselves. All the code and 3D models we created for Burrito Bomber are on our GitHub page so you can build one too!

Burrito Bomber - Darwin Aerospace (via JWZ)

Miniature bee-drones made from pop-up-book-style fabrication

Gmoke sez, "Two grad students at Harvard have developed a method to print sheets of miniature drones, the Harvard Monolithic Bee or Mobee, that pop-up into their final form. So far they've got them to flap their titanium wings but they don't yet seem to be able to fly. Their construction technique can be used for very many other small devices too."

Pop-up Fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee)

(Thanks, Gmoke!)

Churchill on drone warfare


A 1924 article by Winston Churchill imagined drone warfare: "Might not a bomb no bigger than an orange be found to possess a secret power to destroy a whole block of buildings -- nay to concentrate the force of a thousand tons of cordite and blast a township at a stroke? Could not explosives even of the existing type be guided automatically in flying machines by wireless or other rays, without a human pilot, in ceaseless procession over a hostile city, arsenal, camp or dockyard?"

He called the article "Shall We All Commit Suicide?"

As Bruce Sterling points out, Churchill was a huge sf fan.

“Shall We All Commit Suicide?” or, Winston Churchill Imagines Drone Warfare, 1924

(Image: Predator Drone Aviation Nation Las Vegas, NV, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from davidrsmith's photostream)