Crazy about Drones

1 Jan 16 11 Comments

I got a drone for Christmas after reading an Inspire 2 review! I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but, in view of the bad reputation drones have in the aviation world, I thought I would post some positive drone links to balance it out a bit.

Drone’s World

This video shows the world from the drone’s viewpoint, which I found particularly interesting:

Drones with nets to catch other drones

Japan unveils net-wielding police drones for air patrol • The Register

It’s a little bit meta but according to a report from Japan Today, the Metropolitan Police Department has assembled a squad of dozens of officers who will use the police quadcopters to catch and take down unruly drones operating in unsafe or illegal conditions.

Leaf Blower

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This is a bit more expensive than your every-day leaf-blower but you have to admit, it looks a lot cooler, too.

Low-Budget Films

There’s a new judge, jury and executioner in town. Mini City will never be the same.

It’s all action and gunfire, so if that’s not your thing, then this’ll be a flop. But I love the concept of making two minute feature films at home.

Ambulance Drone

Each year nearly a million people in Europe suffer from a cardiac arrest. A mere 8% survives due to slow response times of emergency services. The ambulance-drone is capable of saving lives with an integrated defibrillator. The goal is to improve existing emergency infrastructure with a network of drones. This new type of drones can go over 100 km/h and reaches its destination within 1 minute, which increases chance of survival from 8% to 80%! This drone folds up and becomes a toolbox for all kind of emergency supplies. Future implementations will also serve other use cases such as drowning, diabetes, respiratory issues and traumas.

There’s a correction to clarify that Joanna shouldn’t have left her father alone but instead sent out a bystander to bring the drone inside. It’s basically a flying defibrillator but the concept makes sense and in high traffic areas, it could help someone survive the ten minutes that it takes a real ambulance to get there.

Drone Racing

Sitting comfortably for a race may not sound very exciting but using VR Googles to make the racing in first-person view brings on a whole new dimension to this. I like how the man describes it as an “out-of-body experience”.

Drone Football

We surprise a group of footballers in Barcelona by transforming their local pitch into an incredible, interactive football arena.

Using drones, advanced projection technology and over 30,000 programmable LED lights we created a football experience unlike any other.

Watch the players’ reactions as their Friday night five-a-side match is elevated to unimaginable heights.

OK, so the drone doesn’t have a big job in this and I don’t think the footballers like, showed up and discovered this major-cool set up without any warning. But wow, doesn’t it look like fun?

Hawk Bait

Maybe this isn’t a completely positive take on drones but it made me laugh.

Hawk brought down a drone

A Toy for Sylvia

It’s only little and it’s completely manual control but I’m looking forward to scaring the pigeons out of the garden.

I will let you know how it goes and hopefully not crash on my first ever try.

Happy 2016!

Category: Fun Stuff,


  • Ah, here is Grumpy !
    I am not at all in favour of drones. At all at all.
    When they first started to appear on the market, they were very expensive and more intended to be used by professionals.
    And by that, I mean people who use them in a professional manner: Making sure they are operated safely, by a trained operator.
    A professional can also be expected to respect (aviation) laws and not to interfere with people’s privacy.
    But of course, prices have tumbled in the past 10 years. And now any “eejit” can buy one. Most with the capability to carry a camera.
    Years ago, when my commercial pilot’s privileges were withdrawn because I had reached retirement age, I was working for a while as a photographer. That has been ruined by the digital cameras, but that is another story. But I was given the job of photographing a few shops in a large shopping area near Dublin. Within 5 minutes two security people came out and told me to stop. I was photographing private property. If I wanted to continue, I would need to get authorisation not just from the shopkeepers I was working for, but from every business that had a unit there. Some were part of an international chain, with the HQ in another country. My customers decided not to pursue it, even if there had been ground to ignore the warning from the security people. They did not want any hassle and under the circumstances would have been unable to use the photos.
    Nowadays, I can admire my own house on Google. I have never been approached for permission, they just sent a vehicle around with cameras and did it anyway.
    And the next step of course is that one cannot be private anywhere. I know of a couple who have a very large and secluded garden. They have a pond and sunken pool area, not in any way visible from the road. Friends liked to come there and go swimming and sunbathing in the nude. Not anymore, since a drone has been spotted in the area.
    So, for that reason alone I do not really approve of the sudden popularity of drones. They can be very dangerous to aircraft, too if operated by unqualified people (and what would be needed to become “qualified”?) Not mentioning other (illegal) use: stalking? arming them for terrorist purposes? No, I just hope that the authorities will at least issue laws to curb the unbridled proliferation, or at least make them subject to laws before it will be too late.

    Sorry for being a spoilsport, Sylvia !

    • There are certainly a lot of issues and hazards, that’s why I like to balance it out with some of the good things. But I do particularly like drones whose job it is to hunt down unauthorised drones!

      It’s too late to wish the technology weren’t out there but I certainly agree there will be a lot of consideration as to how to protect people (and aircraft!) from bad drone usage.

  • Well, here is the “party pooper” again.
    Safety is a consideration but I am convinced that the authorities will introduce legislation that will regulate the use of drones. Mind, I used to do a lot of sailing and sometimes I wished that the inventor of the jetski would have had a heart attack before he invented those infernal things. One jetski can ruin the pleasure of hundreds of people who want to enjoy a quiet day at the water and more often than not, an unlicensed jetski is away on the trailer before the cops can do anything.
    Yet, what I am most concerned about is the concerted onslaught on our privacy. We already have the mobile phone with camera. Even 4 year old toddlers have them. They can take photos of anything and anyone, anywhere and post them on the internet.
    We have the PEST called “Facebook”. Can you imagine, as one comic said, what would happen if the police would demand that we report EVERYTHING we do, ANYONE we meet, on a constant and permanent basis? Yet, we VOLUNTARILY record and post all we do, eat,everyone we meet, what we eat, and that also about anyone else we encounter on a virtual minute-by-minute basis and shared it with the WHOLE WORLD – voluntarily !
    We have Google Earth, posting photos of every house and building, virtually anywhere in the world, on the internet.
    I heard a story of a house photographed and posted on Google. Normally it is not really apparent, but apparently a computer whizz managed to freeze a clip, lift a shot and enhance it. After which it becomes visible that the shot allows a peep into a bedroom where two people were making love.
    Now we are getting an increasing number of unlicensed drones in the sky, uncontrolled, unregulated but many if not most with the capacity to carry a still- or video camera.
    Ever read a book by Orwell called 1984? When it was written 1984 was still far in the future and Orwell thought up a world where everything and everyone was under constant and strict surveillance. The slogan “Big Brother is watching you”, a title of a rather tasteless TV show, comes from that book. I think Orwell would be astonished if he could see that not only did his prediction come true, but even far, far more intrusive than even he could have dreamed of, not even in his wildest dreams (or nightmares).
    So Sylvia, I am counting myself fortunate that I have had the good fortune to have lived most of my life in a time when there still was some privacy. Technology is running wild and getting out of control.
    And you may call me a grumpy old man, I don’t mind !

  • Thanks for this. it’s a great post – I especially liked the football game… hilarious [even if advertising]!

  • Rudy, If I am correct and I’m pretty sure I am, anyone is entitled legally to take pictures of anyone or anything IN A PUBLIC PLACE (including police) without getting anyone’s permission though it might be advisable before you photograph someone else’s young children. That’s exactly as it should be. If this were not the case photographer journalists would not be able to work!
    Note that does not include snooping through bedroom windows or over private property by means of a drone.

  • I don’t understand what all the fuss is about drones is! People have been mounting cameras onto model helicopters for years before the drone craze became a thing. And honestly, I think it’s a fad! I really don’t think they’ll be that popular as recreational toys by 2020. I just hope the authorities don’t go insane about it and ban them completely like they did with the so-called “hoverboard” and the segway! ¬.¬

    People are also talking about using drones for deliveries, but I don’t see that being a thing either. They don’t have the capacity to deliver anything but the smallest packages; they are noisy; and people will probably shoot them down to get free stuff!

  • Another point that I just thought of after watching the drone racing video, is that perhaps the real problem isn’t so much about the drones themselves, but rather how they are used. People have found themselves in possession of this really cool gadget, but they don’t know what to do with it; and as the old saying goes, “the devil makes work for idle hands!”

    Perhaps community drone racing leagues could alleviate this problem by giving people something fun to do with these machines, and making it less likely for people to use them for nefarious purposes! :)

  • Steve and Andrew,

    Believe me, it will give me great pleasure if I have to eat my words.

    But Steve, the whole argument I am making is that drones DO have the capability to invade people’s privacy. And what really worries me is that, judging from your reaction, people are increasingly inclined to docilely accept the near total invasion of their privacy. Drones have become affordable. Like mobile phones.
    Equipped with cameras, they can take photos of us and publish them on inane websites with, or without our permission.
    And when I was involved in photography I learned that “a public place” does not automatically include the right to photograph PRIVATE property, even if photographed from a public road. People may only be photographed if they are a part of the general public on the public road. the same applies to photographing police: If they happen to be on patrol, as part of the general scene, in a public place, it is not against the law. But photographing individual police officers, recognizable, alone or in pairs, is not necessarily okay and in extreme cases may lead to a court appearance. The laws concerning what is and what is not “public” are more complex than I realized. Nowadays nearly everyone carries a mobile phone and I reckon that at least 90% have a built-in camera. Now most drones, with current technology, are able to carry a camera and are capable of bringing invasion of privacy to new levels.
    And strangely, even if many are accepting that we cannot stop many people putting even private stuff (about us !) on Farcebook (a most dangerous site in my opinion), there is also an opposite reaction.
    Andrew is right, photographing children without parents’ permission has become a “no-no”. Many people will even react quite angrily if a stranger photographs them, even if only from behind. But will accept their photo being posted on social media.
    Years ago, a journalist-photographer used to publish a photo of the “Urchin of the Week”. Parents could collect a free print-out. This is no longer possible.
    We live in a confused and confusing world !
    Which brings to mind the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times !”

  • I have some positive comments, too:
    First of all, Sylvia, as Rooney commented: it IS a great post.
    And some things are hilarious / noteworthy / informative.
    The drone that was used in Barcelona definitely is great. This is something beyond the means of most of us – unless your Daddy is Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, and I would not exclude the possibility that Trump will make use of this sort of gimmick in his election campaign. “What the heck, I can afford it and I pay for it with my own money” is something he might say.
    It is also obvious that this drone is operated by a whole team of professionals. And I am in no doubt that all laws are being observed.
    This one has my “thumbs-up”. The Japanese response would seem to be a bit “OTT” and the ambulance drone is not entirely believable. I cannot see this work, not with current communications technology. The commentary to me anyway is a give-away: Speeds of over 100 km/hr ? Maybe. Response time one minute? Fool someone else.
    Folding to become a toolbox? Watched too many “transformer” movies lately? The Hawk? Plausible.
    So I will end on a positive note after all !
    I have no problem with people like Sylvia getting a helo-drone. She is an aviation expert and pilot, she knows what she is doing. Having said that: I hope you are having fun and did not crash your toy yet !

  • As far as I can see we are all in agreement here, photographing in a public place is basically legal and acceptable. Invading someone’s privacy by taking photos of the inside of their home or gardens with or without a drone is not!

  • Rudy, upon further thought, there is a particular issue with drones in that if one takes off with a camera, even within the confines of a public place, or one’s own private property, it immediately has the capability of invading the privacy of adjacent properties even if unintentional.
    I agree that this is a potential serious problem!
    The same applies to light aircraft though they are currently less of a risk perhaps.

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