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· Registered
2,362 Posts
Despite growing demand for unmanned aircraft, technological and regulatory obstacles may keep them from routinely sharing US skies with piloted aircraft before 2020, a government watchdog said Friday.

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office said the US military's experience in Iraq and Afghanistan is generating both trained operators and an industrial base to support the expanded domestic use of unmanned aircraft.

Local authorities want to use them to spot fires or keep watch over crime scenes, and commercial interest has grown as well, according to the report.

But significant technological and regulatory challenges still stand in the way of safely mixing unmanned aircraft with piloted aircraft, it said.

"No technology has been identified as a suitable substitute for a person on board the aircraft in seeing and avoiding other aircraft," the report said.

Their communications and control links are vulnerable to intentional or unintentional interference that could cause a crash, and ground control stations may need to be protected against hostile takeovers.

Reliability of components in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is another problem, according to the report.

"Our analysis of four and a half years of DOD's (Department of Defense) data indicates that UAS component failures caused about 65 percent of the accidents and human factors issues -- a common challenge in new technology -- caused about 17 percent of the accidents," it said.

Unmanned aircraft are currently limited in the United States to border patrol operations and scientific data gathering with special case-by-case approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The report said various federal agencies are taking steps to deal with the barriers to wider use of unmanned aircraft for domestic missions.

The FAA, for instance, is sponsoring research on technologies that deal with the "detect, sense and avoid" issues, and is trying to obtain dedicated radio frequency spectrum for unmanned aircraft operations, the report said.

A federal advisory board is developing technical standards of unmanned aircraft.

But the report said: "Fully addressing regulatory challenges to allowing all UASs to have routine access to national airspace may not occur until 2020."

The impact of unmanned aircraft on the national airspace system remains speculative, but studies have warned they could be disruptive, the report said.

UASs pose unique challenges because, unlike manned aircraft, they often hover or circle in one location and have speed, maneuverability and climb rates that may differ from manned aircraft.

"These differences could affect air traffic flow, air traffic controller workload, and departure and arrival procedures," the report said.

They also would likely add to the volume of air traffic, it said.

On the other hand, they might be quieter and produce less emissions than manned aircraft performing the same tasks, the report said.

· Registered
487 Posts
What they have today is crazy.

Have you seen those tracked EOD bots? They have ones with machine guns now. Soon they will have IR targeters on them as well to help them shoot every thing that moves and is not transmitting friendly IFF codes. I saw an ad from Honeywell showing their man sized hover recon bot- its like something from HL2 and They Live.
The tools to enforce a totalitarian society are upon us.
In Iraq and Israel they tear up cities, dividing sectors with large walls interconnected by biometric checkpoints. They ration food, water and fuel to approved recipients only. Mass prisons where all suspects are retained with out trial. Road blocks where you must show your papers.
HL2 is very similar to real life techniques.


· Information is Ammunition
22,087 Posts
There are a few groups working on micronized UAVs, including MIT. Starting as a simple experiment to study the flight characteristics of insects, DARPA found interest enough to start a program for personal deployable UAVs that each squad member could have with them.

The SWORDS system was first developed in IRAQ our of EOD bomb disposal robots. Both are operated via telepresence, they are in no way autonomous. Global Hawk and a few other high dollar UAVs can fly missions on their own, but the other systems I know offhand that operate autonomously are the mobile area denial system, which is basically a network of self launching mines that can attack personnel or vehicles that come into its kill zone. There is also a remote sentry gun system akin to the one used in the film Aliens developed by South Korea that operates via image recognition and IFF tags. Obviously the Koreans mean to man the DMZ with them

· Registered
191 Posts
Why build a miniature robot when you can use a bug? A couple weeks after I read this i saw a new story about using them to carry audio and visual bugs to spy on people. As far as i know, this is being developed in the US and not anyware ells... yet.


· Ego Dominus Vos
565 Posts
Right now I can't see the UTube you posted.

I have one question however. Is it really spying if a drone can see it?

Houston, USA - The police plan to use unmanned drones with "high powered cameras" to spy on the American people. The cameras can look into people's houses, their backyards and even track people or vehicles. The drones can stay in air for up to 24hours.

At the test of the drones there were roadblocks banning media.

According to Martha Montalvo from the Houston Police department the drones will be used for "mobility, evacuation, homeland security, search and rescue and also tactical"

That means these drones would be used to snuck out "terrorists" as well as keeping a eye on people.

This technology will be used to "protect" people from terrorism but will in fact invade on the privacy of ordinary citizens.
upon further research, the story looks to be from CNN as well... found news articles dating back to 2006 to current. Miami Dade is petitioning the FAA as well. Gotta check on the petition...
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