From Pine View Farm

Droning On 1

Like Savoir Faire, Skynet is everywhere. Der Spiegel reports:

The unmanned aircraft are constantly sailing through German airspace. Drones carry cameras and video recorders, infrared sensors, measuring devices and radar technology. High-tech models like the AR 100-B are available from mail-order electronics stores, as are do-it-yourself quadrocopters. The devices were a hot topic at the ILA Berlin Air Show in mid-September, where experts demonstrated how the aircraft can behave in a swarm and be designed to be even smaller than they already are. Drones currently represent “the most dynamic segment in (the) aviation industry,” according to the event’s brochure.

Police and firefighters use drones to monitor protests and borders. They film crime scenes from above and measure levels of toxic materials in the air during major fires. Companies deploy drones to inspect pipelines and measure progress on construction sites. Architects, surveyors and photographers also use the airborne assistants.


1 comment

  1. George Smith

    September 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

    One wonders how useful this all is and how much is just a consequence of police forces being given state and federal money to buy things. In SoCal, we already have a big presence in the air. Helicopters have been the choice for well over a decade and they do a good job because they have at least two sets of human eyeballs in them, not someone at a desk looking down the straw view of a camera. “Measure levels of toxic materials in the air during major fires …” What crap. Since when are drone operators fire chemists? And in big fires here, everyone knows what’s in the air. As people do elsewhere. I understand the use of aerial toy drones for amateur and semi-professional photography, and the guy hobbyists who like little flying planes. I am not convinced every public agency and group needs to have a robotic presence in the air because of a belief that aerial cameras provide magic transformative levels of extra information. There was a long piece in the LA Times a couple years ago, one which looked at the history, and General Atomics’ drones were dead on 9/10. No one wanted them, all the same sales talks went nowhere. It was 9/11 and explosion in military hardware spending that made the company, another ‘benefit’ to the decade long over-reaction to terrorism. If agencies had to buy these things within their regular budgets and not given them on grants from homeland security this would never be happening. Some day someone will do a book that’s not the standard piece of cheerleading but I’ll probably be dead by then.