Dubai and Sharjah airports closed due to drone
October 29, 2016 by Roberta Pennington
Last night (10/29) a Dubai airport was closed for approximately an hour due to “unauthorized drone activity”. Just like we have talked about in class, it is illegal to fly a drone within 5 kilometers of a Dubai airport, (for us it is 5 miles though?). Because of the flight diversions, so many planes were sent to a nearby airport – Sharjah. Planes scheduled to land at Dubai airport had the priority over the planes at Sharjah, so Sharjah also had to close their airport for a little over an hour to take care of the Dubai planes. Passengers told reports how frustrating it was to be stuck on a plane in their home country for more than two hours. Passengers were not allowed to get off of the plane the whole time (for safety reasons) and one passenger actually became ill. That passenger had to receive paramedical attention… on the plane. Even then they wouldn’t let that passenger off! The drone was not identified to be either a toy or of military use. Either way, Dubai used serious precautions to protect their customers.
-Ian Van Leeuwen
A day at the drone races
October, 24, 2016 by Erin Carson
This article is about the growing new sport of Drone Racing. A park in Louisville, Kentucky is livid with about six drone racers on a Sunday afternoon. This growing sport is going to be taken very seriously in the next coming years. ESPN has started a deal with the Drone Racing League to broadcast all of their races. It is described to have a “NASCAR” type fell with all of the technology. The six drone racers set up obstacles in the park and are deemed to crash at some point. But crashing is all apart of the fun for these guys. I wonder when this sport will take off completely. I mean, these drones can speed up to about 60 mph which in a way to pretty dangerous to anything it could run into. But that is all apart of the level of excitement for the new sport.
Police force uses drone to keep football match in check
October 30, 2016 by Sophie Jamieson
English Police use a drone to monitor the people at a rival match in English Soccer. The match is between Birmingham City and Aston Villa, who are rivals in their conference. The drone was to watch the people in the crowd to see if there were any disruptions or possible threats. Keith Holliday, one of the police force sergeants is in complete support of this type of drone use saying the “technology is fantastic and has real benefits to modern policing.”. Everything obviously went pretty well because there were no disruptions or threats to public safety. Overall this article shows how policing drones don’t always have to have a negative connotation.
Moving Beyond just Frequency Jamming, Now Drones can be Hijacked (10/29/16) -By Bruce Brown
A new technology demonstrated by Trend Micro allows hackers to seize control of drones in the air, rather than just jamming the remote frequency. This technology works primarily with the popular DSMx transmitter spectrum which has “vulnerable links between the drones and operators transmitters.” The hijacking technology is all about “timing attacks” where a control pack is synchronized with the target’s radio transmitter, and the receiver accepts the control pack (hijacker) and dismisses the target radio transmitter. The technology was presented at the PacSec 2016 security conference in Tokyo this past week. This technology can be used to safely land drones in restricted air space, but it could also be used to intentionally land drones in harmful areas. They will not release this technology to the public because of the harmful risks that could take place.
U.S. has secretly expanded its global network of drone bases to North Africa (10/29/16) By: Adam Entous and Missy Ryan
The Pentagon under the Obama Administration secretly created a network of drone bases in North Africa, primarily in Tunisia. This network includes unmanned aerial vehicles, US military personnel, and a new facility to conduct reconnaissance missions in neighboring Libya. The Air Force Reaper drones have played a key role in the US air offensive against ISIS since June, and have decided to expand this technology. As of now, these missions are strictly for surveillance, but that could change quickly if relations escalate. For lethal strikes occurring in this region, most UAV flights were flown out of European bases. This is the US’s second UAV intervention in Libya in the past five years.
UAE providing life-saving drone delivery service in Africa (10/30/16) By: Nick Webster
Humanitarian efforts in Dubai are now using drones to carry blood supplies to hospitals in remote African areas. Drones are being shipped out of the UPS headquarters in UAE which is a partner of Zipline, a US robotics company. Each drone can fly 150 kilometers in all types of weather and carry 1.5 kilograms of supplies. This project was only $1.1 million dollars and expects to continue expanding relief efforts now with the shipment of vaccines. Dr. Seth Berkley says that this project is a test for whether or not drones are an effective solution to vaccine delivery system around the world. A partnership between UPS, Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, and Zipline and a grant of $33 million dollars from UAE is seen in the near future.
Drones launch off-grid healthcare in rural Madagascar
A company named Vayu has created a fully autonomous drone to provide healthcare to remote regions areas of the world. The goal of the project is to use drones to transport samples and vaccines between hospitals and rural areas, and it has already begun operating in some places. Recently, one of these drones flew blood samples from a community in rural madagascar to a medical lab for testing. The founder of Vayu, Daniel Pepper, has said “The biggest hurdle has been regulatory rather than technical,” citing the lack of permission for autonomous flight beyond the line of sight of an operator as the main opponent to this project.
Sweden places ban on flying camera drones without surveillance permits
According to a recent ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden, any drone with a camera mounted on it qualifies as a surveillance device and requires a special permit to operate. The decision did not allow any exceptions for use in recreation or journalism. The deciding factor that separated camera drones from dashboard and helmet-mounted cameras was whether or not the camera is within reaching distance of the operator. The decision will require potential drone pilots to pay a fee to apply for a permit but offers no guarantee that a permit will actually be awarded. Unmanned Aerial System, a Swedish drone company, has said that up to 3,000 people could lose their jobs because of this decision.
Amazon nets patent for mini police drones
Amazon Technologies, Inc. has been granted a patent for a miniature drone for use in police work. The drone’s size is made possible by removing its processor from the body of the vehicle, instead having it operate the drone remotely from a shoulder-mounted docking station. The device would take commands via voice command, or from an app or computer, and could potentially be able to identify faces, distressed voices, and license plates. Some worry that these drones could be used to search personal property, such as a car at a stoplight, without probable cause. These people are looking to establish regulations on the drones before they go into use.