Question about drones- any experts here?

Hello

I have an unusual request regarding someone who has admitted to putting up a drone opposite my house to spy on me. Every night I see the lights blinking from the rooftop opposite my house and it never flies anywhere, it just hovers very slowly at the same spot. My plan is to put up my own to film it, either as evidence for the police, or to find out where it goes when it flies ‘home’.

My main questions are: 

- is it possible for a total beginner to follow the drone on its flight path home and if so, how?

- The drone is inaudible but still very visible - it seems to be just above rooftop level. How high does this mean that it’s flying?

- If the drone is solar powered, does the battery last the entire night and if not, how long?

- Is it possible to get a photo of the drone’s serial number or anything else which would make it traceable to its owner? How good would the photographic quality need to be?

My other question is regarding Lidar scanning, which I have heard others talk of but do not know much about. Can you tell me the function of this?

- Finally, is there any model you could recommend that ideally would have good night vision but also be possible for someone with no experience to use?

Overall, any advice that other forum members could give me would be very much appreciated. If it makes any difference, I live in the UK.

Thanks in advance! I think the concept of drones is amazing, it’s just a shame that some people abuse them.

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Replies

  • This has to be a joke...or an example of paranoia.  Either way, it's pretty funny.  Well played. :)

  • T3

    Chloe-

    I will attempt to answer your questions line by line.  However, I'd like to start by saying that if someone has admitted to flying a vehicle for the purpose of spying on you, you should inform the police right away.

    -No, it is not possible for a beginner to follow one quad with another with a live video feed.  Such a thing is possible, but requires lots of practice (that is assuming you can even see the other quad through the camera at night.)

    -This means that it is flying at a height just above rooftop level.  I have no idea how tall the rooftop is, but if it exceeds a certain height then the operator may be operating too high illegally.  The limit is 400 feet in the US, I am unsure of the regulation in UK.

    -There are no solar powered hovering vehicles available.  Most vehicle batteries last 15 minutes, but some high end vehicles can fly for as long as 30 minutes.

    -As Peter said, serial numbers are not required and you are very unlikely to see one.  Even if you could, it would be near impossible to be able to read it.

    -Lidar is invisible laser beams used to measure distance.  Some vehicles use them to determine their altitude.  More sophisticated Lidar sensors can be used to create 3 dimensional maps.

    -The easiest to use is probably DJI, and even then you still need plenty of practice and knowledge about safe places to fly.  The Phantom is easy to use.  Almost all commercially available vehicles have daytime cameras which are mostly useless at night.  If you've really got money to spend, there are thermal vision variants available.

    All that said, I'm not clear from what you've said that what you are seeing is actually a drone.  Did you see it fly away?  Were you able to see an actual vehicle, or just lights?  A picture would be helpful.  The fact that it is there every night makes it sound like part of the roof to me.

  • No there aren't any experts here, we all just pretend that we're smart by using techie words that we have no clue about. 


    Anyway, unless you're very famous, very beautiful, and often stand naked at your window during daytime, nobody really cares about spying on you, and if they did, there are much better (less obvious) ways to do it that you'd be oblivious to.

    In any case it sounds like a case of pure paranoia, assuming some dangling object is a 'drone', assuming that it's spying, and assuming it's got gadgets (e.g. Lidar) probably doing something mischievous (e.g. reformatting your brain).

    • MR60

      I don't agree tudsurfer ! being an expert on this topic : without hesitation nor discussion, this is is a false flag operation to cover up an alien invasion. As indicated in the Wiki in case of such advanced alien encounter, don't try to follow or trace this drone back to its base, unless you don't mind your bottom being probed by small greys.

      • Hugues: I'm lucky that's aliens moved to the UK ;)

        Not possible without experience, call the police, It's cheaper too 

  • I would suggest you read https://bmfa.org/Multi-Rotors for more information about flying 'drones' in the UK. 

    In the UK it is not mandated to have a serial number on a drone. 

    If you believe the law is being broken then I would suggest you contact the police rather than trying to deal with the matter yourself. 

    Peter

    The British Model Flying Association > Multi-Rotors
    The BMFA is the body delegated by the Royal Aero Club to be responsible for all aspects of model flying in Great Britain. The BMFA has around 820 clu…
  • Dear Chloe,

    I am completely share your worries regarding the dawn of spy drones! Fortunately, you are not alone and there are some solutions to your problem:

    - is it possible for a total beginner to follow the drone on its flight path home and if so, how?

    - Is it possible to get a photo of the drone’s serial number or anything else which would make it traceable to its owner? How good would the photographic quality need to be?

    There are specially trained birds with GPS collars that can either catch the drone, which spies on you, or follow it to its home location. You need to contact your local hawk's farm for more information. It's impossible to see the ID from the ground, but you don't need it if you know the place where the operator is.

    - The drone is inaudible but still very visible - it seems to be just above rooftop level. How high does this mean that it’s flying?

    Most probably drone operator utilize special anti-noise props, so it's unlikely you can get this information.

    - If the drone is solar powered, does the battery last the entire night and if not, how long?

    The state-of-art robots could fly up to one week on solar charge (battery charge is enough to spend the night).

    - My other question is regarding Lidar scanning, which I have heard others talk of but do not know much about. Can you tell me the function of this?

    Generally the Lidar technology is used for precise scan of terrain surface by construction companies or militarists. But it must never been used for the areas where people are. Construction companies evacuate places to be scanned in advance due to dangerous Lidar radiation.

    - Finally, is there any model you could recommend that ideally would have good night vision but also be possible for someone with no experience to use?

    http://mikrokopter.altigator.com/onyxstar-foxc8-xt-xender-complete-...

    I would suggest you either OnyxStar FOX-C8 XT or Penguin fixed wing.

    I am glad you are concerned about drone's dishonest users. I hope you will find my answers useful and good luck with finding that bastard!

     

    • Some of your answers strike me as very odd.

      Seems like we need to make sure everyone is using the same terminology.  It's clear the OP is referring to a small commercial (or homemade) hobby quadcopter.  You seem to be referring to everything from small drones to Air Force Predators when talking about solar powered, staying up for a week, etc.  Doubt that applies here.

      I'm also not clear as to whether she's asking about learning to operate a drone herself. I got the impression when she asked about night vision she was either asking whether the drone could conceivably have night-vision, or if she wants to know if she can use night-vision binoculars.  I guess she wants to run her own drone to find out who is using this spy drone on her?

      I've never heard of hiring a person who does falconry to track drones!  Suppose it could work, but not at night.

      I'm unaware of any commercially-available or homemade small hobby quad-copter drone that can stay aloft for an hour let alone a week!  Usually 20-30 minutes is about it.  NASA might have a large, solar-powered aircraft, but your average quadcopter certainly isn't solar powered!  It's extremely unlikely that this drone is hovering all night long.  If it is it could be a model blimp or something.

      In the context of small quadcopter drones, Lidar could be used to accurately track height about ground.  I know Lidar can be used to 3-d map things, but I'm not aware of any hobby drone that would be using such technology, particularly to spy on someone.  And Lidar is not always dangerous.  Police use lidar in speed traps. So there's no dangerous radiation... in most uses Lidar uses near-infrared wavelengths (ie light).  Maybe the intensity of the radar light could damage eyes in some situations like 3-d scanning.  But again, this wouldn't be anything Chloe needs to worry about. 

      Anyway your response confused me greatly! My UAV experience is next to nothing... so I must be missing something here.

      I would encourage Chloe to work with the police. The drone's owner is most likely not far away.  She mentioned the drone operator has "admitted to putting up a drone ... to spy on [her]."  So he's been communicating with her.  Maybe the police can trace him.  All in all it seems a bit odd.  Clearly the intention is to intimidate.  Because if he was just trying to be a voyeur he could do it without attracting attention to himself.

      • Postal;LOL,what a great expert answer...thank you.

      • +1 Please don't take Postal's answers seriously.

        Contact the police, don't try and do anything yourself as you're more than likely to break laws yourself.  From the sound of it he is breaking flying regulations before you even get into privacy/stalking issues.  The police will take a very dim view of this and should put a stop to it quickly and definitively.

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