DIY Drones mentioned in UK Daily Mail article

In an article entitled "The Rise of the Robo-Fighters", Britain's Daily Mail newspaper discusses us:

"The website DIY Drones is a thriving community of do-it-yourself drone builders and operators, building drones that look eerily similar to - or are copies of - the weapons employed currently by the West. For a terrorist, or a lone psychopath, the idea of a vehicle that could launch, find targets and attack autonomously must seem like the ultimate risk-free weapon - a suicide bomb without a suicide bomber."

What's troubling about this is the notion that "drones = weapons". But until the regulators open up national airspace to more civilian/commercial use that shows more peaceful use cases, I suppose this is going to be something we're going to continue to have to fight/educate against.

[Thanks to Gary Mortimer for the find. Photo taken from the article]

Views: 2630

Comment by Ron Jacobs on May 2, 2010 at 12:01pm
Perhaps a note to the Daily Mail is in order to clarify that the people on DIY Drones are not lone psychopaths and that the vast majority of vehicles are not copies nor are they even similar to the weapons currently used by the West. Some are or could possibly be, but only in that they are solving similar concerns of aerodynamics, wing loading, speed ,etc.

Comment by Rory Paul on May 2, 2010 at 12:45pm
I think a strongly worded note to the Daily Mail is in order. The paragraph about the DIYDrones community is ambiguous enough to leave the reader thinking we are all in this cloning our own little Predators with Hellfire missiles slung underneath for profit.....sensationalism at its best.
Comment by Overwatch on May 2, 2010 at 1:53pm
It's supposed to leave the reader thinking that we're a sect of hi-tech baby killers. That's what journalism's all about. You're watching the daily news thinking it's more or less OK, but when they touch an area of expertise you know a thing or two about you notice that it's all utter, weapon-grade bullshit. And since that's what everybody's been telling me (engineers, medics, whale biologists, what have you), the only logical conclusion is that all of journalism is like this. A bright future we're headed for.
Comment by AVS on May 2, 2010 at 1:56pm
I want to emigrate from england. Help please :)

Anyway, please bear in mind that the readers of the daily mail can't actaully read!

Comment by Gary Mortimer on May 2, 2010 at 1:56pm
It seemed a bit of an afterthought or orphan that paragraph. A request for comment before going to press would have been more in order.
Comment by Breaksbassbleeps on May 2, 2010 at 1:59pm
The Daily Mail doing its best to spread paranoia, again..
Comment by AVS on May 2, 2010 at 2:01pm
Sorry Gary was only joking. My sister reads the mail and she is smarter than me ;)
Comment by James Turner on May 2, 2010 at 2:22pm
This is typical of newspapers.What they don't know they make up. All the more reason I don't waste my money buying or reading them.
Comment by Greg Fletcher on May 2, 2010 at 3:31pm
Go get em Chris. Start an on line petition or something and pressure them to print a retraction. This kind of crap we don't need. Also see my reply on Taylor Cox's blog post. We need to keep this shit under control.
Comment by Nick Bright on May 2, 2010 at 4:50pm
Unfortunately the masses do directly think of war when they think of 'drones', because of all the press about the US using armed military models for attacks in Pakistan.

The only way to fix this is by educating the public to the many uses of drone technology in the science and research sectors, such as NASA's use of their new drone:

This drone has enabled NASA to make their longest research flights to date, now that they are no longer limited to the maximum flight time of a human pilot.

Also uses for drones that I can think of in the civilian sector are applications like Search & Rescue, weather observations, remote territory research applications (e.g. flying deep in to the wilderness to observe herd movements).

There are SO many uses for drones beyond simple warfare, but like any new technology it tends to see military applications first because the military can afford the high initial costs. Once economies of scale hit and the research is declassified many new applications will spring forth.

Think about this in the context of GPS technology. For years it was only available to the military, then in limited civilian use until President Clinton removed the artificial accuracy reduction randomness. Now GPS is everywhere (including our Autopilots!) and highly accurate.

I think that drone technology will follow this same trend - as research becomes declassified and more people spend time thinking about it, many innovative and productive applications of drone technology will emerge.


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