3D Robotics
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]
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  • God... I hate how the news skews things, and also how people let the news do so. I also like to build lasers, and of course some a-holes like to point lasers at planes and give the hobby a bad name with the media (not to mention get most imported lasers outlawed). Of course, fear and bad news sells so they have to make it sound like we're building weapons of war in our garages.
  • Is there a larger sized graphic of what was in the original post? That would be an awesome background.
  • I'm from "the West" and I'm slightly offended (not much actually) that we're viewed this way. We have the foresight to realize that a drone can roughly equal a piloted craft without the expense of life in the event of a failure. These drones have many peaceful implictions. Even the Predator is used on harmless missions in high-risk areas. Are they armed? Yes. Have they been used as weapons? Yes. But most of the Predator missions are used for surveilance in dangerous areas. Also, border patrol uses these to monitor large unmanned portions of the borders watching for illegal crossings. These same drones are used by NASA for weather monitoring to SAVE LIVES by understanding hurricanes, Coast Guard for search and rescue missions, and more. I for one say keep the Predator look on this site if you wish. It conveys an understanding of the project in a single image. The "Predator look" is a very notable drone and should not invoke fear. That's simply rediculous! Score another point to the media for blowing something fun out of proportion and making a fun hobby into some fantastical death machine. What next? Pinewood Derby "car bombs"?
  • Its scare mongering really......I do think a response should be made to the daily mail.

    Is chris and the rest of the team ready for the hits they will probably receive and the posts that might appear due to people thinking we are "lone physcopaths"......
    Vefpóstur :: Welcome to Vefpóstur
  • 'building drones that look eerily similar to - or are copies of - the weapons employed currently by the West' - an initial look at the site actually confirms this impression. I have said this before. I remember the first time I saw the site its presentation put me off. Unfortunately the beneficial uses of drones do not come across on first viewing the site. Ditch the predator look alike and use an EZ* and at least you start to change first impressions.
  • I am absolutely with Nick´s suggestion here.
    The only chance we have is to point out all the civilian uses actually done or in planning.
    This is mainly research at the moment. But many interesting, of course (NASA is one good example).

    If you try to fight against the press, you´ve already lost....
    Work with them! As most people, they like work already done. Send prepared articles to magazines, take part in interviews and so on. My experience is quite good when working this way.
  • 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: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8620742.stm

    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.
    BBC News - Nasa drone embarks on science flights
    Nasa drone embarks on groundbreaking science flights in the Mojave Desert, California.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sorry Gary was only joking. My sister reads the mail and she is smarter than me ;)
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