3D Robotics

Glimpse of the future: "Missing Drone" flyers


From the Lawfare blog:

This excellent picture was forwarded to me by a colleague here at Brookings. It was shot by his friend,Bonnie Shaw, who tells me that she saw the flyer at the corner of 17th and Kalorama Streets, NW in Washington.

The drone turns out to belong to one Adam Eidinger—or at least, it used to. And Eidinger is very disappointed about his loss. Eidinger, who has been tweeting the matter, tells me that he uses his drone to take aerial videos of Washington D.C., most of which you can find on his YouTube channel.

Last Friday, Eidinger informed me that he wanted to take a short video of a festival in Adams Morgan, and was flying his quadcopter from a rooftop on 18th Street NW. A huge gust of wind blew it too far south and Eidinger quickly lost orientation. The copter was almost 5,000 feet away from him, and he couldn’t tell which way was forward and which way was backward. When his remote loses contact with the drone, says Eidinger, the copter is programmed to slowly descend on its own—a “safe landing mode,” which prevents it from simply falling out of the sky and crashing. So it’s possible that the quadcopter is sitting on a rooftop somewhere in the area—maybe even on your rooftop (have you checked?). Eidinger doesn’t think it has fallen in a public place, because he says he canvassed the whole area and had no luck.

The quadcopter is 2 ft x 2 ft and was purchased in China, says Eidinger, because there are virtually no commercially available units like these in America. Eidenger customized it, and the total cost of the contraption was about $700.

It really is kind of amazing how the proliferation of cheap technologies has revolutionized the way we interact with our communities and surroundings.

(Thanks to Christopher Downing for the link)

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  • I cannot think of a better reason for having GPS and RTL as standard when losing sight.

    When learning to fly RC Heli's I lost a couple that way because they dont go far without control and there was no flight leveling back then, just tears !

  • Moderator

    Well he got his call from the FAA that sort of thing will happen if you operate something illegally and then get the local TV and papers interested...... If you are in controlled airspace when you fly rather look quietly for your craft.

  • have heard drones looking for missing people. this is people looking for a missing drone. just hope the finder power's it up and may be you can get telemtry link and locate it. just keep ur GCS on.  i am the type who never looses hope.

  • Parts might turn up on "E bay?"

  • Moderator

    Congested area, flying near a crowd you'd be prosecuted for that in the UK if somebody complained and the CAA took an interest. 

  • I was in the same situation, I tested auto pilot with my custom frame and motors and in the end it flew away within 10seconds, I dropped the power. It took the better part of the day to find it between high school buildings in a ditch where the 11.1 v 5200mah battery exploded and burnt every thing to bits.

  • RTL to the rescue? Hopefully I'll never need a flyer like this (knock on wood!).

  • Well, it looks like he was flying LOS... and his failsafe just auto-lands it, not RTH.  My loss occurred while flying fpv, because my video went out and never came back.  But I was using cheap HK gear... not again!

  • Could it be argued that FPV lowers the risk of a flyaway?  Look at the OSD and head home or put down in a safe enough spot?  Also, when he lost orientation, could he have just turned off the Tx and let the failsafe try to get him back?

  • Yup, that'd be wise.  I wasn't wise that day... but I'm wiser today, lol.

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