Showing posts with label drone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drone. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2016

Drone killers

No sooner had I seen the arrival in society of small drones, than I made an elementary prediction:
In the near future, a lot of so-called bright people are going to design evil toys whose unique aim is to destroy those nice little drones!
Well, drone killers have arrived. Here's a nasty specimen:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How many French fighter jets does it take to shoot down a Belgian drone?

Yesterday afternoon, the French air force was lucky. The cost of their defense plan was minimal. It took no more than a single Rafale jet to take care of the intrusion into French air-space of a Belgian drone. Besides, the Rafale didn't even have to fire a single shot, because the Belgian drone crashed politely under its own power, all by itself, two hours after crossing over the Franco-Belgian border. Wow, what a rapid and gentlemanly aerial combat! Unfortunately, we'll never know which of the two aircraft would have been victorious if they'd been drawn into an all-out bloody battle. Personally, I would have bet my money on the French Rafale, for the simple reason that it's supposed to be somewhat bigger and faster than a Belgian drone. But one never knows...

It appears that the Belgian drone was about 3 metres in width. So, it was considerably bigger than a simple toy. A press article contained the following image (without explanations):

The press information on this spectacular affair informs us that, according to the pilot of the Rafale, the drone was traveling at an altitude of 1,000 metres, and at a speed of 160 km/h. One wonders how the Rafale could have accompanied the drone at such a low speed, without using some kind of an air-brake or a parachute. Apparently the drone was carrying no "charge", but this vague military term provides us with no more detailed information. For all we know, the drone may have been equipped with miniaturized Belgian weapons that were deliberately destroyed as soon as the presence of the Rafale was detected. How can we be absolutely certain that the drone was not carrying a tiny evil AI (artificial intelligence) device that intended to pursue, say, a ch'ti target in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region?

For the moment, no information has emerged concerning the identity of the owner of the drone. A mysterious affair, to say the least. Or is it simply what the French refer to, from time to time, as a Belgian joke?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hydrogen-powered drone

Click here to access an article on a fabulous hydrogen-powered drone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Are Dutch policemen as smart as they think they are?

I've watched with amusement a small video that shows a few smart Dutch policemen using a trained eagle to attack and destroy a drone. If I understand correctly, no eagle has yet had its head chopped off by a drone propellor.

The policemen surely know what they're doing. But I think they're encouraging a deadly arms race. The next thing we know, smart drone engineers will invent some kind of eagle-killer device. Truly, this is not what I think of as the march of science and technology.

Monday, January 18, 2016

HAPS (high-altitude pseudo-satellites)

The expression HAPS (high-altitude pseudo-satellites) is a roundabout way of designating an unmanned aircraft (in other words a drone), flying very high in the sky, that can perform tasks of the kind that are normally in the domain of satellites. Now, one way of creating such an aircraft would be to start with a successful device, the Solar Impulse, and replace the human pilot by a small payload of the kind handled by satellites. And that's exactly what is planned, one of these days, by the Swiss owners of that illustrious aircraft.

On 3 July 2015, the pilots of Solar Impulse, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, were obliged to terminate their last adventure at Hawaï. The aircraft had suffered considerable battery damage, necessitating major repairs, and their flight will not be resumed until April of this year. That lengthy delay seems to be giving them time to think about a HAPS project, for an unspecified date in the future...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Beware of bugs

Back in the days when I earned my living as a computer programmer, we coexisted constantly with bugs. I believe that such tiny evil spirits still exist, even though a lot of publicity talk tries to give the impression that they've been eradicated forever.

Click here to see the presentation of a marvelous little drone, made in China, called the Ehang 184, priced somewhere between US$200,000 to $300,000. It's designed for a personal owner, who isn't necessarily a licensed pilot, who has to get somewhere in a hurry. The above publicity photo seems to suggest that the owner lives in a romantic spot—in the vicinity of trees, statues and rusty old boats—alongside the water.

Charging the drone with electricity takes a few hours. The owner can then press a magic take-off button and set out on a trip that lasts for 23 minutes. The Ehang's automated flight systems will manage tasks such as communication with air traffic control and other aircraft, obstacle avoidance and navigation. In other words, if the drone doesn't collide with a tree (or anything else in the vicinity), that's because it's a smart machine... with no bugs whatsoever. In other words, faultless.

Well, thanks for inviting me to borrow your drone, to drop in at a nearby place. It's nice of you... and you assure me that your aircraft is both simple and perfect. But I prefer to travel romantically, by bicycle.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A drone flew over Gamone

Using drone images obtained by Hakim, I attempted to learn enough about the Final Cut software to put together the following short video: