DOJ privacy guidelines for agencies using drones, dumb drone flying, a drone-only store, interesting Kickstarter drone projects, NOAA says don’t mix drones and whales, drones as a tool for football practice, and a drone film festival.
On May 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced agency-wide guidelines that set standards for the domestic use of UAS. These apply to the United States Marshals Service, FBI, DEA, and ATF.
In its announcement, the DOJ says, “The policy highlights protections of privacy, civil rights and liberties and makes clear that UAS use must be consistent with the protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution. Justice Department components are barred from using UAS solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment, and components can only operate UAS on properly authorized investigations and activities. The collection, retention and dissemination of information collected by UAS is also subject to Privacy Act protections.”
Last November the FAA released a list of 193 incidents of “drone misbehavior” reported to air traffic control officials in 2014. Incidents reported to law enforcement were not included so the actual count is most likely higher.
A drone flying over a Memorial Day parade in Massachusetts lost control, crashed into a building, and hit two people – a woman on the shoulder and a man on the back of the head leaving some minor cuts. According to a police report, the drone operator was very apologetic and embarrassed. The FAA is investigating the crash.
Beaverton Town Square in Oregon is now home to Drones Plus, a business featuring DJI drones. The store manager says they’ve had 1,500 people come in over the course of about three weeks. Drones Plus opened its first retail venture 1 1/2 years ago in Las Vegas, and now has stores in Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, and Studio City, California.
Two Kickstarter projects caught our attention:
- The aexo “protector” and “motocross” quadcopters feature an with aluminum “exoskeleton” frame that offers extra protection.
- The Sprite is a portable, rugged, vertical tube UAV with counter-rotating rotors. It’s waterproof and floats, with a high impact airframe and a high-def camera on a 1-axis gimbal. A 2-axis GoPro mount is available. From Ascent Aerosystems.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has put us on notice: Approaching by any means within 500 yards of a species “protected under the Endangered Species Act and the regulations governing Endangered Marine and Anadromous Species” is a violation. That includes using a drone to take video of a North Atlantic right whale, which someone did and posted on YouTube.
A NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Special Agent said, “We try to take an education and outreach approach and ask for people’s cooperation before we move forward with any enforcement action. The video itself could actually give the impression that it’s okay to engage in that type of behavior.”
He also said, “If you cause the animal stress, cause a change in its behavior, or cause the animal to try to interact with the drone, you run the risk of breaking the law.”
The Dallas Cowboys football team is using drones to film practice sessions. This replaces the “old” method of using handheld cameras on the sidelines and end zone.
Video captured with a drone is to be judged in six categories: Natural Wonders, Cityscapes and Architecture, Action Sports, Acrobatics/Technical Skill, Storytelling, and Reel. The festival includes a People’s Choice Award in each category plus an overall Best in Show, which carries a Grand Prize of $2,000 or equivalent drone. Winners will be announced at InterDrone, the International Drone Conference and Exposition being held September 9-10-11 at The Rio in Las Vegas.
The show will feature special events (including a keynote with Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones) and networking opportunities as well as industry panels and two technical programs: Drone TechCon for builders, Drone Flyer for drone flyers and buyers, as well as Drone Business for the opportunities the market has to offer.
Video of the Week
A goose attacks a drone flying over the Oudorperpolder area in Alkmaar, northern Netherlands. Seeing the drone as an intruder, the goose attacks the machine.
The special video created for David.