Category Archives for "Civilian Drones"

UAV Pilots – What to Do When Confronted by Angry Bystanders

There are an increasing number of reports of UAV pilots being attacked by angry members of the public. Some are verbally harassed, others lose their vehicles to shotgun blasts, and still others are outright assaulted. Unfortunately, it’s not much of a surprise that the public opinion of UAVs is negative. The media spotlight seems to shine exclusively on the small number of pilots who misuse their craft — and feeds into the growing paranoia that UAVs exist for the sole purpose of spying.

If you’re unlucky enough to be cornered by an irate bystander while flying, here are some steps you can take to defuse the situation.

Keep Calm

Start by asking the person to wait a moment while you land your craft. If they give you push back on landing, let them know that if the UAV were to collide with a person it could do serious harm. Once you’ve landed your vehicle, take time to listen to their concerns. Avoid escalating the situation by responding in a calm and collected manner. If you are being yelled at, you can gently make the person aware of how confrontational they’re being by stating, “You seem really angry about this.” This can help to calm them down as many people get lost in the moment and don’t realize they are being aggressive.

Explain what you’re doing and why you’re there. If you’re there for professional reasons, tell them. If you’re there as a hobbyist, explain why you fly UAVs and why you chose that area to fly.

Protect Yourself

Know the law. The FAA has a few important guidelines for hobby pilots, and it’s extremely important to follow them. You won’t be doing yourself or anyone else any favors by breaking the rules. While we don’t have definitive word when it will be put into action, the FAA is currently working on implementing a registration system for UAVs. Once the system is in place, it’s important to register all of your craft. This registration is expected to be simple and free, so there’s no need to pay a third party company to do it for you.

but those will rarely come up when confronted by the public. People are far more likely to reference privacy laws that simply don’t exist. The cold hard fact is that there is no expectation of privacy in public places. If you’re filming in a public place, you’re safe. Furthermore, as much as people would like to consider their fenced yards private areas, they are not. If they were, services like Google Earth wouldn’t exist. Like it or not, it is perfectly legal to fly a UAV over someone’s back yard.

However, whatever the law may be, people are bound to get riled up if they think their privacy is being infringed upon. That’s why it’s a good idea to wear a head-mounted GoPro and keep it recording as you fly. You never know when situations might turn violent, and having footage of the altercation as evidence will help when pressing charges.

Be Courteous

While there isn’t any expectation of privacy in public places, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a considerate member of the community. If the noise of your UAV is disrupting someone’s peace and quiet, consider flying it elsewhere. If you’re looking to get stunning aerial views of beaches or hiking trails, try to do it when such areas are the least crowded. And if someone doesn’t want to be filmed, don’t film them.

Be an Ambassador

There’s no doubt about it, UAVs are cool. If you’ve defused the situation to the point of civil conversation, offer to show the person how UAVs work — what they can and can’t do, flight paths, etc. Since so much of the controversy around UAVs has to do with perceived spying ability, explain how the cameras on even the highest end UAVs are only equipped with an ultra wide angle lens and have no ability to zoom. This makes them a poor choice for spying — a DSLR camera with a telephoto lens would be far better (and cheaper).

Since many fear what they don’t understand, educating people about what is and isn’t possible is key. Most people who find out what UAVs are really capable of find a new appreciation for these fantastic little pieces of technology. By explaining the why and how behind your craft, you may help create another fan — and the more UAV enthusiasts there are, the more innovation we’ll see in their future development.

It’s not pleasant being constantly on guard when flying in public, but until the average Joe knows more about UAVs, it’s just going to be a way of life. As long as you’re prepared to handle each situation in a calm and collected manner, things should (hopefully) go swimmingly.

Fixed Wing UAV

For many, the word ‘drones’ conjures up images of camera equipped quadcopters. Yet there are many fixed wing UAV in use today and more are entering the market.

 

Fixed wing UAV fly using the same principles as conventional manned aeroplane. They consist of an airframe with wings and have an single engine.

The rear or aft mounted engine spins a propeller that generates thrust. Thrust ‘pushes’ or ‘pulls’ the drone through the air and airflow over the wings produces lift.

Control surfaces in the wings enable control in the lateral, vertical, and horizontal axis. The Remote Pilot has full control in each axis and can pitch, roll, or yaw the plane.

One of the biggest advantages of fixed wing UAV is their simplicity. A conventional quadcopter has four rotors but a fixed wing drone has only. The airframe and other components less complicated making them easier to maintain and repair.

Fixed Wing UAV Agriculture

Fixed wing UAV flying over fields collect data for a variety of purposes.

The essential task of a drone is to collect data. This can then be analysed and processed to produce all kinds of reports. These can then help to provide a clear picture of a given area in a specific time window.

Most UAV take pictures and record video with a conventional digital camera. This is their most common task, but it’s just one of many ways in which they can help us.

NDVI ([easyazon_link identifier=”B00FSAE206″ locale=”UK” tag=”droneuav-21″]Normalized Difference Vegetation Index[/easyazon_link]) sensors collect data. This is not only of use to the farmer, but it can also be shared with other interested bodies.

[easyazon_infoblock align=”right” identifier=”1482299151″ locale=”UK” tag=”droneuav-21″]Drones can map weeds within crops making it it easier to find them and treat them with sprays.

If the UAV can reveal the exact location of the weeds then they can spray just those specific areas.

This saves both time and money and it’s also better for the environment.

UAV can check the environment by collecting air samples. These can then be analysed for the effects of pollution.

Their infra red cameras can count mammals, both wildlife and livestock.

They can track the effects of farming, mining, and other human activity. They can create 3D models of civil engineering projects, construction sites, and topological features.

Farmers and other surveyors are usually busy people who don’t want to have to build a tool themselves. They want functional, easy to maintain, and ready to use equipment.

That’s what fixed wing UAV designers keep mind when designing and building their drones.

Price is not always the deciding factor. If the drone does its job and can prove a return in investment then it’s worth the capital expenditure.

The market for fixed wing UAV looks set to continue thanks to improvements in software. Cloud technology and engineering are helping things along too.

All this means that there is a need for more training for Remote Pilots.

Perhaps it’s time you added to your skillset to take advantage of the growing demand.

Online Training. Learn at home or in the office at your own pace: UAV Drones: Precision Agriculture. An advanced guide how to use an UAV drone for vegetation index and crop analysis.

Why learn about drones and UAV now?

SteadiDrone Mavrik
SteadiDrone Mavrik

SteadiDrone Mavrik

Some people may be hesitating and asking themselves “Why learn about drones and UAV now?”  For those already involved in the industry the answer will be obvious, but if you’re new to it or if you have two or more career options under consideration then you may need some more convincing.

Take a look at the graph below.  This illustrates the growth in popularity of the search term over time relative to other search terms.  The drone industry is growing rapidly and now is an excellent time to become part of it.  Now is the time to catch the wave.

As the technology develops so do the areas of specialisation.  Stop anyone in the street and ask them what they think drones do and they’ll probably assume that their all fitted with conventional cameras that record still and video images, but UAV are increasingly being used for a variety of other purposes.  The payloads attached to quadcopters, fixed wing UAV, and multirotor craft are also being developed along with the aircraft themselves.

All the businesses and industries associated with UAV, directly or indirectly, should start planning for the opportunities that this growth is creating.  As an individual, you might want to think about the areas in which you might specialise.

For example:

  • Flying drones as a Remote Pilot
  • Software Development
  • UAV design, building, and testing
  • Data Analysis
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Businesses: aerial photography, 3D mapping, thermal inspection etc.

Not everyone will want to run their own business and if you’re looking for employment then make sure your overall knowledge is sound and up to date while specialising in one or more areas.  Keep abreast of the changes and developments by following not just the market leaders but also the up and coming small companies who have something new to offer.

There may be two people working on one product in the drone and UAV sector now who will be household names in five years time.  Could that be you?

Why shouldn’t it be you?  The field is open and the opportunities are there for those willing to take the leap of faith.