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Author Topic: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA  (Read 2439 times)

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Offline AdminTopic starter

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recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« on: May 09, 2014, 08:15:03 PM »
Interesting pro-argument for drones . . .
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/06/journalism-groups-accuse-faa-of-limiting-their-rights-by-banning-drone-use/

I agree with the FAA on the need to develop rules to keep the skies safe in regards to drones, as per the below video. However, the FAA has missed legally required deadlines to do so. Drones will make the sky safer, because machines will not have 'human error'. The FAA needs to stop it's intentional feet dragging and modernize . . .
http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/09/travel/unmanned-drone-danger/?c&page=2

FAA expands 'non-commercial use' rule for drones to include non-profit search and rescue. Their intentional feet dragging with the understandable claim of not wanting to take risks with air safety will now put lives at risk. Read more:
http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/aerial-robots/search-and-rescue-drones-grounded

Offline jwatte

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 01:31:43 PM »
Another real problem is that hobbyists, and scofflaw professionals, violate the FAA rules and fly higher than 400 feet, with seemingly no consequences. A little bit more enforcement of that part would probably go a long way towards avoiding the near-misses we've seen close to airports.

Of course, enforcement (and rulemaking) requires money, and Congress seems to think that we should spend less money on the Federal government, not more, so I'm not holding my breath.

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 06:47:50 AM »
For commercial (non-hoby) quadcopters according to the FAA you can not even leave the ground unless you are in an enclosed area such as a building or a fenced (including roofed) area.

They are being a bit extreme about this. There could be an easy set of rules:
For a aerial vehicle smaller then X:
1. Max height of x feet (maybe 100 ft)
2. Stay at least x miles from airports (maybe 1 mile)
3. Sound level needs to be below x dB if you are within x feet of people.

There was also the recent court case where a Judge said FAA does not have the authority to regulate drones
http://roboticstrends.com/consumer_education/article/drones_legal_in_us_judge_rules
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Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 12:07:11 PM »
The controlled flight drone rules are:

1) non-commercial
2) max altitude 400 feet
3) max range must always be within unaided visual site
4) must have a remote control backup (in case autonomous mode goes crazy)
5) can't fly in restricted areas (near airports, in cities, over military installations, etc.)

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 04:24:28 PM »
I am taking issue with the rules for commercial applications.

However I do recognize that I want to be able to operate quadcopters where I can not see them and can not necessarily take manual control. Which even the non-commercial rules do not allow.
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Offline jwatte

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 08:12:09 PM »
What's the maximum liability you could cause damage for? Let's say your drone shorts out some high-power electrical wiring, which starts a fire in a recycling center, which spews toxic gas into a residental community. Or maybe you just take down an airliner that's on a final landing approach, but more than 1 mile out from the airport.
$100 million? Something like that.
So, to make sure that you take proper precautions for the risks you COULD cause, to operate these things safely, you'd have to acquire insurance coverage for a $100 million liability policy. This will not be cheap or easy, but it is approximately what these experiments would cost society right now. You may think it's fun and games to you, but causing risk to others is a hard-to-manage externality, and one of the main reasons we have a government at all!

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2014, 09:07:21 PM »
I am not sure what the exact rules/numbers need to be, I just put the first few that came to my head above. But the FAA needs to be a bit more open then they are now.

That argument about liability can be made for anything. A person can drive into a pole and cause that same chain of events. However as a society we have set rules for how much automobile insurance a person needs to have. I have no problem if business are required to have insurance of some standard amount (business policies often start a $1M per occurrence / $2M comprehensive which is more then a typical auto policy).

When iRobot first wanted to sell a "floor cleaning robot" (ie the roomba) many people were saying they would be sued right away and they will never put a robot into domestic use. They are still around and have not had any serious lawsuit against them.
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Offline hobbes

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 01:31:16 AM »
Perhaps a mandatory transponder is in order for all drones that would identify the operator and log where they fly.

Offline jwatte

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 02:38:04 PM »
The FAA "must" have laxer rules, why, exactly?
You may think there is a cost/benefit trade-off that is better than what we have now, and there may very well be one, but you haven't made that case yet.
Try re-phrasing that statement as:
"If change X were made, benefit Y would be achieved, while the cost would be Z."

Regarding the Roomba: Your homework is to compare the risk profile of a low-power wheeled Roomba that stops at walls and has a low top speed, to the risk profile of a high-speed drone with blades that can easily take out people's eyes, and that flies in the unrestricted skies (until it fails and falls down on whatever is below.)

Regarding liability insurance: Infrastructure is actually guarded against car accidents. You can't drive into a high-voltage line with a car, because they are mounted on cordoned-off rights-of-way, and have ground-level physical security. Not so in the air. Thus, the risk in the air is higher.

Don't get me wrong: I think rules that allow limited commercial services would be great! I'm just suggesting that your suggestions above don't actually make the case that we want made.

Offline Kohanbash

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 05:21:16 PM »
I agree that there is a potential for danger. But blocking the technology has prevented a lot of research from being conducted. Small aerial vehicles have lots of uses from news reporting to emergency response (I am sure I do not need to elaborate this here). The liability argument can be used for anything, if you never agree to introduce a small chance of failure you will never get anywhere.

Further allowing private use of small aerial vehicles and not allowing commercial use does not make sense. The probability that a person causes a problem is greater then if a company with trained engineers makes the vehicle. Also the company probably has better insurance then the individual.

For example the rules can say that they can only be tested on private/commercial property and must stay below 50feet. I am not concerned what the specifics are but having a policy that does not allow ANY work to be done is not a good policy. Part of the FAA's stated values is "Innovation is our signature. We foster creativity and vision to provide solutions beyond today's boundaries." Their policy on small aerial vehicles seems to run counter to their stated value.



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Offline hobbes

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 08:58:32 PM »
The one big issue with drones is the anonymity of the operator. Be it accidental or on purpose crashing into people, the operator needs to be held accountable.

Offline jwatte

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2014, 09:28:36 AM »
Quote
The liability argument can be used for anything

... that flies. That's the difference here.

There exists rules for manned, and unmanned-but-controlled, aircraft already, from the RC airplane side. Once you go autonomous, though, you're in a whole new territory.

I agree that rules would be great, and that the first set of rules will likely be highly formative for a long time to come. I disagree that "just making rules" is easy, or even the right way to go about it.

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: recent news on legality of drones concerning the FAA
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2014, 02:08:07 PM »
They are now allowing commercial flights - but so far only for one business that's well connected with the Pentagon . . .

http://www.latimes.com/business/aerospace/la-fi-faa-bp-drone-20140609-story.html

 


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