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Drones Shut Down London Airport in What Authorities Call Deliberate Disruption

Let's take a step back here and think about this logically.  We currently don't know what kind of "drones" these were, nor how they were being piloted (quad copter, larger multi rotor, fixed wing?  manual, gps, generic order based movement, machine learning gone awry?).  It is pretty simple and easy to create drones without GPS, in fact most that don't have a camera or HEAVY industrial use don't bother.  Just take a cheaper drone controller board and use that as the basis of the build.  Anything with GPS in it would already know about the geofences, so we're either talking about cheaply done stuff, or stuff that was purpose built to ignore the geofences.

 

So, we're left with 2 options here, regardless of the type of drone or pilot method:

1) stupidity and negligence…which is unlikely considering it was multiples of them for long periods of time at multiple airports recently

2) purposeful (terroristic) action

 

If it is the later, no amount of regulation will change what they're doing, as what they're doing is already illegal and prevented by default in gps enabled drone flight systems (flying near an airport), as well as the illegality of flying near any population without a commercial license and permit in most countries.  Therefor, further regulation only harms enthusiasts and hobbyists.

 

There are several different types of tech to "shoot down" drones electronically.  The easiest 2 are to disrupt GPS if it is using it for navigation, which generally makes them slowly land where they are by default since they no longer have orientation, or disruption of control signal, which generally makes them "return home" to where they were launched from, as they're no longer being controlled.  The GPS version would affect airplanes that were using auto-pilot, but any planes around the airport would've already been out of auto-pilot mode since they had to divert their landings or prevent their takeoffs.  The other method may have briefly shut down some radio communication, but that is unlikely.  Beyond those, there's EMP, but that's a bit iffy, and then of course the various physical measures depending on size (nets, guns, the drone capturing birds, etc).

 

In short, this REALLY should be non-news because they should've taken care of it pretty easily already in one of those ways.

 

Full disclosure: I'm a regional team manager for an racing RC manufacturer.  We, however, are fully ground based for our vehicles.

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5 hours ago, TempestCatto said:

This makes no sense to me. As far as I know all drones sold to the public have some sort of sensor(s) in them to specifically not allow them within a few miles of an active airport. Are people disabling these so they can foam? Or am I just imagining the whole sensor thing? Either way, I hope those people are criminally charged. They just costed so many companies and even people millions of dollars in disruptions.

You know how easy and cheap it is to build a drone? 

ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D???????r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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Just now, BuckGup said:

You know how easy and cheap it is to build a drone? 

I didn't until this thread, no. It makes sense now though.

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20 minutes ago, justpoet said:

If it is the later, no amount of regulation will change what they're doing, as what they're doing is already illegal and prevented by default in gps enabled drone flight systems (flying near an airport), as well as the illegality of flying near any population without a commercial license and permit in most countries.  Therefor, further regulation only harms enthusiasts and hobbyists.

 

Couldn't limiting the sale of drones to licensed operators at least make obtaining the drones harder? I'm not saying this is something in favor of, but it's not something I'm completely against. It may be a bit annoying for enthusiasts... but it could be worth it.

 

24 minutes ago, justpoet said:

In short, this REALLY should be non-news because they should've taken care of it pretty easily already in one of those ways.

 

I think this is getting so much media attention because this type of thing is new. I feel it's important to highlight the risks of new technology.

 

Also, there has to be a reason they haven't taken the drones down yet. It could be that the technology needed is hard to deploy.

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2 minutes ago, Luca Rallis said:

Couldn't limiting the sale of drones to licensed operators at least make obtaining the drones harder? I'm not saying this is something in favor of, but it's not something I'm completely against. It may be a bit annoying for enthusiasts... but it could be worth it.

That works so well in other industries…. </sarcasm>

 

Seriously though, there's so many of them out there already, and tons of control boards that are generic (not specific to drones) and run open source software that can be used as drone controllers…and of course china production of stuff.  This isn't something you can really put a lid on.  Anybody that wants one can have one, and in any form they want it, fairly easily...even if sales regulations preventing them from buying one are put into place.  To be effective, you'd basically have to destroy and over-regulate (with people who actually knew the tech inside and out) the ENTIRE hobbyist electronics industry (including raspberry pi, arduino, all parts that can connect to them, etc).  In short, regulation simply isn't going to work at all.

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3 minutes ago, Luca Rallis said:

 

Couldn't limiting the sale of drones to licensed operators at least make obtaining the drones harder? I'm not saying this is something in favor of, but it's not something I'm completely against. It may be a bit annoying for enthusiasts... but it could be worth it.

The problem is that it's really easy to manufacture a fully custom drone. And it's already illegal to do what these operators are doing.

 

I have no problem having some restrictions on drone sales, such as having to register them or get an operators license, as long as these are effective regulations.

 

I'd be fine with licensing since you don't want a complete idiot (or someone with certain criminal convictions) operating drones. But those regulations wouldn't stop terrorists from attempting a drone attack against an airport.

3 minutes ago, Luca Rallis said:

I think this is getting so much media attention because this type of thing is new. I feel it's important to highlight the risks of new technology.

 

Also, there has to be a reason they haven't taken the drones down yet. It could be that the technology needed is hard to deploy.

I'd assume that there's really no "perfect" product when it comes to taking down a drone. Every solution has some drawback or limitation. Also, airports and government might just be slow to adapt to the new tech.

 

But seriously, Airports and other critical areas (eg: Nuclear power generators) really need to start installing anti-drone defences - preferably layered overlapping defences (eg: A fleet of anti-drone drones, followed by CIWS, followed by a close-in Net Gun or EMP gun).

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12 minutes ago, justpoet said:

That works so well in other industries…. </sarcasm>

 

Seriously though, there's so many of them out there already, and tons of control boards that are generic (not specific to drones) and run open source software that can be used as drone controllers…and of course china production of stuff.  This isn't something you can really put a lid on.  Anybody that wants one can have one, and in any form they want it, fairly easily...even if sales regulations preventing them from buying one are put into place.  To be effective, you'd basically have to destroy and over-regulate (with people who actually knew the tech inside and out) the ENTIRE hobbyist electronics industry (including raspberry pi, arduino, all parts that can connect to them, etc).  In short, regulation simply isn't going to work at all.

To some extent, regulation will help with law abiding citizens doing stupid stuff without knowing. Similar to concealed carry permits, driver's licenses (in theory), etc.

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44 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

To some extent, regulation will help with law abiding citizens doing stupid stuff without knowing. Similar to concealed carry permits, driver's licenses (in theory), etc.

Agreed - regulations still have a place. For example, preventing a dumbass novice drone user (who has never flown a drone) from crashing into his neighbours window.

 

People need to understand that regulations have multiple purposes. A regulation might be ineffective at one thing (eg: stopping terrorists), yet still be effective (and therefore needed) for preventing something else.

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53 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

To some extent, regulation will help with law abiding citizens doing stupid stuff without knowing. Similar to concealed carry permits, driver's licenses (in theory), etc.

All the GPS enabled commercial drones (like not the ones you build yourself) have a built in system that they will not fly in forbidden zones (like airports and areas  around for example) unless you mod it in some way. So with those you can not fly close to airports because you are utter stupid. 

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5 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Agreed - regulations still have a place. For example, preventing a dumbass novice drone user (who has never flown a drone) from crashing into his neighbours window.

 

People need to understand that regulations have multiple purposes. A regulation might be ineffective at one thing (eg: stopping terrorists), yet still be effective (and therefore needed) for preventing something else.

Yeah like random people using them to videotape people without them knowing. 

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1 hour ago, dalekphalm said:

The problem is that it's really easy to manufacture a fully custom drone.

This. Before the current era of relatively affordable mass manufactured drones, there were a lot of still affordable but required more work drones.

 

1 hour ago, justpoet said:

The easiest 2 are to disrupt GPS if it is using it for navigation, which generally makes them slowly land where they are by default since they no longer have orientation, or disruption of control signal, which generally makes them "return home" to where they were launched from, as they're no longer being controlled.

If we were to assume this was an intentional move, it would seem likely the above scenarios would be considered and prevented. You don't want to be manually controlling the drone in any significant manner, as any transmission is a potential way for law enforcement to find you. GPS jamming could be ignored, and if necessary dead reckoning could be used until such time it recovers. Localised GPS manipulation might be another option, to make the drone think it is somewhere other than where it actually us, but this would be unpredictable since it is unknown what the drone is programmed to do.

 

Controllers can be trivially customised, so you can't make assumptions on how they might behave. Especially not assume they would behave like off the shelf drones.

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1 hour ago, Drak3 said:

To some extent, regulation will help with law abiding citizens doing stupid stuff without knowing. Similar to concealed carry permits, driver's licenses (in theory), etc.

The thing that people miss when it comes to regulations is not that won't stop criminals, but that the existence of those regulations makes it easier to punish criminal and actually do something about it.    If you don't regulate because it only effects law abiding citizens then you have no recourse when a criminal does it.

QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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5 hours ago, mr moose said:

The thing that people miss when it comes to regulations is not that won't stop criminals, but that the existence of those regulations makes it easier to punish criminal and actually do something about it.    If you don't regulate because it only effects law abiding citizens then you have no recourse when a criminal does it.

It is already illegal to do all the things people have mentioned here as negative effects.  Any new regulations wouldn't make it any easier to punish people for doing what is already illegal and punishable.

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4 hours ago, justpoet said:

It is already illegal to do all the things people have mentioned here as negative effects.  Any new regulations wouldn't make it any easier to punish people for doing what is already illegal and punishable.

?? 

 

 

right now if someone flies a drone over an airport and the only evidence the authorities have is that they own a drone that looks similar, then there isn't much they can do.  However if they introduce new regulations that mean drones have to have GPS recorders or some sort of constant radio identification beacon on them, and they find you and yours doesn't then even though they can't prove it was you flying it over an airfield they can still ping you for not having the beacon or GPS or whatever new regulation they wish to apply.   Given how serious authorities take aviation don't be at all surprised if things do get that regulated and the punishments severe.

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This was posted to the UK Subreddit yesterday, pretty funny stuff

 

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someone is pissed Brexit is not advancing and decided to stop the migrants from coming in to the UK. Build the wall, make UK great again ?

.

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12 minutes ago, Rupe said:

This was posted to the UK Subreddit yesterday, pretty funny stuff

 

 

I seen that and never made the link until now lmao 

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3 hours ago, asus killer said:

someone is pissed Brexit is not advancing and decided to stop the migrants from coming in to the UK. Build the wall, make UK great again ?

I realize that you're making a joke, but I wouldn't even be surprised if this was an extremist anti-foreigner domestic terrorist.

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20 hours ago, Drak3 said:

Maybe we just get @knightslugger to shoot them down.

shooting drones is a felony since they are now classified as aircraft. IT would be no different if you were shooting at a low flying Cessna (minus the manslaughter charge).

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2 minutes ago, knightslugger said:

shooting drones is a felony since they are now classified as aircraft. 

And what happens to aircraft that refuse to leave restricted air zones? They get shot down.

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25 minutes ago, Drak3 said:

And what happens to aircraft that refuse to leave restricted air zones? They get shot down.

yeah that's different.

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4 hours ago, Rupe said:

This was posted to the UK Subreddit yesterday, pretty funny stuff

 

Any British person will instantly know that is a fake from Google Satellite view. You know how? It's *not* raining. XD

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4 hours ago, asus killer said:

Build the wall, make UK great again ?

And if the wall doesn't get funded, shut down the government. Win-win IMO.

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6 hours ago, mr moose said:

?? 

 

 

right now if someone flies a drone over an airport and the only evidence the authorities have is that they own a drone that looks similar, then there isn't much they can do.  However if they introduce new regulations that mean drones have to have GPS recorders or some sort of constant radio identification beacon on them, and they find you and yours doesn't then even though they can't prove it was you flying it over an airfield they can still ping you for not having the beacon or GPS or whatever new regulation they wish to apply.   Given how serious authorities take aviation don't be at all surprised if things do get that regulated and the punishments severe.

Because those doing illegal things don't unplug the GPS for one day? XD

Yeah, you can make all drones illegal, then imprison anyone with a drone. That kinda thing can work... to some degree of "work".

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