Open season on new generation of small UAVs?

We've all seen many changes in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology over the past several years. We've witnessed the evolution of UAVs as purely reconnaissance aircraft of many different shapes and sizes, to hybrid reconnaissance and attack unmanned aircraft, and soon we will see the first all-fighter UAVs operating from aircraft carriers.

Now we're on the verge of a new fundamental change in the development and use of UAVs, and I don't think everyone's going to like it. Air traffic management experts in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Washington are preparing a new rule this year that would open up vast new opportunities for operating small UAVs in civil airspace.

This is good news for UAV developers, who have labored under sometimes-difficult FAA rules that often require special FAA certifications to operate even small and simple UAVs from parking lots and back yards. It might not be such good news for thieves and fugitives, as well as for anyone who values privacy in an ever-more-intrusive world.

FAA officials say the new UAV regulations, which would make it easier to operate these small aircraft, could be a boon for law enforcement to conduct surveillance, traffic patrols, and other aerial work to replace or augment far-more-expensive manned helicopters.

Those who also could benefit are remote sensing companies, which could enhance satellite imagery with photo data taken from small UAVs, farmers who could use small UAVs to identify areas in their fields that need extra water or fertilizer, and even hobbyists designing new kinds of inexpensive sensor payloads.

Those small sensor payloads are worrying some folks. With enhanced access to airborne sensors, privacy advocates say the wrong kinds of eyes in the sky might be checking up on the wrong kinds of people. Put small UAVs in the hands of the Paparazzi, and what happens to privacy? Think about celebrities who own large estates with well-guarded perimeters against prying eyes.

Some, undoubtedly, will take matters into their own hands, and this is where the situation could get a little awkward. Last month at a privately owned plantation in South Carolina, owners sponsored a pigeon shoot for an invited group of hunters. An animal rights group, taking exception to this kind of event, tried to photograph the pigeon shoot using a UAV.

The presence of the UAV caused the shooting party to disperse quickly, since few, if any, of those in attendance wanted to become targets of animal rights advocates. Before all was said and done that day, a shotgun blast from the cover of nearby trees knocked the animal rights group UAV out of the sky, causing it to crash on a roadway close by. This, in turn, caused all kinds of outcry about the alleged recklessness of discharging a firearm near a public roadway, but the point was made.

I'm wondering if the upcoming FAA rules on small UAVs will make it open season for blasting these tiny aircraft out of the sky over private property. Without a doubt, the proliferation of privately operated UAVs will open up some pointed legal questions about who controls the airspace above private property.

Furthermore, it will open up some questions about the extent to which citizens on their own property can protect their privacy from prying sensor payloads on a new generation of small UAVs. What kinds of defenses might private property owners be allowed to use against intrusive UAVs? Might a private counter-UAV technology industry spring up?

I realize the FAA is trying to put a lot of issues to rest with its upcoming new rulemaking, but it's going to open up a can of worms, as well. Will state departments of fish and game establish open seasons for small UAVs? Let the lawsuits begin.

More Military & Aerospace Electronics Current Issue Articles
More Military & Aerospace Electronics Archives Issue Articles



Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

CHAMP-FX4 6U OpenVPX Virtex-7 FPGA Processor Card

The CHAMP-FX4 is the flagship 6U product in Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions’ family of user-prog...

PMC-E2001 Audio/Acoustic Waveform Generating PMC Card

PMC-E2001 Delta-sigma PMC features 16-bit resolution with 8 Analog Outputs and 4 Analog Inputs wi...

VPX3-453 3U VPX Virtex-6/8640D Digital Signal Processor

The Curtiss-Wright VPX3-453 is a high performance 3U VPX DSP and FPGA processor card that combine...

General Micro "Horizon" C299

The C299 Horizon is a third generation, 6U cPCI SBC module based on GMS’ upgradable CPU technolog...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

UAS, UAV and Ground Based Robot Antennas

Cobham Antenna Systems have designed and developed a range of antennas for use on UAV, UAS and gr...

Low size, weight, and power (low SWaP) stabilized imaging systems for small manned and unmanned systems Alticam 09MWIR2

Designed for small unmanned aircraft systems. Gyro-stabilized gimbal system featuring mid-wave in...

Electronic Warfare VPX Products

The VPX product line includes three products: Modular Quad IF Up and Down Converter, Modular Dire...

Interpoint™ MTR Series™ 50 Volt

The MTR Series™ MTR 50, 28 volt dc-dc converter offers up to 30 watts of output power from single...

Related Companies

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

General Micro Systems Inc

Since 1979, General Micro Systems has been providing the most diverse line of single-board computers in the industry....

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...

Delta Digital Video

Designs and manufactures video compression and scan conversion products for aerospace applications. Develops standard...

GE Intelligent Platforms

Provides embedded computing solutions. Products include single-board computers, networking products, avionics interfa...

Advanced Microwave Products

Designs and manufactures microwave transmitters and receivers for military, UVS, UAV, UGV, and surveillance applicati...

UAVDirect

UAVDirect is a provider of unmanned aerial vehicles specifically designed for aerial photography, aerial cinematograp...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP3SP5F...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applications in...

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed producti...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for bond...

CURTISS-WRIGHT CONGRATULATES NORTHROP GRUMMAN ON SUCCESSFUL FIRST FLIGHT OF SECOND MQ-4C TRITON UAS

Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) o...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solution T...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fully i...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (October 13-...

Webcasts

Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

April 2015
Volume 26, Issue 4
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE