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Transportation News Technology

Drone Guides Fuel Shipment to Alaskan Town 140

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the tracking-terrorist-polar-bear-cell dept.
pigrabbitbear writes with an excerpt from an article at Motherboard.tv about a non-evil use for unmanned aircraft: "Ask anyone in Nome, Alaska right now how they feel about surveillance drones and you'll likely get unequivocally high praise. Had a remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft not been monitoring Bering Sea ice flows over the past week an emergency shipment of 1.3 million gallons of oil may not have reached the iced-in, snow-drifted town as soon as it did. ... The drone, which was launched from Nome's shores by University of Alaska – Fairbanks Geophysical Institute researchers, isn't the sort of eye-in-the-sky most often associated with the U.S.'s various hulking, 40-foot wing-spanning reconnaissance planes ... The Aeryon Scout micro unmanned aerial vehicle resembles a 'smoke detector with wings and legs,' according to the Anchorage Daily News, and is part and parcel of a rapidly expanding fleet of mid- to micro-sized sky robots being flown domestically for all manner of tedious or risky intelligence gathering gigs."
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Drone Guides Fuel Shipment to Alaskan Town

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  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday January 16, 2012 @06:57PM (#38719632)
    It's not the drones that people have a problem with; It's how they're used. No amount of positive publicity on their 'good' uses can erase the fact that many, if not most, law enforcement agencies envision an armada of cheap surveillance drones monitoring everyone and everyplace they decide they don't like. Protesting wall street? Drones. Add in the crowd-control microwave emitter for only an additional $2,999. How about some drones patrolling over the freeways during rush hour, equipped with a radar gun? Now an officer can write tickets for anyone speeding over a several mile stretch of road, rather than just a particular point. Only $1,599 after mail in rebate. The list goes on.
  • by Ironchew (1069966) on Monday January 16, 2012 @07:04PM (#38719700)

    I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

    Some people like to be closer to nature than others. It's a risky thing to do, but the Earth is a beautiful place, and that's fulfillment enough for those people.

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Monday January 16, 2012 @07:07PM (#38719726)
    I just wonder why someone would be willing to live in a place that is by all measures a risky place to establish a life. Why? When I think of the polar bear, the weather, the isolation and so on, I fail to see the reason why I would want to live there. Man is surely intriguing.

    Yes we are intriguing. Other people might say the same about living in a city.
    Noise level, crowding, crime, expense, risk of getting hit by a motor vehicle, etc, etc.

    To each his own.
  • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Monday January 16, 2012 @07:28PM (#38719856)

    Thermal imaging cameras are invaluable for certain engineering work.
    They can also be used to violate your rights and 'look' into your house.

    Russian journalists have used drones to get arial photos of the Moscow riots.

    And this just in Hammers used to build houses can also be used to beat people's skulls in.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday January 16, 2012 @08:19PM (#38720266)

    What's so bad about the scenarios you've listed?

    The cops surveiling Occupy protests with drones... what's supposed to be scary about that? There are already cops at the scene. Why are we supposed to be scared that they now have an extra camera angle? Is it only if they have your hypothetical microwave emitter equipped on the drone? Because if so, that's a reason to be against microwave emitters, not drones, and at any rate it's unlikely they'd ever use them. They tried to the low tech equivalent (firehoses) against civil rights protestors, and it didn't do squat for them.

    And for your other example, a more uniform enforcement of traffic laws would be a good thing. Right now they're so spottily enforced that a lot of people ignore them, and it becomes a tax by lottery. If they were enforced uniformly, it would become a bad driving tax instead, which would be preferable.

    There's nothing cops can do with drones that they can't do with helicopters. The only difference is drones are cheaper. Unless your plan to defend civil liberties relies on the cops not being able to afford enforcement, there's no reason to be worried by drones. And if your plan does rely on impoverished police departments, you've got other things to worry about.

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