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H.R. 658: RISE OF THE DRONES (and musical instruments on commercial airliners)

r4dr3zr4dr3z Registered User regular
edited February 2013 in Debate and/or Discourse
Someone on Facebook posted an article about how great it is that this thing passed. We're now allowed to carry musical instruments as carry-ons on airplanes, no questions asked.

Someone else pointed out that this only passed by a vote of 248-169. It was mostly opposed by Democrats. The Senate was more even in its support.

It was then that I actually took the time to read some of the bill. I noticed this little tidbit:
H. R. 658—63
SEC. 332. INTEGRATION OF CIVIL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS
INTO NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM.
(a) REQUIRED PLANNING FOR INTEGRATION
(1) COMPREHENSIVE PLAN.—Not later than 270 days after
the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transpor-
tation, in consultation with representatives of the aviation
industry, Federal agencies that employ unmanned aircraft sys-
tems technology in the national airspace system, and the
unmanned aircraft systems industry, shall develop a com-
prehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil
unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.

And this:
(b) RULEMAKING
.—Not later than 18 months after the date
on which the plan required under subsection (a)(1) is submitted
to Congress under subsection (a)(4), the Secretary shall publish
in the Federal Register—
(1) a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that
will allow for civil operation of such systems in the national
airspace system, to the extent the systems do not meet the
requirements for expedited operational authorization under sec-
tion 333 of this Act;

Indeed, if you search for H.R. 658 on Google you'll find all kinds of anti-drone rhetoric about how this bill paves the way for 30,000 drones to be deployed throughout the United States. How they came up with 30,000, I don't know. To me, it sounds like this is simply paving the way to test drones and get them integrated with the FAA's flight control systems. There will probably be a separate bill for actual drone deployment. Then again, I'm not a lawyer; what do I know?

What was more interesting to me was how divided the party lines were, and the fact that Obama signed this with Democrat opposition. Was this just a case of horse trading so he could get what he wanted with some other bill? Or does Obama really believe in drones? To me, it seems that if we never test for the feasibility of drones, then we never have to worry about drones being deployed here. Obama signing a bill to authorize this type of testing to me means that he supports drones. Maybe we can trust Obama not to abuse them, but who says that the next administration won't be so good?

r4dr3z on

Posts

  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    To me, that reads much more like a bill to deal with non-governmental drone use, principally by hobbyists and companies. Laws regarding these tend to be incredibly ambiguous due to the fact that regular joe hasn't had access to this gear until extremely recently, and now anyone with a couple hundred bucks to spare can get in on the action (I've been looking up local laws and retailers myself, wanting to get into the hobby, and there are some great resources out there nowadays).

    Even if it was meant for governmental drones, this does nothing but say that regulations should be developed for them, not what those regulations will be. I see absolutely nothing to be surprised about. If anything, it's a sensible move to integrate a growing technology with existing agencies and regulations.

  • r4dr3zr4dr3z Registered User regular
    Then why the Democratic opposition?

  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    Know that the day of TACOCOPTER is NIGH!

    Evigilant
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I can't say I was privvy to the internal party discussions on the law, I'm afraid.

    Maybe they would prefer for this to remain a state matter (which in my opinion would be suboptimal, but I'd never been one particularly for states rights), or want this to be handled at a later time. Or they just really don't like musicians.

    This is two paragraphs. If what's in the OP is the entire section related to drones, I can't possibly read any ill intent into this.

    Suriko on
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Democrats aren't exactly privacy hounds these days.

    What will drones be used for? Probably border patrol.

    Do I want drones used inside the US? No.

    Do I think this is something to lose sleep over? No.

    Should you write your Congresscritter about your concerns? Yes.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • r4dr3zr4dr3z Registered User regular
    But my Congresscritters were for it or abstained.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Actually, "civil operation" doesn't usually mean law enforcement and it certainly doesn't mean the federal government.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    r4dr3z wrote: »
    But my Congresscritters were for it or abstained.

    If they get enough letters, you'd be surprised how quick their tune changes. Remember when that dumb internet bill passed last year? Exactly.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    Actually, "civil operation" doesn't usually mean law enforcement and it certainly doesn't mean the federal government.

    Hence, hobbyists and companies. As far as I can find, laws in the US are about as patchy as those in Australia for companies and hobbyists using drones and FPV tech. A unified framework for the FAA to deal with this is a Good Thing.

    AManFromEarthzagdrob
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2013
    For an example of hobbyist drones:



    Many agencies and companies are finding a lot of use for them too:


    At their simplest, hobbyist drones are a matter of taking a remote control plane (ideally one that flies in a reliably stable manner with a large amount of lift, such as the Easystar), putting on a camera and a transmitter for the video, and getting a ground receiver to receive the video (and optionally a head-mounted display to see the video easily). With this setup, you can sit somewhere and fly a drone sometimes miles out, with a view as if you were the pilot of a plane and sitting in the cockpit.

    This can be extended much further, with custom antennas, high-end transmitters for both flight and video, on-screen displays (muxed into the video signal as it leaves the plane, looking much like a jet fighter), and control boards that give the ability to automatically fly between GPS coordinates. People have reached ranges of miles with some powerful transmitters, and there are some amazing videos around Youtube from them. It's very much a hobby that's (somewhat) cheap to get into, but can be extended a lot. Most of this gear was too bulky and expensive until a few years ago, so the community is very young and many are experimenting wildly.

    The uses of these for professionals is pretty obvious, such as inspections of high-up equipment, use of infrared cameras or other sensors to pick up things humans couldn't, mapping, etc. Unfortunately, given poor regulations right now, a lot of this area is in a grey zone, and oftentimes nobody really quite knows if a particular use or tech is legal or not.

    Drones are a very cool technology. It's just a shame that all talk about them is warfare, rather than civilian use. I expect this will radically change in the next decade as their many uses become more obvious and widespread, necessitating government action (such as this bill).

    Edit: One final video, one of my favourites for FPV flying:

    Suriko on
  • r4dr3zr4dr3z Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I prefer this drone technology:

    r4dr3z on
  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    I wasn't kidding about the tacocopter.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    This sounds like a bill to ensure that standards are set, and hardware generated for sale, to allow companies and hobbyists to fly drones while avoid other air traffic. This is something I'm all for. Right now there's basically nothing to ensure that these things aren't smacking into each other, or into light planes or helicopters, and I'd really like that not to be the case as more people realize you can get into this hobby for a couple hundred bucks.

    Not to mention that there a fair number of useful things one could do with drones if their operation was clearly legal and safe. Traffic monitoring and routing of cars could be an amusing, and potentially profitable, thing to do. If you can make it cheap enough, you could replace couriers with them. If you can make them really cheap, you can probably do a bunch of interesting atmospheric research. Hell, given that they're cheaper than real planes you can probably get some decent research out of them at current prices.

    Actually, on that note, there's a research group here trying to sort out how terrain affects airflow into wildfires and one of the things that's killing them is a lack of data. I would bet they haven't considered using drones to gather data, but it's a nearly perfect use for them if they can get some sensors clear of the wonky airflow the drone generates.

    Feral
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    There's also privacy concerns. A drone is a hell of a way to peep into people's apartments and shit.

  • LanzLanz Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    There's also privacy concerns. A drone is a hell of a way to peep into people's apartments and shit.

    You could require GPS tracking on them that logs their location corresponding to times of day. That way, if say, PizzaCopter Joe's operator starts spying on people, there's a record of the drone loitering around a location. Would serve as a deterrent and help any peeping victims in taking legal recourse to back up their claims
    .

    waNkm4k.jpg?1
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    I for one welcome our drone overlords.

    No, really. I agree that there are possible abuses, but the legitimate civil applications are pretty staggering. Land surveying, geological research, traffic control, weather research, and a whole crapload of things nobody's even thought of yet.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    shrykemcdermott
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    Lh96QHG.png
    shrykeKnuckle Dragger
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    how long until i can use my second amendment rights to mount an AR-15 on a drone

    you know for home defense

    override367 on
  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    Feral wrote: »
    I for one welcome our drone overlords.

    No, really. I agree that there are possible abuses, but the legitimate civil applications are pretty staggering. Land surveying, geological research, traffic control, weather research, and a whole crapload of things nobody's even thought of yet.

    Searching for lost people.

    As long as I can design them to look like the Manhacks from Half-Life.

  • MillMill Registered User regular
    Yeah, if I'm reading this right, seems more like they want to make sure that we do get regulations in for drones sooner than later.

    There really are many legitimate, non-right violating uses for drones within the US. It'd be nice to have some sort of framework to allow people to start looking into those uses, while also getting a framework in place to discourage certain uses that do border on the violation of rights: being used to spy on people within their own homes [I'm not just worried about the police doing this shit, plenty of shitheads without a badge or a security clearance that would do it just because] or mounting any sort of armament on them. I'm sure there are a few other things we don't want people doing with their drones that are slipping my mind, that may or may not impede on the rights of others.

    Feral
  • ShivahnShivahn Unaware of her barrel shifter privilege Eastern coastal temptressRegistered User regular
    Mill wrote: »
    Yeah, if I'm reading this right, seems more like they want to make sure that we do get regulations in for drones sooner than later.

    There really are many legitimate, non-right violating uses for drones within the US. It'd be nice to have some sort of framework to allow people to start looking into those uses, while also getting a framework in place to discourage certain uses that do border on the violation of rights: being used to spy on people within their own homes [I'm not just worried about the police doing this shit, plenty of shitheads without a badge or a security clearance that would do it just because] or mounting any sort of armament on them. I'm sure there are a few other things we don't want people doing with their drones that are slipping my mind, that may or may not impede on the rights of others.

    It occurs to me that a lot of this might be best handled regionally. I live outside of city limits on a mountain in the woods, which obviously might need different rules from the suburbs in the valley.

    Mostly I just want to be able to program something to fly around taking pictures because it's awesome and hard to explore on foot.

    And Google's satellite view is less awesome than making a robot do it for me.

    Geth
  • Knuckle DraggerKnuckle Dragger Explosive Ovine Disposal Registered User regular
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.
    I suspect there might be more benefit to using them for the equivalent of last mile stuff. Basically, from the UPS hub in town to a house. You've probably got to get the cost down by 2 orders of magnitude to make it worthwhile though (note: slightly educated guessing based on panel truck and drone prices). But if you need something light delivered right away, possibly with verification that it went to the correct person, a drone is a great method. So, maybe something sort of like netflix or redbox and definitely something like bike couriers (pending cost structure issues).

    Actually, since we're talking about things we want from drones: I really want a drone that can fly a couple hundred feet in front of my car and tell me if there are deer about to walk onto the damn interstate.

  • Knuckle DraggerKnuckle Dragger Explosive Ovine Disposal Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.
    I suspect there might be more benefit to using them for the equivalent of last mile stuff. Basically, from the UPS hub in town to a house. You've probably got to get the cost down by 2 orders of magnitude to make it worthwhile though (note: slightly educated guessing based on panel truck and drone prices). But if you need something light delivered right away, possibly with verification that it went to the correct person, a drone is a great method. So, maybe something sort of like netflix or redbox and definitely something like bike couriers (pending cost structure issues).

    Doing last mile by drone would require the authorization of remote-controlled aircraft operating at head height in residential zones...not going to happen
    Actually, since we're talking about things we want from drones: I really want a drone that can fly a couple hundred feet in front of my car and tell me if there are deer about to walk onto the damn interstate.

    I'd just go with one of the IR/thermal systems they are putting out.

  • DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    I think the applications for cargo transport are in having the current transport flights go unmanned, because, well, right now the only people in the plane are the flight crew, so why not?

    I mean, on a passenger flight, you can't very well have the passengers on the plane but the pilots on the ground; nobody will put up with that.

    In terms of military drones: very few of the current ones are anything near what the FAA considers airworthy. To my knowledge, the Global Hawk is the only one that went through enough certification to be flown anywhere near normal air traffic and it ended up costing NG an absolute shitload of money. Generally if a Predator or whatever is taking off from the US (for, e.g., a ferry flight to a forward air base) they need to clear all the air traffic near it. Which isn't a system that scales well.

    Knuckle Dragger
  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.
    I suspect there might be more benefit to using them for the equivalent of last mile stuff. Basically, from the UPS hub in town to a house. You've probably got to get the cost down by 2 orders of magnitude to make it worthwhile though (note: slightly educated guessing based on panel truck and drone prices). But if you need something light delivered right away, possibly with verification that it went to the correct person, a drone is a great method. So, maybe something sort of like netflix or redbox and definitely something like bike couriers (pending cost structure issues).

    Doing last mile by drone would require the authorization of remote-controlled aircraft operating at head height in residential zones...not going to happen
    Actually, since we're talking about things we want from drones: I really want a drone that can fly a couple hundred feet in front of my car and tell me if there are deer about to walk onto the damn interstate.

    I'd just go with one of the IR/thermal systems they are putting out.
    I haven't seen too many that are in your line of sight while driving, and those seem to require fairly expensive cars[1]. Some of the roads I end up on also have a bunch of semi-blind curves, which the onboard systems don't help with.

    1: given that all I really want is for it to make a noise when I might want to slow down, this isn't actually all that much of an issue other than that you'd need to write some custom software for it. You'd more or less be looking at that for the drone anyway, but in the drone you get to piggyback off some work you'd be doing anyway.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.

    Who cares about the economics of logistical efficiency when I can have my newspaper delivered by a hovering robot like in the Jetsons?

  • Knuckle DraggerKnuckle Dragger Explosive Ovine Disposal Registered User regular
    Syrdon wrote: »
    Syrdon wrote: »
    I wonder how this'll effect air shipping.

    Using drones to deliver packages to shipping stations from airports, instead of trucks.

    Dial back the futurism there, that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

    My truck can haul over 20 tonnes in any weather, and can operate point to point rather than hub and spur. I'm not worried about losing freight to the UAV transport market anytime soon.
    I suspect there might be more benefit to using them for the equivalent of last mile stuff. Basically, from the UPS hub in town to a house. You've probably got to get the cost down by 2 orders of magnitude to make it worthwhile though (note: slightly educated guessing based on panel truck and drone prices). But if you need something light delivered right away, possibly with verification that it went to the correct person, a drone is a great method. So, maybe something sort of like netflix or redbox and definitely something like bike couriers (pending cost structure issues).

    Doing last mile by drone would require the authorization of remote-controlled aircraft operating at head height in residential zones...not going to happen
    Actually, since we're talking about things we want from drones: I really want a drone that can fly a couple hundred feet in front of my car and tell me if there are deer about to walk onto the damn interstate.

    I'd just go with one of the IR/thermal systems they are putting out.
    I haven't seen too many that are in your line of sight while driving, and those seem to require fairly expensive cars[1]. Some of the roads I end up on also have a bunch of semi-blind curves, which the onboard systems don't help with.

    1: given that all I really want is for it to make a noise when I might want to slow down, this isn't actually all that much of an issue other than that you'd need to write some custom software for it. You'd more or less be looking at that for the drone anyway, but in the drone you get to piggyback off some work you'd be doing anyway.

    Because I am a Republican, and therefore bathe in the remnants of crushed dreams, I will also point out that the required separation distance between aircraft kills this idea. And you are going to need a way for the thing to ID deer from several hundred feet in the air (which pretty much brings us back to the thermal systems).

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    We were looking at thermal anyway for it (it's the easiest way to make deer high contrast), it's just a matter of where the camera is. On separation, everything I've ever found says that, provided you're in unregulated airspace (most of the time this is simply anywhere below 700 feet) you're not required to carry anything and you're only required to avoid doing things that are manifestly unsafe. Required separation mostly applies to ATC in controlled airspace.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    "It's just a little pig blood! It's not like it was two consenting adults having sex somewhere with a reasonable expectation of privacy, or we'd have to legislate the shit out of it."

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