Open frontier of drone technology

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Developments in the drone world are amazing. A few articles recently that caught my eye.

2/9 – Behind the Black – Oregon as seen by a drone – Watch the eye-popping video produced by a drone. No helicopter could produce those views. This is a foretaste of what drones will do:


2/1 – Popular Mechanics – Dutch Police Are Teaching Eagles How to Capture Renegade Drones

Here is a decidedly low-tech solution to trespassing drones: train an eagle to capture them. Raptors are already known to go after drones in the wild. They instinctively know to hold on to anything they capture. Very cool.

1/31 – The Guardian – The innovators: the swarm of sea drones sniffing out drugs and mines – Try this on for size: a swarm of football-sized underwater drones listening for the “ping” of a downed airplane or inspecting the hulls of ships. Prototype is in development.

Move the idea forward a bit and you see a swarm of drones checking container ships for contraband. Go forward further and you see swarms of attack drones planting a number of small shaped charges. Think through to countermeasures and you see a swarm of defender drones countering the attack drones by identifying & removing what was placed.

3/17 – CNN – Air Force faces shortage of drone and jet pilots A senior Air Force general testified to Congress that the Air Force needs another 500 fighter pilots and is short 200 drone pilots. In addition the Air Force wants to increase the number of drone pilots by 300 so that actually is a shortage of 500 drone pilots.

In a variation of the story I’ve heard at different times since I was in AFROTC, the drone industry is recruiting active duty pilots. That is drawing officers away from active duty with higher pay and presumably better work hours.

Commander of the Air Combat Command says the number of drone flights has increased by factor of five since 2006.

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