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US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-have-what-it-takes? dept.
coondoggie writes "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the results of the program — called the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public, which, considering how involved the actual public may be with these drones is unfortunate."
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US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones

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  • RoboCop? (Score:5, Funny)

    by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @10:26PM (#41484669)

    Can't be much more than a decade away, at this rate...

    • by gagol (583737)
      Have you seen THX1138?
      • They are just looking to hire more drones to replace the ones they fire for stealing peoples stuff or transporting/letting contraband go through security checkpoints.

        Of course, they only get fairly stupid people that don't understand that being called a 'drone' is an insult applying for jobs.

      • Have you seen THX1138?

        Don't have to - you can hear it from a mile away...

    • Re:RoboCop? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:27PM (#41484895) Journal

      Can't be much more than a decade away, at this rate...

      The very idea! If you'll remember, Robocop was the internally-disliked less profitable alternative to the dual use ED-209, and was even nominally under the jurisdiction of a civilian police force that he ends up saving from privatization... He even uses nonlethal force once or twice.

      I, um, don't think that's exactly the trajectory that our use of attack robots is on.

  • US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones

    Try the Phandroid Forums.

  • Security Knowledge __ Electronic _
  • The best thing about all this is I'll probably be dead from old age before they get too popular. Is this really what We the People want? I sure as fuck don't.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      A remarkable number of people completely trust their government. I'm still not sure who these strange folks are, but I regularly get the argument (for example) that the thoroughly benevolent and just TSA is using naked body scanners not to enrich Michael Chertoff or give agents cheap thrills but to protect us from terrorism (number of terrorists caught using these scanners: 0).

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Are you kidding? With the rate that they've been buying drones (not to mention local police departments and the military), the only way you'll be dead before they "get too popular" is if you're already in your mid 70s.

      And, like the best of DHS to date, these will be used to terrorize evil teenagers engaging in low-level copyright infringement and people exercising their right to assemble and protest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:01PM (#41484817)

    Robotic Aircraft for the Public's Enhanced Safety (RAPES). Just like these agencies do to civil liberties.

  • by TigerPlish (174064) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:12PM (#41484851)

    Stinger. [wikipedia.org]

    For when ye granpappy's olde side-by-side 12-gauge isn't enough.

    • by zill (1690130) on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:19PM (#41484867)

      Unit cost: $38,000

      A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

      • A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

        Weren't we giving these away not too long ago to certain people under the guise of helping them fight the Big Bad Bear? I doubt those people paid MSRP for them.

        OK, so it was long ago.. man, time flies.

        Didn't we get some of those back recently, pointy-end first?

        • by jamstar7 (694492)

          A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

          Weren't we giving these away not too long ago to certain people under the guise of helping them fight the Big Bad Bear? I doubt those people paid MSRP for them.

          OK, so it was long ago.. man, time flies.

          Didn't we get some of those back recently, pointy-end first?

          The American taxpayer still had to buy the damned things. The whole Afghan-Soviet war cost us what, a couple billion when it was all in? And of course we never *admitted* to it, either.

      • A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

        Just thought of this... sshhhhh, don't give DHS any more ideas -- model rocketeers into the really big stuff were being hounded by Ashcroft's Asshat Brigade out of fear that someone could.. build something like a Stinger. Or worse. Out of commonly-available parts.

      • by BlueStrat (756137)

        Unit cost: $38,000

        A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

        Well, something like the Qassam rocket is DIY-able, but it's unguided, wildly inaccurate, and not good for much but terrorist attacks against a population center.

        Probably the best bet would be a RC quad-rotor carrying Semtex for a practical DIY guided weapon. Range, speed, and altitude would be limited, ditto the practical carrying capacity.

        Strat

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Drug interdiction helicopters were being shot down in the late 1990s with .50 BMG rifles and other large calibers in Southern Ky, Northern Tn. Drones are a smaller target but if they are low enough and enough lead is flung at them they'll keep them high enough to reduce their effectiveness.

    • That is an even better acronym. it is a MANPADS Man-Portable Air-Defense System.

      • That is an even better acronym. it is a MANPADS Man-Portable Air-Defense System.

        MANPADS brings forth images of combating... anal leakage.

        *shrug* Whoever came up with that deusy of an acronym should have their head examined.. "MANPAD.. for when things get un-Dependable!"

        Aw what the hell do I know about comedy, it's o' dark thirty and I'm still up... x.x

    • by Pecisk (688001)

      And for what reason why do you think you would need that?

      Ohh, I see *á--eh* evil government. Carry on. Don't forget to take your meds :) Seriously, this is getting old. Geeks used to know better than this.

      • Because -our- government would never abuse these drones to spy on innocent Americans, or use them for crowd control, or, even, shoot at Americans placed on some anti-terrorist list of targets. Never happen, right...?
    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      For when ye granpappy's olde side-by-side 12-gauge isn't enough.

      There is 10-gauge, you know - might come in handy on those occasions when your local blackmarket arms dealer just won't pick up the phone...

  • I wouldn't bet against it
  • (TAARREEO) Turrets Armed Against Roving Robotic Espionage with Exploding Ordinance.

  • by swell (195815) <jabberwock@@@poetic...com> on Thursday September 27, 2012 @11:47PM (#41484957)

    "Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS)"

    Ah, "Public Safety"! Can't you just see it now? Robot helicopters intelligently lifting flood victims from rooftops, rescuing kittens from treetops, spraying killer bee swarms with sleep inducing chemicals. They'll come to the aid of lost hikers, climbers and avalanche victims. They will patrol for lost boaters and surveil and protect tagged endangered species from predators- human or other. Their eye in the sky will alert emergency services of serious auto accidents, fires, or weather conditions. They will survey bridge structures and other critical infrastructure for damage, weakness and risk of failure. Their sensors will give us early warning of radiation leaks, chemical spills, dangerous pollutants, and excess allergens.

    They will be our Public Safety angel!
    I'm sure this is what our beneficent government has in mind, right?

    • by Pecisk (688001)

      And there are indications that they won't do that because of....?

      I understand, you are being sarcastic because you just want to sound cool and get some cheap mod points, but honestly, why they couldn't do all these things?

      Ahhh, someone from secret government agency can use them for their devil ways. Well, they can use *anything* for their evil secret ways already, some of them much more effective than flying drones.

      All tech are tools - they can be used for good or for bad. I don't see how flying drones woul

      • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday September 28, 2012 @02:21AM (#41485465)

        All tech are tools - they can be used for good or for bad. I don't see how flying drones would hurt, if all flying safety protocols are in place and working. If there are technical issues - let's talk about them. Please leave 'omg there's drone out there to bomb me in my homeland' discussion out of this, because, well, it won't work.

        Agreed, tech is just tools and toys. Problem is, this tech is going to be controlled by people raised on Nintendo warfare, supervised by people with no oversight and no possibility of dismissal by ballot box. It's not the tech we're worried about, it's the people behind the tech that we worry about. Even if they're a bunch of unicorn huggers when this gets deployed, who's to say the next bunch won't be unicorn barbequers? What guarantee do we have of that? Hell, we have problems making sure the Federal alphabet agencies get proper fucking search warrants these days, and those in and of themselves are not lethal, it's the agents behind the guns. And you want to hand those bozos toys that are potentially lethal to human beings? Without oversight???? Without the public having recourse and redress?

        Dude, put down the pipe already and turn yourself in. You're insufficiently paranoid to survive in today's politico-economic climate.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Can't you just see it now? Robot helicopters intelligently lifting flood victims from rooftops, rescuing kittens from treetops, spraying killer bee swarms with sleep inducing chemicals. They'll come to the aid of lost hikers, climbers and avalanche victims. They will patrol for lost boaters and surveil and protect tagged endangered species from predators- human or other. Their eye in the sky will alert emergency services of serious auto accidents, fires, or weather conditions. They will survey bridge structures and other critical infrastructure for damage, weakness and risk of failure. Their sensors will give us early warning of radiation leaks, chemical spills, dangerous pollutants, and excess allergens.

      I can see it. So can you.

      How else could you have come up with so so many plausible scenarios within the space of a single paragraph?

    • by alexgieg (948359)

      "Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS)"

      There's an "e" missing there. They should have gone with "Robotic Aircraft for Public Electronic Safety".

    • The acronym formed from "Robotic Aircraft for Public Enforcement" might be more accurate...

  • When I die, I'm getting my body cremated (just in case).

  • how long before you cannot turn the volume on the tv down?
    • by NikeHerc (694644)
      police state in the title of your post reminded me of a quote from "The Man Who Broke Purple" by Ronald Clark:

      "The first important change in organization came in 1949 with the creation of the Armed Forces Security Agency, which, as its name implies, was responsible for collecting and disseminating intelligence at the strategic level for all services. So well did the new system work that three years later it was decided to expand the organization into the newly named National Security Agency, the octopus th

  • Much like how the U.S. government has seemingly gone over the top with airline security, drones is likely going be the next security threat requiring a very aggressive response to protect buildings, and more to the point, the power-elite from assassination.

    To digress a bit, airline security seems over the top until one realizes it's not to protect the passengers, but rather the important structures full of important people the planes could potentially fly into.

    I expect likewise will be the response to drone

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "..To digress a bit, airline security seems over the top until one realizes it's not to protect the passengers, but rather the important structures full of important people the planes could potentially fly into..."

      As someone who has worked in this field, I would like to correct your comments slightly.

      It is a mistake to think that the security industry is primarily in the business of PROTECTING anybody. It's primarily in the business of maintaining itself in gainful employment. This applies both to the priva

  • But some goddamn wookie keeps blowing up all of mine!
  • Really? Safety? That's the angle they're working?

    If there's anything I've learned in life with the many jobs I've had and the situations I've been in, safety is a secondary concern of Americans. When the DHS requests something like this, it should raise some eyebrows. After all, they groped my junk at the airport last I was there. Privacy is of no consequence to them... in the name of "safety".

  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Friday September 28, 2012 @01:33AM (#41485311) Homepage Journal
    Ransacking Americans, Pretext Security
    Rogue Authoritarians for Perpetual Surveillance
    Royalty Aerially Patrolling Serfs
    Rapacious Airborne Police Squads
    Rapidly Ascending Poop Slinger ?
  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Friday September 28, 2012 @01:44AM (#41485331)

    Some jokes just write themselves...

  • There are several completely different missions for different types of UAVs. The common problem is airspace coordination, which seems to be what this is mostly about.

    First, there's a role for little model-sized RC helicopters and quadrotors for local fire and police work. This is mostly for situations when you really need to look down on an emergency scene, or fly into it. As long as they stay below 500 feet AGL and under the weight limits for ultralights, the FAA doesn't regulate them. In terms of co

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "The border patrol people want something more like existing combat UAVs, with lots of range and good sensors."

      The Border Patrol should be a military mission anyway, if the idea is to stop intrusion.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      Something like this would be invaluable to the Coast Guard. Having a resource that could maintain a search for extended periods with sensors capable of spotting distressed vessels or even the IR signature of someone in the water would save hundreds of lives a year. Once located then they could send a manned A/C to assist.
  • The vision of robot coming to help you reminded me of Robert Sheckley's Prospector’s Special

  • That's easy. All DHS needs to do is borrow a few from some of the busier DMV offices.
  • Well hell, if they want drones, lets have drones. Lets have Civilian drones!. We can follow the cops, feds, congressmen, celebrities, all from the safety and comfort of a computer terminal while a 1,000$ DIY drone snaps pictures, sends video, etc. We could do stuff like route police patrols on google maps, follow government drones around and see what they are up to. Drones could deliver pizza and chinese food, dry cleaning, heck, the sky really would be the limit !! Drones for everybody!!!!!

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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