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Government Security Science Technology

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

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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  • 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.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@po[ ]c.com ['eti' in gap]> 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 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.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.