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Preparing Countermeasures For Terror Attacks Using Drones ( 102

An anonymous reader writes: You can add terrorist-controlled drones to the list of dangers we need to be prepared for, says the Oxford Research Group. Its new report contains information about over 200 current and upcoming unmanned aerial, ground and marine systems, and evaluates their capabilities for delivering payloads (e.g. explosive devices), imaging capabilities (e.g. for reconnaissance purposes), and their general capabilities. Even though the report notes that commercial drones have a limited flight time, range of movement, and payload capacity, and that their operators still have to be relatively close to a potential target, the researchers are particularly worried about the possibility of drones being used as remotely controlled explosive devices. They say, "The technology of remote-control warfare is impossible to control; the ultimate defence is to address the root drivers of the threat in the first place."
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Preparing Countermeasures For Terror Attacks Using Drones

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  • Better Idea.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 12, 2016 @03:16PM (#51288881)

    Stop destabilising foreign nations and victimising populations and there won't be any terrorism (except the false flag variety, which is almost all of it stop doing that too....)

    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

      This is a red herring because international terrorism is not the root issue here. Drones are a very affordable technology that could be used by any whack-job with a desire to cause damage and pain, regardless of motives.

  • The report notes that drones work for shit in rainy and windy weather. In other words, our best defense is to amp up the global warming until hurricanes are near us at all times.

    • by tgeek ( 941867 )
      I misread the heading . . . I seriously thought it meant we were planning to use drones as our countermeasures for terror attacks . . .
    • True, since the rise of the global warming meme we have had far less trouble from these things, []
    • The report notes that drones work for shit in rainy and windy weather.

      Actually, they're not that bad. Because of their very nature, they are actually resistant to that sort of thing in a way that "normal" R/C aircraft aren't. Auto-leveling flight has been sneaking into R/C airplanes for a while, but it's typical for "drones". A 10dof sensor board will run you $10, a GPS with a nice big antenna is $10, and if you give plenty of altitude then there's little to run into. Brushless motors don't go straight to hell when water goes through them like the old brushed ones did. People

    • That's a power consideration.

      But power is not a problem : people have been making pulse-jet powered UAVs for at least a decade. (no, the video is not a UAV, but the only UAV video I could find had no audio and the best thing about pulse jet videos is the audio).

      You can make a pulse jet out of bent steel tubing. And because they're powerful, they can be heavy. Because they can run on liquid fuel, they can have endurance. They worked well enough in WWII - their main drawback was their guidance system was shit

  • TIme for some enterprising quadcopter company to get a multimillion dollar contract to design and build "drone interceptors".
  • by Koreantoast ( 527520 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2016 @03:27PM (#51288961)
    For those who are trying to hand wave the issue with a broader "well, we shouldn't do things that make people angry *tsk* *tsk*", while addressing the root drivers will help mitigate the numbers of potential incidents, in a world where people have differing opinions, you'll always have a few folks who disagree strongly enough that they may just try to do something like deliver a dangerous payload via unmanned platform. Very least, you're going to have criminal elements that are going to try and exploit this technology for recon or more direct support in committing crimes, maybe even violent support. Therefore, you're going to need this technology to some degree whether through jamming [] or even outright shooting it out of the sky [].
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It is far trickier than the current anti-drone technology implies. Consider the flight path of a drone attacking a public speaker. All hovering and manoeuvring is done at a distance to get the drone in the best position for a final run. A path as close to people as possible and just out of reach, on a direct vector as possible. That final run will be done a maximum forward speed, giving seconds as reaction time. The laser will end up being aimed at spectators heads as well as the drone, so now you have, "

  • Shotguns are still standard issue for most police patrol cars, right? Just fill em up with birdshot instead of buckshot and problem solved. It would be like skeet shooting, but instead of shooting at a clay pigeon it would be like shooting one of those explosive targets that had been catapulted into the sky.
    • I routinely fly my multi-rotor camera platforms up over 300'. Good luck with bird shot at that distance!
    • There is also that small question of what happens when a five, ten or even twenty pound object hovering from even a few dozen feet comes crashing down into a crowded street. Probably not an ideal solution, liabilities and whatnot.
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

        There is also that small question of what happens when a five, ten or even twenty pound object hovering from even a few dozen feet comes crashing down into a crowded street. Probably not an ideal solution, liabilities and whatnot.

        When they are flying IEDs they don't go crash, they just go boom.

        • When they are flying IEDs they do't go crash, they just go boom.

          However, there are no flying IEDs. The whole idea is terminally stupid - there are so many better ways to deliver explosives.

          • there are no flying IEDs. The whole idea is terminally stupid - there are so many better ways to deliver explosives.

            I'm fairly certain they all involve math, though.

  • you know: a sports arena, school, etc.
    • you know: a sports arena, school, etc.

      If you can already sneak your explosives inside a building, why do you need a drone? Just drop it and leave. Or stay, if that's your persuasion.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      you know: a sports arena

      I am actually wondering when entities like the NFL and NCAA will start using camera-equipped drones to film football games. They already have cameras mounted on rope and pulley systems for most aerial shots, but a drone would allow for much more interesting (and more available) filming angles. They've already started putting cameras in the end zone pylons, so the technology to get live broadcast quality cameras down to a size small enough for drones (and drone reliability up) can't be more than a few year

      • I was recently at a game covered by ESPN where they used a drone. It was at a smaller university with a new stadium and it appeared that a normal overhead camera wasn't in place. So, when I saw the camera-equipped drone (with ESPN logo), I assumed they would be using it to replace the cable-mounted camera. However, I'm pretty sure that it was only used for crowd shots and that it was never allowed over the field of play - ESPN just flew it over the stadium crowd. I'm guessing that there was some restric
        • So the risk of crashing a drone onto a crowd is better than risking any injury to a highly-paid sports star?
  • who really cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2016 @03:35PM (#51289041) Homepage
    Im sure for anyone who bought a "drone" 2 weeks ago at christmas, this article is neat. However fearmongering aside Terorrism in 2015 killed only 34 people in the United States, the country with the most drones. heck, in 2014 auto accidents alone killed 34,000 people here...and by comparison terorrism is almost a non-issue when pitted against heart disease, which kills 610,000 per year. Unlike terrorism, which is costly to defend against, most of the cases of heart disease in the united states that claim a life could have been prevented by simple diet and exercise. Hell, in 2013 there were 33,000 firearm related deaths in the US, almost 1000 times the number of terrorism related deaths.

    but, you know...terorrism...gotta stop those terrorists.
    • It's reasonable to suppose that fear of getting caught is a deterrent against many acts. You know that whole "if you could be invisible.." thought that people explore? Nobody ever answers "put in unpaid overtime without the boss yelling at me," or "watch rabbits up close without scaring them away."

      Drones (yes, that's the word people have collectively decided to use -- no quotes required) provide a delivery platform with large or total deniability, and that changes peoples' (largely unformalized) risk asse

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        They are not really talking about protecting the general public, they don't give a crap about the general public. This is about protecting specific people from targeted assassinations. The simplest attack, coating a drones blades with a toxin and flying it at the targets head, a very small drone but still logically very effective, the infamous poisoned blade.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2016 @06:54PM (#51290455)

      And that is exactly what reality looks like: Terrorism is not a relevant threat in the west, unless a power-hungry political class, a press serving them and a population that does not get it makes it one. The mechanism at work here is that a population in fear is easy to rule, as a population in fear is dumb.

    • by e r ( 2847683 )
      If you're including suicides in that firearm deaths figure then you're being disingenuous.
    • Terrorism is the mouse that roars.

  • Legalize Jamming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 )
    Just make it legal to jam drones. Problem solved.
    • Just make it legal to jam drones. Problem solved.

      So you have a plan for how you're going to jam GPS across a miles-wide area, but without impacting all of the other users who need it? And, you have a pretty good sense of how all "drones" use RF? Meaning, you're going to jam all of the same frequencies that mobile phones and WiFi devices use in the entire area? Please be specific.

      • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
        I think airplane pilots will be able to resort to non-GPS means of getting around. But for many drivers, they will be lost and will drive around in circles "where do I go? where do I go? where do I go?" until they run out of gas. And probably they will stall in the worst spots like middle of SF Bay Bridge (plus others in same predicament) causing massive traffic jams.
    • If it is in fact a drone, that means it is not receiving signals from an operator but flying autonomously, so a jamming signal wouldn't work.
  • Reporter: "Mister Secretary, what about the possibility of war in the Eighth Dimension?"

    Defense Secretary: "What?"
  • As loosely as the term "terrorist" is thrown around these days, they had better look out for my drone mounted nerf guns

  • Measures -> Counter Measures -> Repeat
  • If you ask me, I'd say the root threat here is the Oxford Research Group. They're the ones yelling "Phear Dronze"!
  • Do terrorists really think about using mini copters for attacks? Have they done so already? I mean, the notion of sending a suicide martyr to heaven is much more compelling and romantic than plopping bombs on a flying robot.
  • as result of car accident, industrial accident, fire, disease, crime, earthquake, meteor, and a whole number of unexpected causes which terrorism is not on that list.
  • Piloting a multirotor or fixed-wing UAV requires years of training. It takes 3 - 4 months just to learn take-off and landing.

    Being a pilot of a manned aircraft is not a transferable skill, as a pilot is not sitting in the UAV cabin and is not looking forward.

    Let them try to land an UAV hundred meters away on a certain spot. Good luck.

    If someone has got enough dedication, discipline, aptitude to become a pilot capable to take off, fly, and land an UAV he/she will not be a terrorist in the first plac
  • It is a noble idea to address the root causes of terrorism. But can it be done? In the case of the Arab nations, there is a constant cultural pressure caused by being the crossing point of European, Asian and African cultures. Then we have the over- population vs. lack of resources conflict. And on top of that, we see educational levels of a population that are dismal. All of these factors take long periods of time to deal with if they can be dealt with at all. Long term solutions mean nothing when
  • Seriously, more than a decade ago: []

    The point produced a depressing recognition. There's a logic to P2P threats that we as a society don't yet get. Like the record companies against the Internet, our first response is war. But like the record companies, that response will be either futile or self-destructive. If you can't control the supply of IDDs, then the right response is to reduce the demand for IDDs. Yet as everyone in the class understood, in the four years since Joy

Air is water with holes in it.