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Sochi Drones Are Shooting the Olympics, Not Terrorists 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the target-aquired dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Rachel Feltman reports that drones are being used to film ski and snowboarding events at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and unlike military drones, which often look like a remote-controlled airplane, the creature floating around Sochi resembles a huge flying spider. The legs of the flying spider hold the rotors that spin around to keep it airborne. The drone then has a flight deck that holds the flight control system with GPS for navigation, sensors and receivers. The camera can be mounted in the middle or suspended below the flight deck. A drone with mounted camera can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $37,000 for a top-of-the-line Ikarus from Britain's Heliguy, which is advising broadcast clients in Sochi on using drones. That compares with the cost of a few thousand dollars an hour to rent a helicopter with pilot, not including the camera crew and equipment. Cameraman Remo Masina says he can fly a drone at up to 40 mph while transmitting a high-definition, live image and says the chances of drone crashes are close to zero when a drone is handled by an experienced pilot, because the drones are programmed to return to base at the slightest problem — such as a low battery, rough winds or a malfunction. 'There have been mishaps, however. In one case last year, a drone filming an imitation version of Spain's running of the bulls in Virginia crashed and injured a few spectators.'"
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Sochi Drones Are Shooting the Olympics, Not Terrorists

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  • Re:No Brainer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday February 21, 2014 @07:34AM (#46302879) Journal
    I find the use of the term 'drone' rather irksome because the vast majority aren't actually very automated(quadcopters and similar obviously have automated stability control, and some of the fancy ones can be handed a set of waypoints and told to make it so; but 'autonomy' is presently the realm of short-term, safety-enclosed lab environments).

    That said, I'm not sure rebranding is going to save them. This isn't a situation like NMR/MRI, where 'nuclear' is a scary word; but basically everyone is 100% onboard with better diagnostic imaging. This is a situation where the capabilities that used to require the budget for a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft and crew are falling rapidly in cost, and increasing rapidly in bang-per-buck. If somebody has preexisting suspicions of any aircraft user, or would-be aircraft user, they aren't going to be entirely pleased to hear that the people they don't trust can now do whatever it is they wish to do for less money, and thus more often and in more places, along with groups that previously didn't have access to aircraft getting in on the action.

    Precisely because the value proposition is so compelling, drones don't really need the PR boost, they'll be adopted one way or another just because they are so useful; but it's simply a fact, independent of their name, that they are so, so, very useful to a variety of groups that just don't have a warm and fuzzy reputation.

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