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Drones On Demand 49

mikejuk (1801200) writes "Gofor is a new company that is promoting the idea of drones on demand. All you have to do is use the app to request a drone and it shows you were they are and how long before one reaches your location. You want to take the ultimate selfie? Scout ahead to see if the road is clear or just find a parking space? No problem just task a drone to do the job. For the photo you simply flash your phone camera at it and it pinpoints your location for an aerial selfie. If it is scouting ahead then it shows you what awaits you via a video link. See the promo video to see how it might work. Flight of fancy? Possibly but the company claims to be operational in five US cities." I wish my car had a drone for instant scouting of traffic-jam alternates.
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Drones On Demand

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  • I mean, the internet alone is worthy of paranoia. Adding internet connected portable cameras that can easily track me down with a small sliver of information?

    Ignoring the Government Surveillance ramifications, giving some random 8 or 9 year old kid (or *insert suitable opposing government hacker here*) the capacity to tap into and take over these mobile platforms gives me shivers. I'm not saying that this is something that legislation should deal with (Thanks for cocking everything up US Gov) but where the

    • by unrtst ( 777550 )

      ... giving some random 8 or 9 year old kid ... the capacity to tap into and take over these mobile platforms gives me shivers.

      Not sure about 8 or 9, but I'm pretty sure I know what I'd be doing with them in my teens (as wrong as I know that is). In short, you're safe.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:28AM (#46803089)

    How long before the FAA stops this?

    and if some ones dies will the guy behind this do some hard time?

    • A federal judge recently ruled [] that the FAA has no authority over "small unmanned aircraft." Which effectively kills the FAA's regulations that said commercial drone use in the US was illegal. As far as liability in case of death is concerned, it'll probably be handled similarly to any other accident. If it is determined that malice, negligence, or recklessness is involved then there will probably be jail time. If it's just an unfortunate and/or unavoidable accident then probably not.
      • by ColaMan ( 37550 )

        That's a little odd. CASA here in Australia has authoritah over most aerial devices and imposes a licensing arrangement (for those using them in a commercial manner) and a restriction that they have to maintain at least 30 metres from people.

        Someone in a triathlon got whacked in the head [] just recently with a drone - the person flying it will be in a world of hurt once CASA finishes discussions with them.

        Note that if it had been some kid fooling about in the park CASA would not have been interested, but once

        • Australia has been doing drones "legally" for a whole lot longer than the U.S.

          Here, it was just forbidden for commercial use, period (well, sure, you can do it with some special paperwork and exemption certificates and hearings and....). Interesting development if it is freely legal now.

      • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:25AM (#46803253)

        Which effectively kills the FAA's regulations that said commercial drone use in the US was illegal.

        No it doesn't. The ruling affects the case at hand only -- not precedent-setting, and the matter is still under dispute with the FAA appealing.

        It is quite possible the FAA could kill this company and apply some severe penalties.

      • I distinctly remember that there are laws regulating (banning) remote controlled model planes that fly out of your range of sight. These "drones" are just remote controlled planes over greater distances and with the automatically positioning ones they can fly themselves programmatically but it is still you picking the moves it makes and your computer that does those moves for you. It is similar to a computerized controller helping you fly a model better; which existed arguably since control mechanisms 1st

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:44AM (#46803145)

    1. Do I have to specify the name of the person I want to rub out on the application site, or do I just type it into the iPhone app?
    2. Does it do a Soundex match if there is any confusion of names, or do I have to get the SSN?
    3. Does it work if he is indoors, or does he have to be outdoors?
    4. Do special rules apply if the operation crosses state lines? In California? Day or night?
    5. Do I get a choice of weapons? For style, I want a flamethrower.
    6. Will it send a confirmation text with a picture?

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:57AM (#46803191)

    I wish my car had a drone for instant scouting of traffic-jam alternates.

    You do, it's called the Waze user that is ten minutes ahead of you down the road, mixed with many road sensors reporting traffic flow rates.

    If you are using navigation many mapping applications automatically route around traffic issues (including Waze). I personally just have it up while driving, not really using navigation but just to keep an eye on traffic rates and issues. I've turned off many a highway before to avoid a Waze reported issue and taken a pretty obvious alternate route you could see at a glance on the map.

    For anyone that has not tried leaving modern mapping applications open with traffic status enabled, I highly recommend it - just get a decent car mount so it's easy to see the display. I recommend Waze in particular only because it's one of the best at taking in user reports as to police or road hazards (like chair in right lane! just one example of something I have reported in the past).

    • It costs about five to ten bucks more to get traffic with an old-school GPS, too — if you buy last year's refurb instead of this year's model. Get one with lifetime maps and you lose nothing, sometimes it's literally a styling change.

      Where I live, cellular coverage is spotty. Traffic doesn't work there, but then online GPS doesn't work there at all.

      • Why waste your money on a standalone GPS when you already have all of the same hardware in your smartphone? Garmin, TomTom et al. are dinosaurs. With Sygic, I have lifetime maps for the majority of the world for next to nothing (and they're the exact same maps you get in a TomTom device). * disclaimer: I have no connection to Sygic except as a paying, satisfied customer
  • Now we know what happens, -ed to intelligent life at a certain stage.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think this troll is the work of Eric Schmidtty and friends trying to scare the public into requiring regulations, so that only big corporations like Google, Amazon, etc. are allowed to fly drones. They of course will be happy to lend a hand in writing these obviously desperately needed regulations.

    If it's not, then it's an asshat who is helping toward that end unwittingly, and deserves to be smacked hard in the head with a drone.

    Captcha: imperial

  • With the police out in force on Easter Sunday, I'm sure their purpose was to make us all safer. I saw no less than six vehicles pulled over in under an hour. Now, I'd be fine with this if they were pulling over those who were drifting aimlessly as they chatted, texted, read the paper, etc., or those who tailgated. But, it's way too easy to obtain their quotas by nabbing the people who break the "nine your fine, ten your mine" rule.

  • So drones are going to scout ahead on the race track for all vehicles now?

    That's real Transcendance.. from Anime to Reality

  • by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @08:52AM (#46804445)

    Let me tell you how this will work, if it's a plausible business plan. First, the early adopters will benefit. Then, as more and more people use it, it will encourage more traffic as the opportunity "cost" (traffic jams & parking) can be partially mitigated. Finally, it'll evolve to the same point as before, or even worse - everyone will be trying to avoid the jams, everyone will be going for the same parking spot, and the next big thing will come along promising to solve both problems.

    I solved both issues by bicycling to work. It saves $15 for parking (plus around $2 for gas, wear & tear, depreciation, etc on the car, at a conservative $0.25/mi) or about $4.50 in bus fare.

    It also has helped me lose about 30 pounds.

    I've known other people who do a combination car/bike ride - drive to the outskirts, then park in a residential neighborhood, grab their bike, and commute through the traffic and navigate parking that way.

    Assuming you're fit, and can dress for the weather, it's actually easier to avoid all the problems of driving in dense urban areas.

    So yes, just checking in with a smug post. :p

  • Why do I picture an attractive woman in a bikini sun bathing in her back yard surrounded by thousands of drone?
    Oh wait, screw the drones, I am still picturing the attractive woman in a bikini....
  • Since google maps already has a traffic layer that shows me the congestion along my route (and 2 alternate routes), why would one need or want a flying traffic drone?
  • They claim to be operating in 5 cities, yet the FAA will not allowed commercial use of drones before it's finalized its rules on the subject.
  • I want a drone that I can call in when the person at the head of the line sits through an entire red light without making a right turn when it is safe to do so, thus holding everyone up and costing us money by idling. The drone has to be able to lift the heaviest, non-commercial vehicles.

    Conversely, I want a drone armed with Hellfire missiles to take out the asshats who drive during inclement weather without their headlights on, weave in and out of traffic just to get one car ahead and the ones who blatantl

  • "I wish my car had a drone for instant scouting of traffic-jam alternates."

    No, you wish your car could listen in on the currently aloft drone to get traffic updates.

    Having your own drone would cause a drone traffic jam overhead, with all the other well-provisioned drivers releasing their own drones. Auto-avoidance? yeah, that's working pretty well on the road, hence the lack of need for these drones at all.

    You just want more than Google Maps and Waze does now. Good luck with that.

  • by Oceanplexian ( 807998 ) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:47PM (#46806737) Homepage
    As someone who builds model aircraft, multirotors (aka 'drones'), and flies these things as a hobby -- man this video infuriates me.

    These guys really think the FAA is going to let a business fly a flying projectile through the middle of San Francisco using Chinese-made hobby-grade equipment, with no formal airworthiness standards and no understanding of why we have federal airspace in the first place?
    Who's going to be responsible when the thing loses a flight controller and it spins out of control into someone's car/house/child? This video is riddled with technical failings.

    The worst part of this is a disturbing trend of: 'Hey, let's just ignore all the real-world problems and make a slick video'. Somewhere along the way, all these kids in San Francisco forgot that you need to put in effort before bragging about something.
    We don't need social media affixed to toy helicopters, we need real engineering and hard work.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.