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China Technology

Chinese Tourist's Drone Crashes Into Taipei 101 Skyscraper 102

Taco Cowboy writes that a Chinese tourist has been hit with a fine of $48,000 (NT $1.5 Million) after his drone crashed into the Taipei 101 skyscraper. The tourist, 30-year-old Yan Yungfan, was supposedly attempting to film Taipei's cityscape on Tuesday morning with a remotely controlled Phantom 3 UAV when he lost control of the drone, causing it to hit the side of Taipei 101 at around the 30th floor. No one was injured in the incident and only minor damage was sustained by the building's glass windows, but the video immediately became a viral sensation after it was uploaded online. Taipei 101 said in a statement that there have been three incidents of drones crashing around the building since mid-June, with the first two cases taking place on June 15 and June 20. No injuries have resulted from these crashes, but I wouldn't want to get hit by a 3-pound object falling from that height.
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Chinese Tourist's Drone Crashes Into Taipei 101 Skyscraper

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 25, 2015 @12:28PM (#50181199)

    Frankly drones should be regulated as RC aircraft. We don't fucking allow RC aircraft to be flown in the middle of a city, why the hell would we be ok with drones ?
    Use them where it makes sense, in parks, in areas that are predisposed for such things. So that if it falls out of the sky it won't harm/kill someone.

    • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday July 25, 2015 @12:42PM (#50181257) Journal
      At the rate this is going, drones available to the general public are going to become a quickly-disappearing fad, as they become outlawed entirely, and you can thank idiots like this Yan Yungfan, and all the idiots here in the U.S. who are getting their toys in the way of wildfire fighters' aircraft, idiots flying them into other restricted airspace (e.g., the White House and environs) and other idiots I'm not aware of, who either aren't capable of being responsible, or can't be bothered to be responsible with their toys.
      • by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Saturday July 25, 2015 @12:51PM (#50181305)
        I think it equally likely that manufacturers will regulate themselves semi-voluntarily rather than be forced out of business. They'll make drones that refuse to fly in restricted locations. They'll make drones that land automatically if their batteries get low or if they lose the control signal or if ambient wind speeds are too high or any of a dozen dicey conditions in order to mollify angry legislators. Drones without the safety "smarts" will be banned.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          I doubt that they will be able to do all of the things you mention successfully - at least in a way that makes them a lot more acceptable. For example - landing automatically if they are low on battery or lose the signal. Where do they land? Right in that pristine lake they are currently above? There are all kinds of issues with trying to get some small, cheap electronics like this to actually follow the ever-changing rules around them. Likely they will just become more and more regulated, more and more exp
          • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday July 25, 2015 @01:34PM (#50181477)
            The two closest local hobby stores receive their product shipped directly from China. If any drones are manufactured for places without these kinds of restrictions, they will end up in the US supply chain even if 'reputable' companies try to add such controls. Also factor-in unlicensed product copying and I don't think that it's possible.

            It's too bad, really. Back when the barrier to the RC aircraft hobby was high (expensive devices, very high likelihood of crashing and destroying the craft) the number of incidents were low because irresponsible people simply couldn't afford to participate for the most part. Now that it's cheap and easy, a lot of people that shouldn't get into the hobby are able to get into the hobby, and are going to get the hobby banned.
            • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
              Take your bigotry elsewhere. "Poor people are irresponsible" Yes, and I'm sure they deserve to be poor because they are lazy, or are ugly.
              • by TWX ( 665546 )
                It isn't just poor people that are irresponsible, it's that people are irresponsible when things do not cost them very much. People do not respect things that are inexpensive to them.
              • Don't be obtuse. Irresponsible people can't afford it because they crash a lot and have to buy a new, expensive aircraft and/or components over and over. The only irresponsible persons that could have afforded it would be the irresponsible rich kids who seem to have other priorities like crashing their BMWs while driving drunk or stoned.
          • eventually only construction, films, search and rescue and like industries will be using them.

            This is exactly the opposite of what is happening in America. The rules for hobbyists are lax, and the rules for using a drone for anything economically useful are far more severe. The FAA is focused, not on safety, but on minimizing competition with manned aircraft.

            • The rules for hobbyists are not lax: line of sight and below 400', not over populated areas or structures. That pretty much means in a mile-square or smaller open field.
        • On further consideration I think it might just end up being the case that there will be more than one 'class' of drones, the easiest to obtain having severely limited (by law) range of remote control and perhaps limited altitude. You go out of range of the control signal, and it just shuts down and drops to the ground, which won't be much of a problem because it'll only be a few dozen feet off the ground anyway. Larger and more complex drones would require a permit or license of some sort, and definitely re
        • That is already being done. Many "store bought" drones will refuse to fly within the regulated "no fly" distance from documented airfields and most reasonable craft *do* have an auto-land facility that kicks in when the battery gets low.

          There's no more point in banning drones than there is in banning butter-knives. Both are useful and very safe ways to perform a task -- however, both can be MISUSED when in the hands of idiots. Far better that we simply make sure that any idiot who misuses *any* technolo

          • As with firearms, the problem isn't that we need more laws. We need enforcement of existing laws. LEOs inexplicably refuse to intervene when rogue droners recklessly operate the toy they carelessly use to endanger others.
          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            There's no more point in banning drones than there is in banning butter-knives. Both are useful and very safe ways to perform a task -- however, both can be MISUSED when in the hands of idiots. Far better that we simply make sure that any idiot who misuses *any* technology is dealt with appropriately. The only alternative to ensuring public safety is to have us all fitted with straightjackets and locked into our own private padded rooms -- for our safety.

            The easy way is licensing.

            Right now the regulations a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't get it. A drone IS an RC aircraft. Why isn't it regulated as one? What is the difference between a drone and an RC aircraft do you mean?

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Probably for the same reason that Uber isn't yet regulated as a taxi service requiring all of the conventional trappings of a taxi service, because the regulatory agencies and the courts usually trail behind developments, based on developments.
        • Probably for the same reason that Uber isn't yet regulated as a taxi service requiring all of the conventional trappings of a taxi service, because the regulatory agencies and the courts usually trail behind developments, based on developments.

          Uber IS regulated as a taxi in some areas and as livery in other areas. They just choose not to obey the regulations.

      • by janoc ( 699997 )

        Except it is regulated as one. In fact, most countries don't make any distinction whether the RC model is fixed wing, heli, multirotor or whatever. Once it is unmanned and falls into the "model" category, it is regulated the same.

        That most owners don't know that there are *gasp* laws and rules that apply to their toys is not the problem with the laws, unfortunately.

    • The problem is probably not the regulation, but people buying drones who arent aware of the regulations. The onus is on the drone operator to get informed, but until there is an education campaign, people are going to do whatever they think is okay.

      One thing I would like to see come out of this is open data airspace data. Currently you need to pay a hefty fee for this, but allowing drones to benefit from this data would help make better next generation drone, IMHO. It should be optional to use it, but encou

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        How are RC plane owners currently informed of the regulation?
        Perhaps the drone producers could devote a page of their manuals on this subject (they probably already include "don't be a dick" notes anyway).

      • The problem is that there are morons that buy them not realising that in some cases they are essentially flying a lawnmower with no blade guards. I fly RC helicopters and fly them only on my 60 acre block. The injuries these can cause are horrific and their have been several part and full decapitations. Look at this thread [] to see some of the fun and games.
    • by janoc ( 699997 ) on Saturday July 25, 2015 @01:30PM (#50181449)

      "Drones" - aka small multirotor helis - are regulated as RC model aircraft in most countries already. Not sure where you are, but perhaps make sure that you actually know what laws are on the books already before calling for more regulation.

      The problem is not lack of regulation but the fact that 99.9% of the owners of these things have no clue about the rules that actually apply to their hobbies. RC model flyers have been rarely caught doing similar stupidities before because:
      a) it is hard to do with a fast moving fixed wing plane,
      b) traditional model helis are tricky to fly and very expensive, few people would risk their toy like this after they have finally mastered it,
      c) few RC models were computerized to the degree that they essentially "fly themselves", including GPS waypoints and what not. RC flying was always about the flying skills, not taking videos for Youtube.
      d) the enforcement was caught flatfooted, the few RC model owners around have newer posed problems but now every yahoo has a gizmo that requires no skills to fly and don't give a shit about any rules (if they are even aware of them).

      As I see it, unless the police is allowed to take these things out by force, then things aren't going to change. Tracking down an owner of a drone hoovering somewhere high in the air autonomously is pretty much impossible unless you are very lucky. They don't need to emit radio signal continuously, the gizmo can navigate by GPS so unless you literally run into a guy with the controller you will not find him.

      And as regulation is concerned - that could actually use to be relaxed quite a bit. E.g. in most of Europe if you want to record video using an RC plane/heli/drone for commercial purposes, the rules are very draconian - you need essentially a full private pilot license as if you were flying a full sized plane, you must always have a spotter next to you, are not allowed to fly beyond line of sight, etc. And this applies regardless of whether you are recording over a crowd of people (which requires additional permits) or only some fields for a local farmer ...

      • is not lack of regulation but the fact that 99.9% of the owners of these things have no clue
        Not only that, but the companies whom heads “don’t think it’s a big deal,” [] and providing no real solution to the evident growing problem, yet turn out software and hardware bugs... (every vendor is guilty). The game and the players are basically moving too fast, all because of those investor dollars. It's a technology that even the professional still doesn't understand yet.

        a) it is hard to do

    • But where do you draw the line between banned 'drones', and, say, Air Hogs toys (lightweight toy-grade RC aircraft)

      There's toy quadcopters as light as 11.5g now (Hubsan Q4 Nano) - they're great fun to fly around the living room or office. Do these get banned, too?

      What about the 'powered paper airplane' kits? are they now 'drones' too?
      • In the US, yes. It makes no difference if it's a 50-pound Octo carrying a Red Epic shooting a Mercedes commercial, or a 15-gram kid's toy. In places like all of the US's national parkland, rivers, and coasts administered by the Park Service, they are all 100% banned. Likewise for 30 miles around Washington DC, without any regard to size or range. And no, it's not about "drones," it's about all RC (or autonomous) flying contraptions of any type or size, period. And they're just getting started.
    • by dougmc ( 70836 )

      I'm not sure which country you're referring to, but in the US, the typical multicopter (what you call a "drone") *is* a RC aircraft, and is regulated like one.

      In general we do allow R/C aircraft to be flown in the middle of a city, as long as it's not in controlled airspace, though some cities may have laws against it. (Though the FAA claims dominion over such things, so I'm not sure how the cities get around that.)

      In general, in the US hobbyist use is largely unregulated, and it's commercial use that's ti

    • Frankly drones should be regulated as RC aircraft.

      The guy might be fined the equivalent of $48,000.

      Unless the guy is a multi-millionaire, it sounds like they're being regulated just fine.

  • I had been saving my pennies to buy a drone that would work as a good camera platform, prob'ly around $1100 including the videocam. It would be fun, and could pay for itself if I peddled my services to weddings, real estate offices, etc.

    But now I've got to set that aside as an unrealistic fantasy, until the regulations on drones are written up, and I can know what will be allowed.

    It is too bad, but a few total assholes are ruining things for all of us who are early adopters, or would like to be early adop

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, you need to put that little dream aside until you learn about airflow in cities, around tall buildings, updrafts from heat or wind channeling, etc. This is why its a problem to fly drones in cities and over events, most operators have no idea why their cute little hobby toy just flipped in mid-air and divebombed the taco tent and plead innocence and ignorance when they are held responsible for it.

      This is why professionals are considered... professionals. They pay attention to details, including learning

      • Take your b.s. elsewhere.

        A lot of us know our limitations and understand the need to push them back through education and training. My complaint is not about that.

        My plaint is that idiots who don't know what they are doing are flying drones where they should not be flown, and causing problems. And the only way to solve those problems is to regulate drone operators so that each one has a minimum level of proficiency. Which means getting into the game is going to cost probably a year of classes at a communi

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Right now, it is illegal to use drones for commercial purposes. There have even been stirrings of prosecuting those who post monetized videos on Youtube because they're profiting on the use of the footage only collectable through the use of the drone.
      • Yes. There are a couple of operators around here who are skirting the legal issues by selling their time on site and giving away the video files. This works fine for producing armchair tours of ranches, etc, for real estate offices. It can be very hard to arrange an adequate tour of a 640 acre ranch to the busy people who could afford to buy the place.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          That argument wouldn't hold up in court. Prostitutes try to use it and get convicted anyway. Even "escorts" get busted if they're actually caught engaging in sexual acts, it's just that they're more discreet so they're harder targets.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Drones run by democratic and freedom-loving countries assassinate people on internet-published kill-lists while on foreign soil and without due process.

  • The interesting thing in the video is that some suspect the pilot of espionage, and couple that with the recent Chinese army drill on a close copy of a Taiwanese presidential office. []

    The issue as always isn't multirotors, it's human behavior.

  • Flying Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday July 25, 2015 @02:33PM (#50181753)

    So the wave of drone accidents and regulations being reported on recently are starting to paint a great picture of why we don't have flying cars yet, nor will we.

    • A proper consumer level flying car would have a hell of a lot more redundancy and would be able to self land safely at all times.
      • And would be almost as likely to be grabbed by wind currents circulating through a city. Imagine a Buick crashing through the window of your office tower.

        Flying cars for consumers will have to be almost totally autonomous. We will have autonomous drones first as a step toward that technology.

      • able to self land safely at all times.

        Really looking forward to the day when mechanical failure is utterly impossible and physics can be dialed down to any level desired!

        • Really looking forward to the day when i dont have to actively list obvious counter arguments every time i try to make a point. Mechanical Failure is always a given unknown that cant be stopped, only mitigated.
          • So in other words the original suggestion was as stupid as I made it sound in my sarcastic reply! Thanks for the confirmation!

    • Really, I thought it was just taking a look at the idiots driving around on the ground.

    • So the wave of drone accidents and regulations being reported on recently are starting to paint a great picture of why we don't have flying cars yet, nor will we.

      The difference between a drone and a car:

      1. Study rule book.
      2. Sit exam on rules and get learners permit.
      3. Spend months learning under the guidance of another driver and in many districts professional drivers, sometimes requiring log-books to be filled out.
      4. Sit professional driving exam.
      5. Go spend a LOT of money on something very expensive for most 18year olds, or buy a beat up shitbox for still several thousand dollars.
      6. Spend years on a provisional license.
      7. Do whatever the fuck you want, but kn

  • []
    Nearly 3 400 people die on the world's roads every day, it means more than a million per year. Tens of millions of people are injured or disabled every year.

    How many people are injured by the civil drones? One or two per year, if any? Still commercial drones can in perspective free roads in a city by carrying urgent documents and parcels, instead of delivering by cars.
    • You should compare the rate of accidents, not two unrelated values.

      Maybe there are 10000 drones in the world, and 100 accidents every year, which gives a ratio of 10%.

      How much cars do we have in the world ?
      I very much doubt cars have such a high rate of accidents.

      Perhaps if you multiply the number of drones by a factor of 10, you'll be able to count deaths.

      • by Max_W ( 812974 )
        Cars are moving in 2D, UAVs - in 3D, so the risk of crossing, i.e. an accident, is times less. Besides, it is much easier to create a collision avoidance system in 3D.

        Significant part of cars are transporting paper documents and light parcels in a city. UAVs can do it much faster and with less energy consumption, freeing roads by this.

        What I meant is that cars with 400 horse powers and speed of 300 km/h, does not cause any concern, but light commercial UAVs do. Probably, military drones give a bad ima
  • These RC's have a ton of very sophisticated electronics to allow brain dead flying on the owners part, why not add some sensors to prevent collisions? If a Roomba can do it, I would think it should be possible for a drone to detect a building and stop forward movement.
  • Thanks for the full volume bullshit link
  • ... the shotgun comes out. And I'm a good shot. Who the hell gave these clowns the right to fly their drones wherever they please? It's getting absurd - it's gotten to where they are shutting down wildfire-fighting efforts out West by buzzing the firefighting aircraft. They should shoot them down, find the owner, arrest their ass, and throw them in jail for a few months to think about what utter shitheads they are. Recently some asshole mounted a handgun on a drone with a solenoid mechanism to fire it. WTF?

    • No, I see a drone, it's shoot first and ask questions later.

      Even if there are people in the area? That's responsible gun ownership right there...

  • I was going to ask if this was viable but looks like it is already a product - []

    Should be mandatory in built up areas as a minimum requirement along with a license and possibly a permit if flown in or around the centre of town. This should include everyone - even government departments.

  • I don't know about the laws in Japan, but the U.S. now has enough in the way of FAA rules to prosecute illegal drone operators. But it isn't doing it. I've read many stories of idiots and their flying lawnmowers (and I say that as a drone builder myself) ignoring common sense safety measures by flying their drones in cities, over crowds, and even at (!) airports. Japan has the right idea in fining violators thousands of dollars, but why is law enforcement waiting for crashes -- in either country? Cite illeg

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