Drones tips: Robo-flyer for everyone

Drones patrol not only on crisis areas, you will see it in future also increasingly common in and German cities. The Assembly has a draft amendment of the German Aviation Act waved through which the Robo-fliers same rights which are as manned aircraft. However hobby drone does not affect the change in control. “Operated exclusively for the purpose of sport or recreational activity” At least not when, as formulated in a reply to an inquiry of the Left the federal government.

The situation is different when drones are used commercially or used by authorities. In the police about it are popular because they are considerably cheaper than helicopters, but are good for similar scenarios. The American company Vanguard Defense Industries has specialized, for example in an autonomous police flyer. Equipped with day and night vision cameras, laser altimeter and autopilot costs a drone type Shadowhawk here around 300,000 dollars. A camera is one case of the basic equipment, accessories such as a grenade launcher, or a rubber bullet gun will be charged extra.

A similarly equipped helicopter would be more expensive by a multiple, requires much more fuel, expensive maintenance consuming trained helicopter pilots. The Shadowhawk drone, however, can control a police officer after a brief training from the laptop.

Project Airshield
At similar systems also German authorities are interested. Thus, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a system research “to explore and threat assessment and response”. The aim of this Airshield project is to give emergency services the ability to make compliance with technical incidents, accidents or natural disasters quickly a picture of the situation. Equipped with appropriate sensors, the drones could detect, for example, toxic gases or report the location and size of an oil slick to ground stations.

It makes sense, it could be in such operations, not only one, but to let a swarm drones swarming to detect, for example, the distribution of gas quickly over a large area. That drones now be programmed to swarm behavior, as researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have shown as they 20 mini-drones for autonomous formation flight could compete. Also German researchers of Fraunhofer Institutes are working on such a drone swarms .

Can we try that again?
Senior drones from companies such Microdrones or Quadrocopter are expensive. Even entry-level models are hard to get under 5000 Euro. Who needs more power, such as a stronger radio installation or longer range needs, expect prices in the five-figure significantly.

No wonder that there are rental companies that offer drone flights as a service. The Bavarian company Rent-a-Drone example is also specialized in architectural photography from the air. Regularly document their aircraft the progress of major construction project at the Munich Luise-Kieselbach-Platz. One can such a drone but also for rent, to let make aerial photos of his house, for prices starting at 190 euros.

True drones are rare
This raises the question of whether it would be cheaper to equal zuzulegen own drone. The selection is puny but if you do not just like to spend thousands of euros. Remote Control Model Quadrocopter there are some which are however often difficult to control. True drones that can stabilize itself in the air, are rare.

The important difference: Drones can fly autonomously. The pilot does not communicate with a remote control on a meadow and controls his aircraft, but he gives him via computer GPS waypoints before. With the help of GPS receiver, position, height and direction sensors, the drone is seeking salvation itself. Here you more sensors report obstacles so that they can, for example, automatically fly round towers, masts or trees. Even amateur models have emergency functions, they automatically end up with problems or allow it to return to its starting point.

One way to come to a drone, are called Mikrokopter. In which the difficulties begin, however, already in the assembly of, for such fliers are supplied ready not normally. And they are expensive also. In microcontroller shop about already cost the smallest Basisset 875 Euro.

Flying watchdogs
Easier and cheaper to get them only if you buy the well only for individuals affordable and easily controllable especially commercial drone AR.Drone the French manufacturer Parrot. The do you get from 250 euros, need for control, however, still a smartphone or tablet, either iOS or Android operating system.

For the Parrot Drone is now so easy to control that simple maneuvers succeed after a few minutes. Several apps also help because they make the drone, not only to flight game, but also automate many tasks. So you can with Parrots fliers departing example a defined via GPS circular course and let it capture video. So the drone autonomous scouts over the neighbor’s hedge.

Such Spähflug in the garden would be according to the Federal Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner (CSU) but “at least problematic”. It refers to the right to their own image and that photographs of people who are staying in an apartment, could be punishable even without their consent.
Prohibitions but it is not when the camera the private drone looks sometimes over the hedge. “The provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act do not apply to individuals in the purely private sphere, for example, the use of video technology between neighbors,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar 2010. The demarcation to the data protection law is however difficult. Playing it safe is in such excursions, who informed his neighbors before considering how they can scare the intruder.

Free to shoot?
Simply shoot should we a strange drone over the garden but not. Certainly not as it has recently done in the American South Carolina hobby shooters. Animal rights activists had wanted there to document with a drone similar Oktokopter a pigeon hunting. But only a few seconds after the aircraft had reached its cruising altitude, popping shots. One of them apparently hit the plane and the machine crashed . Police arrested on an ad that animal rights activists claim damages.

Fear of large-scale espionage action you have probably not have, for the operating range of hobby drone is too limited. Popular because affordable models of Parrot about are severely limited by their technology in scope: Firstly works their control via WiFi only in a radius of at best 50 meters, and on the other suck the four engines to small battery within a quarter of an hour empty