I can no longer in good consciousness stand by and do nothing as I see our hobby slipping away to reckless people using drones.
As legitimate UAV users, we must stand and take part in shaping the FAA regulation that are being written behind closed doors. The AMA and others have made a valiant effort, but I fear we are losing quickly and badly.
The problem, I can find no one from our side who has been asked by the FAA to take part in or even advise the committees making these regulations. This has lead to widespread skepticism and resentfulness. I don't think the FAA realizes they need to convince us to participate in making the airspace safer for all. We the flying individuals and clubs can and must police ourselves. Currently those of us who are responsible flyers fly under the rules and protection of the AMA. However, these simple rules are quickly becoming insufficient. A technical change seems to be needed.
For any practical safety implementation, there must be standards, known to all. In our case legal and technical. There is precedence for this, the IEEE maintains standards for electrical and computer science, and with wide spread success at low cost. When the IEEE 1284 printer port and 802.11 WiFi standards were established, low-cost and interoperability for both the device makers and consumers were possible. Though not legal standards themselves they are an example that should be considered.
In particular as a CNC/NC machine operator, G and M code control interests me for the task at hand. It allows for the definitive directional control, from where a point is to where it needs to be. As a procedural - imperative language, its certification can be carried out by the FAA for quality and compliance.
A possible format for aircraft and spacecraft. Much like the parallel port and WiFi standards once a definitive rule is made, many will be willing to cooperate, even without the heavy hand of government.
Is it that simple? What about those who refuse and fly recklessly anyway? My current effort is based on some legal force, but mostly "self policing." As with the current rules of AMA, we flyers are to keep our names and contact info in our machines. So there are requirements beyond just the payment to be insured. If your machine crashes on the freeway, and the police respond to a car pile up, they'll know who to investigate.
First, In this current plan (though not fully defined) a person who flies against the IEEE-NTSB standards and then causes damage to a house or injures a person, they would be in for big civil and criminal charges. Those who had flown in accordance with the minimum standard, would be given at least some consideration and defense in a court of law.
Second, what about the case where a flyer is falsely accused of violating IEEE-NTSB or other law? We hobbyists are always fighting a desperate battle in this case. Often, law enforcement has no or little experience in these matters, and it may be a disgruntled person or vigilante looking to cause trouble for a lawfully flying hobbyist. Wouldn't it be nice for a on-board device to capture exonerating evidence to be shown later to an Independent FAA expert !
Third, we'd need some sort of real time anti-collsion capability. The UAV should be the lesser priority, and the manned vehicle the greater priority. In this way the the pilot at fault can be decided later, while preserving immediate human safety. So the drone, even if not at fault would yield to the manned machine, destroying itself (trees or ground) if necessary.
So, we need a transponder-like device...
We'll need to develop a semi-autonomous device capable of announcing its presence to manned aircraft of all types, and NextGen air traffic control. A device with a unique number, that cant be changed or duplicated. This device would also be light weight, crash, fire and explosion resistant. This device doesn't have to solve all of the problems in one fell swoop. Remember this field, is fast growing and will take time to fully mature, but we must start now.
As for commercial ventures that Amazon and others may pursue, such a device may be required by law.
This research is what I need your help bringing to life!
The Tricopters to be used:
The above tricopter is a type made by myself as an open source hardware academic and scientific test bed. There are students, inventors and researchers who have ideas that need to be flown, quickly modified and re-flown. This series of tricopters was built for that purpose. To serve and save people, not to carry explosives across the battle space.
The "Angel Strike" tricopter series have been designed for carrying scientific and other instruments, and will serve as a flying " test bed."
"Angel Strike Five", lost in scientific action, but seen here with green, red and white lights navigation lights. These lights follow the same standard as boats and aircraft.
A potential Device :
This research is what I need your help bringing to life!
While the "NextGen" air traffic control system is still young, it would be easier to attach new standards, primarily to the data communications side. http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/ This would be where inflight "sqwaking" from drone to manned craft would take place, automatically. Typically this "direct sqwak" would be bidirectional at about 1 to 3 miles.
if an incident required review, the investigator could gather unique machine ID's and the persons involved.
On My To Do List ...
- Get the Auto hover to work. (crashed last attempt)
- Interview my local Air traffic people. (need input)
- Research TDOA for radio direction finding.
- Test two embedded LiDAR devices which may suit this project.
The direction Im currently contemplating is one which uses G-code to intercept the flight command at the moment a safety "exception" has been detected. From that point, the G-code would assert itself, deciding based on current and previous flight paths how to avoid the oncoming manned aircraft. (or buildings, bridges, radio antennas, power lines, etc.)
How to do all this becomes the real question, as it involves so much.
Risks and challenges
The greatest challenge at hand is the fact the NASA and the FAA have been slow to roll out NextGen airspace control and NextGens' enormous cost. However, the internet wasnt widely rolled out until the private sector saw value. From that point onward the private sector rolled out the vastness of the modern internet. The same may be true of NextGen, airlines may not see the need to invest so much capital, but UPS, FedEx and others will.
We need former DOT insiders like Mary Schaivo JD, and private sector advocates like Jeff Bezos involved in this matter. If the FAA is allowed to develop regulations largely on there own they will stifle this industry for decades. (So take note Verizon, Google, Amazon and Facebook.)
There is also the need to demonstrate a uniform and reliable safety regime from the largest to the smallest UAVs and from the 100,000+ ft altitude down to ground level.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (10 days)