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Google is Flying a Quadcopter Surveillance Robot, Says Drone Maker

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posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 04:42 PM
Well well well, Google up to no good as usual.

Looks as though not satisfied by photographing the outside of our homes and neighbourhoods, they plan to send a surveillance drone over the fence into our back gardens.

There's no question that the future of warfare, espionage, and clandestine operations is moving rapidly toward reliance on drone aircraft. But should citizens grow restless when this technology moves into the private sector?

A German drone maker claims Google is trialing one of its drones, a battery-powered surveillance quadcopter previously used by UK police and special forces.

What the search giant and alleged Wi-Fi data collector plans to do with the drone is unclear, but it seems likely that this isn't going to sit well with privacy advocates.

The drone, made by Microdrones GmbH, can stay in the air for more than an hour, photographing large swaths of territory autonomously as it goes. It can also hover, providing aerial surveillance over a single target area for just as long.

Variations of these drones are already in use by police in the UK, in particular the Merseyside Police was caught using the drones without official permission, so you can imagine how widespread it might be.

Now we are seeing drone usage moving into the private sector, and as the technology picks up pace, unfortunately legislation is still far behind.

Which of course results in a legal 'black hole' where companies such as Google can operate surveillance drones in private areas without facing prosecution.

Google's interest in such a drone is most likely its ability to supplement its Google Earth service, which currently relies on aerial and satellite photos to overlay Google Maps with actual bird's eye images of the earth

This to me seems both logical and yet pointless at the same time. I personally find Google Earth to be incredibly useful in it's current form, but in no way wish the product to improve, if it requires the use of invasive surveillance technology. As we have seen recently Google was caught 'accidentally' collecting WiFi information from private users. What is to stop the surveillance drones being equipped with the same tech. I am no expert on that matter perhaps another more experienced member of ATS could shed some light on the possibility.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:02 PM
Not surprising really...are you surprised at all?


posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:11 PM
reply to post by Pockets

I have to say no, no I am not.

They are pushing the boundaries constantly, eventually they are going to end up in seriously hot water. I suspect this will happen when they start treading on the governments toes.

For example carrying out surveillance and data mining, but not sharing their goodies with the bigger boys. Let's face it most governments would love to be carrying out the activities on civilians that Google gets away with.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:21 PM
reply to post by Big Raging Loner

Quite a nosey company...the details they have would be makes you want to boycott goggle.....but I don't think I could....and even if you did they'd still be collating data about you

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:28 PM
reply to post by Pockets

Absolutely you're not alone there, I mean they got to where they are by offering a good service, but they are beginning to abuse their position. I start this thread about the dangers of Google whilst using their search function to find material.

Hypocrite? Yep. But let's face it, they can still offer the service without the invasion of privacy, they aren't part in parcel after all.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:32 PM
And we trust them not to go below and operate underneath the 1000 feet ceiling that aircraft are required by law? Otherwise, a shotgun could cause some real flight problems for this vulture.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:38 PM
reply to post by Marrr

1000 feet ceiling that aircraft are required by law?

Do you know if that apply's to UAV's?

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:43 PM
reply to post by Pockets

Imo if it doesn't it should. My animals have been seriously frightened by those powered parachutes for example that weren't higher than 50-75 ft above my property. If it flies or is under human control, there should be restrictions, unless you're flying an rc plane on your own property of course.

[edit on 9-8-2010 by Marrr]

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:46 PM
reply to post by Marrr

A very interesting comment I hadn't even thought of the flight regulations, these apparently apply to even RC helicopters and alike, which this drone basically is.

The Rules of the Air Regulations 2005;

(Still valid today)

Here is a young RC copter enthusiast asking the exact same question about the legality of flight 1000 feet and below;

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:49 PM
Excerpts from The Rules of the Air Regulations 2005

(2) The low flying prohibitions
(a) Failure of power unit
An aircraft shall not be flown below such height as would enable it, in the event
of a power unit failure, to make an emergency landing without causing danger
to persons or property on the surface.
(b) The 500 feet rule
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft shall not be flown
closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle or structure.
(c) The 1,000 feet rule
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft flying over a
congested area of a city town or settlement shall not fly below a height of 1,000
feet above the highest fixed obstacle within a horizontal radius of 600 metres of
the aircraft.
(d) The land clear rule
An aircraft flying over a congested area of a city town or settlement shall not fly
below such height as will permit, in the event of a power unit failure, the aircraft
to land clear of the congested area.
(e) Flying over open air assemblies
Except with the permission in writing of the CAA, an aircraft shall not fly over
an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons below—
(i) a height of 1,000 feet, or

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:50 PM
What a coincidence! I friend send me by email this info about a similar drone. It has 2 cameras, and it's for sale at 300 bucks.|mn_flash|ardrone|s1

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by Trueman

My brother has been looking into getting one of them....looks like a cool device/toy

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:57 PM
As a toy I have no problem with this gadget it would be kind of cool to have. However in the hands of Google I just don't trust it will be used solely for the improvement of aerial photographs.

When you think about it this would mean residential areas, including people's back gardens and private property, as the current Google earth images show. Presumably they would blur out any readily identifiable personal items.

posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 11:35 PM
These type of drone hover crafts are becoming more and more a staple of the federal government. While I can see all types of military uses, the use of such a device for news gathering is an idea I have been speaking about for some time.

Although I would have thought the big media companies would have already gone to such technology. What the big media does these days is not spend money on anything that is really going to cover something. They get told what to cover and they even prepare the scripts for the newscasters. They use the doctored videos that the government or big corporations provide and as such, they do not invest in things that once would have been embraced. With a squad or army of such drones, the public or the news agencies would bring us much in way of what we are not now seeing. We only see the illusion of media and the masses are tired of it. I for one am tired of seeing no one use their ingenuity to get what others aren't allowed to get.

What needs to be approached is for independent journalist, researchers, investigators to have these hover crafts equipped with a microphone and a video camera. In such a way the operator could remotely talk to someone that the camera was observing. While this example is intended for gathering news and information, if someone had used this type of drone hover craft in the Gulf or along beaches where BP and local authorities said were off limits, this thing could go see and even allow one to talk to someone if you so chose.

The point is that this type of technology needs to be embraced by the upstart, independent journalist and crews as a needed piece of equipment that will allow for live feeds from above and would ensure that the law does not harass or prevent you from seeing what it is they don't want you to see.

It is time for the independent news gathering types to begin using technology to go around the petty hurdles that the government and local authorities set to prevent the public from seeing what really is going on. These thing during the BP disaster or Katrina would have showed us much. They could even be used by first aid teams to locate people without being endangered. Anyway.

Add in that it could keep you from being arrested, detained or even killed and this type of technology has many uses that the independents need to find out about and use as a tool in the arsenal of tools used to gather information. Need to see some business models around this subject matter. It has the guts for making money and creating jobs. Just have to think outside the box.

Thanks for the posting. Been aware of these for a number of years and have shared this encouragement for novel uses by those with novel approaches to gathering information that may be out of the reach of others. For a novel investment of under 3 hundred dollars more or less depending on model and accessories, one could really go high tech and with a novel business plan, such a service could be provided. It would create jobs and most importantly of all, it would bring us what others refuse to capture or are kept from capturing because of environmental or government proclamations.

Decent posting. Good subject matter all the way around. You and others should discuss this idea and I am certain you will find many eager to support ideas about what should have already been developed and organized into many drones among many businesses. With security and military uses, it is the type of technology that the public could use for fun or for that not so professional research that has to have video coverage in order to be believed.

Either way it is the exact type of technology that can allow for much more latitude and freedom of capturing images that help to tell a story. Add in the microphone, speaker, camera and you could begin capturing video from places not normally captured. I have no doubt it would bring us all things we dearly need to see. While there are a number of good uses, I for one would use one to go where the media cannot go. Just a thought. then you could sell those images by Internet and be really high tech. Setup a means to get paid and you and some friends could be making some money providing a needed service to the public and the media outlets. Keep it independent and keep the government out of it and these things could do for the internet what web sites did for the Internet and email did to expand human communication.

Thanks again.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 03:57 AM
reply to post by MaxBlack

I am quite surprised myself as you say that journalists have not got involved. I was also thinking that it could be quite useful for anything from geologists to farmers. It is relatively cheap from the looks of it too.

posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 09:19 AM
reply to post by Big Raging Loner

South Korean police have raided the Seoul offices of Google as part of a probe into its Street View mapping service.

Link to source

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 02:37 PM
reply to post by Big Raging Loner

Anyone know about the government using civilain aircraft to spy? Seems my friend finds himself directly below flight paths of civil aircraft. No matter where he is. Do you know the flight paths over NJ airspace? And isn't against the law to deviate flight plan. thanks for the information.

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