back to article EU defence agency wants open skies for flying robots

The European Union's nascent military ministry, the European Defence Agency, is mounting a push to allow flying robots to operate alongside regular air traffic. As things presently stand, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) are poorly integrated into civil air-traffic regimes and the laws which underpin them. Few UAVs are certified to …

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In A.N.Other Plane

Oh I think we've moved definitively into the Virtual Realm of Defense, don't you ....... with only Grunting Generals championing Big Boys Toys......... being their very own Virtual penis extensions for shafting the Budget.

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Anonymous Coward

This goes a little far....

...Is it just me, or does it smell as if our allegedly elected officials would like to blur the line between military and law enforcement activities ? Why else would anyone want to do this ? Answers on the back of postage stamp to the usual address.

This one is genuinely scary and needs to be aborted pronto.

Concerned of Birmingham

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Heathrow

Does this mean I can use those nice long runways at Heathrow to practice taking off and landing my remote controlled airplanes?

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Silver badge

Sorry, but what civilian activity can possibly justify UAVs ?

They've lost me there - I really see absolutely no possible legal use for a UAV in civilian activity. A UAV has only one possible civilian use at this time - snooping. I realize that there are some officials that cannot help but dream of legally-backed Tom peeping on the private life of that leggy blond next door, but in truth that is morally wrong and they know it, hence this new excuse. Besides, if the use of UAVs became commonplace, methinks the bad guys wouldn't then have much trouble kitting up one of their own to spy on the goverment. How would one tell the difference ? I suppose they're all black anyway. Are we going to invent a UAV-detector, or will this be the start of anti-UAV UAVs ? A UAV weapons race, is that what we want ? That said, it'll probably happen anyway. Mankind simply cannot avoid a good chance to build something destructive.

Unless UAVs can become parcel carriers, there is simply nothing outside of a police state that can possibly justify these new SkyNet appendages. Ban them from our skies, I say.

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S

Re:Sorry, but what civilian activity can possibly justify UAVs ?

@Pascal Monett

Your suggestion of parcel carriers might possibly be true, but there are other situations in which case it would be useful for the presence of UAVs to be known by Air Traffic Controllers and the like.

At the moment, as far as I understand it, they don't have any knowledge of any UAVs that might be operating, and as such it's unfeasible to use them in large numbers without being hazardous to any human piloted traffic that might be present, plus there are limits on how useful they can be.

I imagine they'll prove to be useful for filming events, i.e. motor racing / horse racing - currently aerial observation is fairly expensive, besides the cost of the helicopter / plane itself, you have to hire a pilot and a camera man. This could all be done away with by a self flying plane with perhaps a remotely operated camera or a camera system that latches onto specific vehicles. Either way, this is one application where it would make sense to commercialize the use of UAVs.

I think you may be mistaken in your interpretation of them as civilian - civil airspace is what applies to everyone, commercial or private, and there are lots of possible commercial uses.

@ Anonymous

I assume that military and civilian aircraft would have to be marked separately as is the usual process at the moment, so I'm not sure how you could justify that they're trying to hide their own UAVs in with the civilian UAVs. Besides, I'm sure some form of bureaucracy would limit that scenario anyway.

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re: Sorry, but what civilian activity can possibly justify UAVs ? #2

Long term, UAVs might be useful for more than just parcel delivery. Imagine automated freight carriers carrying bulk raw materials to automated factories. Or, robotic care-flight helicopters that can be quickly dispatched from hospitals to accident scenes.

I don't think that pilot unions need to worry yet, but could you imagine what airfare would be like if pilots weren't needed?

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grammar

"Dollar" is a countable noun, so the subtitle should read "A day late and many dollars short". "A lot of cash" would be correct, though.

I'd also like to take this chance to remind everyone that in English, "it's" means "it is", while "its" is the possessive of "it". To help you remember, think of "yours", "theirs", "ours", etc.

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