back to article China's cut-price drones attract Asian and African buyers

China’s inexorable rise as a hi-tech military superpower reached another milestone this week as it showcased a range of new drone aircraft remarkably similar to US machines but pitched at a lower price point to attract buyers from the developing world. The Zhuhai airshow in southern China’s Guangdong province was the platform …

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Silver badge
Unhappy

No Drones Here

It is nearly impossible to get through all the legal hoops here in the U.S. to operate a drone. Even if it is not armed the only license available is for experimentation and the area where you can fly it is highly defined. There are lots of uses for drones but getting the FAA to let civilians use them is a big problem.

We've been operating balloons and small R/C dirigibles for a customer for almost two years because the client wasn't able to secure the permits for a drone fleet (we couldn't get it done either, and we have lots of friends).

The shitty part is this is all due to law enforcement trying to get in on the drone game, not an air travel safety issue. I recently attended a showing in the U.S. state of West Virginia of several drones their state police and state bureau of investigation are trialing and during the post flight conference all three presenters stressed how important it was to keep this technology out of the hands of the public.

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Big Brother

Re: No Drones Here

Welcome to the world of superstate.

I guess one thing that the usual suspects won't hope that "Obama will now fix" is putting drones into private hands ("private" is become a dirty word fast).

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Exclusive triumvirate?

Ehm yes. Exclusive in the sense that there can't be 4 men/(nations?) in a triumvirate.

Exclusive in the sense that no other nation could produce armed drones? Surely if they can produce armed planes, armed drones must be quite similar and fairly easy to make.

Not saying that a first try would produce stellar results, but "exclusive triumvirate"??? Mmm.

Explanations on the ease with which armed drones could be assembled by gifted DIY nations gladly accepted.

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Silver badge

Re: Exclusive triumvirate?

Well if you want something for a really trivial mission, like - totally autonomously search a a few sq miles of ground for a single person using visible/IR cameras and drop a package to them while automatically also staying inside aviation authority required perimeter and handling any failures in your drone and have it automatically return if it has any problem.

Then you would just need any group of students - http://www.uavoutbackchallenge.com.au/

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Looks like a great time to start making drone to drone interceptors, UAV air to air is going to become a decent market pretty soon.

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Terminator

"Your clothes. Give them to me. Now!"

Not so fast. I'm sure we will stay at pure "plane-on-drone" action for the next uh ... 5 years or so.

A neural network made for detecting predators in the savannah, in the loop and riding two Ljulka-AL-31FM still is no match for remotely controlled semi-autonomous small-and-cheap robots.

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Unhappy

So why are BAE wasting it's time in Wales?

There were pieces in several newspapers recently saying Britain was about to make drones and they would be cheaper than US and Israeli units and Britain 'would capture a decent market share.' They showed some abandoned airport where tests were being conducted.

As is so often the case Britain's effort is too little, too late.

Cheaper in China, as usual.

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Stop

Re: So why are BAE wasting it's time in Wales?

Fail for not distinguishing between "Britain" (privately owned UK-situated companies putting drones on the market) and "BAE" (well-connected lobbyist faffing around with taxpayer money, and not even UK-situated anymore)

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Re: So why are BAE wasting it's time in Wales?

if you can distinguish between the Britain (or at least the treasury) and BAe sales dept - then you have better intelligence gathering abilities than either Britain or BAe

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BAe "unveiled" an armed drone in 2008: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Fury

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Unhappy

So...

Developing countries that (probably) can't afford health-care, education, infastructure (etc.) can now buy cheap un-manned weapons from China... that's a very depressing thought for a Friday!

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Megaphone

Re: So...

The USA builds its drones itself!

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Boffin

How are they controlled?

I thought the US drones were controlled via satellite link from thousands of miles away. You have someone local to launch it, and then a guy in the US playing video games and getting a high score when he blows up a village.

How are other owners going to manage it? "a range of 3,500 kilometres" is rather too much for a standard remote control, and they don't have the military satellites (and the US will make damn sure they don't acquire them)..

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Mushroom

Re: How are they controlled?

There are cell-phone towers everywhere important/target-worthy.

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Re: How are they controlled?

I would imagine that they could be programmed along the lines of this...

fly to location 1

drop bomb & record results

fly to location 2

drop bomb & record results

fly to location 3

drop bomb & record results

fly to location 4

drop bomb & record results

return to base.

real-time two way communications are noce to have on a drone but they are not essential

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Happy

The Game of Drones.

There are those here who actually sleep better thinking Chinese (and Russian) work is shoddy and undependable, They would rather spend $40 on a manual can opener made in the West than buy a good Chinese one for $12. Naturally, when it comes to the debate about the size of the Chinese and Asian brainpan (the largest of all the races) and intelligence, they caucus reluctantly with the skin heads and other members of the Caucasians Ueber Alles political action committee

Remember, never, ever underestimate your competitor.

If the Chinese have higher I.Q.s than than the rest of us, multiply that difference in intelligence by a Billion, three hundred million. It's a lot of potential energy for their drones and space station to throw down your gauntlet down at.

Here's an example (5 minutes) of China Has Talent some of you might like. A 13 year old Chinese boy playing FRANZ LISZT HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY 11 (it's not for everybody).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lV94gop31w&feature=related

So when the Chinese start building and improving their drones, you better start keeping your bedroom door closed or you and the Mrs might be on Drone Candid Camera. You could even find yourself testifying before Congress.

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