Why is the press blaming "drones" and not "RC aircraft"?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by lostngone, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. lostngone, Aug 10, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015

    lostngone macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #1
    Just because it has 4 motors(or more) doesn't make it a drone. Yes there are fully autonomous multi-rotor AND fixed wing small scale aircraft. However in most cases when these toys are involved in incidents they are under direct control of someone and not in a autonomous configuration. They should be called "remote controlled"(RC) and not "drones".

    Time and time again I see the word "drone" thrown around and misused. It seems to me that when most people see a multi-rotor RC aircraft they call it a "drone" and that is simply not correct. Most of these toys have little to no autonomous control other then to maintaining a level state or a "fly home" mode. I would guess most of the owners of these toys wouldn't even know how to program a flight path into one even if it had the option.
     
  2. samiwas macrumors 65816

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  3. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #3
    Keep in mind that both terms are jargon, however, you're right that the terms are thrown about without much acknowledgement about what they mean.

    However, news reporters should attempt balance between clarity and technical accuracy when using these terms. R/C plane doesn't describe the semiautonomous and fully-autonmous aircraft commonly described as drones.

    The Predator brought drone to the public as a term of art, and most people (including news reporters) didn't know that drones were used for decades as surveillance platforms, so this struck everyone as new and strange (Especially once Predators started raining Hellfires down on Afghani villages).

    Moreover, this term tends to get clicks and generate discussions in a way that R/C (RC) plane does not.

    And, in part this shows that the term drone has come to mean, remote controlled aircraft with cameras that may or may not be autonomous (fully or partially). Customs and Border Protection, which uses Predators, prefers the term "unmanned aircraft system." And, that may be in part where the terminology needs to go.
     
  4. lostngone thread starter macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #4

    I was putting cameras in model rockets and on RC planes almost 30 years ago and they were never called drones when I did it. They even had simplistic autopilots back then.
    In my opinion it is nothing more than the press wanting more attention/click bate and/or dumbing down of the news.
     
  5. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #5
    ...or the manufacturers. Parrot A.R. Drone. Micro Drone. DJI Phantom Drone. The name drone is used by the manufacturers of these products. How is it "the press" dumbing things down or trying for click bait when they are calling it what the manufacturers call it?
     
  6. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #6
    I'd say the difference between a drone and an RC helicopter/plane would be that drones are aerial "smart" devices. A software driven platform, complete with an internet connection, and GPS uplink. RCs are just RCs. You can slap a camera on one, but that makes it a drone as much as putting a Wi-Fi radio on an oldschool Razr makes it an iPhone.
     
  7. lostngone thread starter macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #7
    I do not think DJI is calling them "drones" anymore, the "Phantom Drone" has been discontinued. As far as the "Parrot A.R. Drone" I believe the automated fight plan/path system is a paid hardware upgrade but the point I am trying to make is... These issues happen when they are being directly controlled by person and not in an automated pre planed fight mode this would be no different then 30 years ago with a RC plane and a 35mm pinhole camera on board* where was the panic about that back then?

    *Okay I am willing to admit camera quality has improved over the last 30 years....
     
  8. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #8
    Sure, but RC planes is some narrow corner of the hobby world that no one paid much attention and thus the public never really considered RC planes with cameras or "simplistic autopilots" as a thing. The term drone isn't really expressed in much public media (the term pops up in science fiction as a synonym for robot [and of course, the term for certain social insects]) until the Predator was unveiled and it was called, for better or worse, a drone.

    At the same time, small programable aircraft like quad-copters came increasingly easier to deploy and thus everyone accepted the term "drone."

    Well, in part because very few people knew that you could buy an RC plane with a 35mm pinhole camera and 30 years ago there was no platform like YouTube to show off the ability of such a system. In 1985, you had to understand how to fly a plane, install the camera, fly the plane over the target (which was noisy and obvious), and then retrieve the plane, get the film developed, and then what?

    Compare this to the idea that for $200 you can launch a "drone" with your iPhone, fly it over the neighbor's house and get live video of your hot neighbor sunbathing topless. And, you can publish that video to YouTube in a few minutes.

    In part, I think there's a balance between using jargon accurately and accepting that the public understands a term in a certain way. So, if I wrote a story about the use of RC helicopters, I might not get the same response as a story about drones. This is because the public knows what a drone is (as opposed to UAV, RPV, or UAS) and understands what that means.

    A good example of this, try searching Amazon for "drone" as opposed to remote control helicopter. You get dramatically different results.

    And, yes, it's about clicks, however, I don't think it dumbs people down.
     
  9. LIVEFRMNYC, Aug 10, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015

    LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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    #9
    Drone ... Dynamic Remotely Operated Navigation Equipment.
    UAV ........Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
    RC ..........Radio(or Remote) Controlled.

    I think everything can fall into any of the three above categories. Maybe there is an exception for the remote helicopters and planes, as most of them probably lack the Dynamic part. The Dynamic aspect which allows even the toy drones to guide itself back to a specific point in case of an emergency.

    I would say that the traditional RC doesn't use wifi or gps.
     
  10. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    #10
    Distinction without a difference. It's like mentioning differences among selfie sticks. It flies. It annoys. It's a drone.
     
  11. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

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    #11
    The press likes to hype a story but on the other hand some R/C models($150+) can also interface with a computer/tablet/phone for programmed way-points/landings and GPS add-ons so you have a dumbing down of safe R/C usage. There was a guy who shot down an intruding drone that was flying house to house looking into peoples' yards & the so-called operator was several blocks away(too far to actually monitor the flight & using data streaming via 3G/LTE is prone to lag/dead-zones all of which is a serious safety hazard if it hit a tree/branch then landed on a human/car. On Yahoo a guy at a fishing pier took a casting of a hook at one as the R/C operator kept flying over the pier--on another forum someone knew where it occurred and said they saw that R/C flying too low in the past(enough to injure someone if it lost power/reception).

    In my area there have been idiots who fly these things over/around highways and even crashing into tractor trailers while buzzing cars. With so many "advanced" R/C products out there being used improperly, people will be taking careless risks until laws are made to prevent stupid usage/firmware based range-altitude/no fly zone limitations.
     
  12. lostngone thread starter macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #12
    Laws do not prevent people from doing stupid things.
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #13
    May as well remove all the speed limits then.
     
  14. rdowns macrumors Penryn

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    #14

    That may be but laws allow us to punish stupid people.
     
  15. lostngone thread starter macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #15
    I know! Lets make even more laws and see if anything changes....
    People are illegally flying drones now, what makes you think more laws with change that?

    Why not just make anything and everything illegal and let the Government decide when and who to prosecute. Would that make everyone safer and more secure?
     
  16. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #16
    Last I checked, there weren't many laws and boundaries set up concerning drones. It's why they've become such a nuisance as of late.

    That's been the status quo for the last 40 odd years, hasn't it? Don't we call it being Tough On Crime?
     
  17. lostngone, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015

    lostngone thread starter macrumors demi-god

    lostngone

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    #17
    The laws are there. It is already illegal to fly them out of sight of the operator(on-board/remote cameras do not count) and it is illegal to fly them in most controlled airspace(in and around airports). You have to be in control of the remote device at all times and operate them in a safe manner. It is already illegal for me to climb a tree and point a camera in the neighbors bedroom and the same laws apply to flying a with a camera and hovering outside their window. There are plenty of other laws on the books as well.

    Just like another subject I feel strongly about, the idea of more laws == safer is a fallacy. If we can not or will not enforce the laws we already have on the books now what makes people think having even more laws will change anything...
     
  18. Renzatic Suspended

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    #18
    From what it sounds like, we're not necessarily adding any new laws, just expanding air regulations to cover a new category of aerial devices. That's really all that needs to be done, besides maybe add a few extra considerations into what constitutes private airspace over residential districts.
     
  19. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Would you like being behind a trailer on a highway which hit a R/C or drone? Or better yet would you like a R/C flying at your head with unprotected propellers, you might like a close shave to your skull...
     
  20. macquariumguy macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    It's the same hyperbole that makes a pressure cooker bomb a "weapon of mass destruction" and any rifle with a black plastic stock an "assault weapon".
     
  21. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #21
    For all intents and purposes, drones equal unmanned aerial vehicle, some of which might be automonous and most of the civil concern is focused on drones that can hover and snoop. Google "drone images" and you'll get a page of:

    [​IMG]
    I would include RC aircraft and helos in the general category.
     
  22. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #22
    Most people would never know the difference. Rc craft usually take more skill to setup android flying then the quads people think of as drones they usually know they can crash and burn and cost a lot. Flying a plane is far harder and a Rc helicopter much more so they tend to weed out some of the idiots
     
  23. Renzatic Suspended

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    #23
    This is very true. I had an RC plane when I was a kid. Loved that thing. Got to fly it three times before I crashed it into a tree and damaged it beyond repair. From what I've seen of drones, you can pick one up and fly it around like an old hand after a couple hours of practice.

    The learning curve is far more shallow comparatively.
     
  24. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #24
    Huge advances in RC helo technology in the last 15 years. It used to take skill to fly an RC helo. I know and that was then they had stabilization gyros. Now for the 4 engine drones, it's an up/down/left/right button, zoom in on bedroom window, "click, click". (no first hand xp with this.) ;)
     
  25. steve knight Suspended

    steve knight

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    #25
    Rc helis are so hard I crashed hundreds of times. Luckily they have small ones and I had a field with long grass quads were not much fun for me too easy to fly. Nothing like flying inverted and backwards to get your legs shaking.
    Quads are cheap and easy to fly perfect for fools
     

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