FAA: Weaponized Drones Are Illegal

FAA: Weaponized Drones Are Illegal

The cost of consumer drones has come down considerably in the past few years, and some owners have fancied the idea of outfitting their unmanned vehicles with weapons. Some recent videos have surfaced showing people doing just that. Well, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is here to remind everyone that, no, you can’t equip a drone with weapons. It’s highly illegal, and the FAA is authorized to slap people with hefty fines.

For several years, the proliferation of drone aircraft proceeded with very little regulation. The federal government slammed on the brakes when businesses started using drones at a time when there were no rules in place to ensure unmanned vehicles didn’t interfere with air traffic. Now, drones over a certain size and those used in business require a license. There are also restrictions about where you can fly drones, and of course, you’re not allowed to turn drones into flying weapons.

Just recently, a company called ThrowFlame made headlines with its $1,500 “TF-19 Wasp” flamethrower attachment for drones. It works with most unmanned aircraft with a payload capacity of five pounds or more. Most of that weight is fuel — one gallon gets you 100 seconds of burning time. The TF-19 Wasp can bathe targets up to 25 feet away in fire. ThrowFlame insists this isn’t a weapon.

Drones now have flamethrowers and this probably won't end well. pic.twitter.com/bWweydygOe

— PCMag (@PCMag) August 5, 2019

This is certainly more of a gray area than some past drone experiments. In 2015, the FAA investigated an online video that showed a drone firing a handgun. Following the investigation, the agency issued a warning but decided against fines.

ThrowFlame, which also sells handheld flamethrowers, seems defiant in the face of potential fines. The TF-19 Wasp remains for sale on the company’s site, and there are plenty of videos demonstrating its use. The FAA might call that “evidence.” This disagreement could be headed for court.

Continue reading

How to Build a Face Mask Detector With a Jetson Nano 2GB and AlwaysAI
How to Build a Face Mask Detector With a Jetson Nano 2GB and AlwaysAI

Nvidia continues to make AI at the edge more affordable and easier to deploy. So instead of simply running through the benchmarks to review the new Jetson Nano 2GB, I decided to tackle the DIY project of building my own face mask detector.

Every CPU, GPU, and Console Debut This Fall Was Effectively a Paper Launch
Every CPU, GPU, and Console Debut This Fall Was Effectively a Paper Launch

Every CPU, GPU, and console launch since midsummer has effectively (if not technically) been a paper launch for the majority of consumers who wanted the hardware.

Google Pixel Slate Owners Report Failing Flash Storage
Google Pixel Slate Owners Report Failing Flash Storage

Google's product support forums are flooded with angry Pixel Slate owners who say their devices are running into frequent, crippling storage errors.

Astronomers Might Finally Know the Source of Fast Radio Bursts
Astronomers Might Finally Know the Source of Fast Radio Bursts

A trio of new studies report on an FRB within our own galaxy. Because this one was so much closer than past signals, scientists were able to track it to a particular type of neutron star known as a magnetar.