Drones Meet Guns — Now What?

July 30, 2015  - By
Image: GPS World

A Kentucky man shot down a drone when it crossed into “his airspace” over his backyard, and was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment.

William Merideth told Ars Technia that he never would have shot the drone with Number 8 birdshot if it had only been flying past. But since it hovered, he felt it was an invasion of privacy. He claims the drone was flying 10 feet above his property and had been spying on his neighbor’s sunbathing daughter.

“It was just right there,” he told Ars. “It was hovering, I would never have shot it if it was flying. When he came down with a video camera right over my back deck, that’s not going to work. I know they’re neat little vehicles, but one of those uses shouldn’t be flying into people’s yards and videotaping.”

Merideth’s claims are disputed by the drone’s owner, who has evidence that rebuts Merideth. David Boggs, who was flying the drone, showed WDRB-TV a video of the flight path of the altitude of the drone, showing that the drone did not drop as low as 10 feet. Boggs, one of four owners of $1,800 drone, confronted Merideth and called police. Boggs told WDRB that he bought the drone just a few days before it was shot down and planned on using it to shoot video of his children riding motocross.

“I would just like [the drone owner] to get some education on his toy and learn to respect the rights of the people,” Merideth said. “It’s fine and dandy, and I think it’s cool there’s a camera on it, but just take it to a park or something — he’s not a responsible drone owner.”

In another incident involving drones and guns, an 18-year-old mechanical engineering student attached a semi-automatic gun to a quadcopter drone, and posted the result on YouTube in early July.

The video has been viewed more than 3 million times and was covered by the national media. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Peter Sachs, an attorney and drone advocate, welcomes the FAA investigation into the armed drone. “Drones should be used for good, not for evil,” Sachs said. “There are countless ways that drones can be useful. Using one as a remote-controlled weapon is not one of them, and I question the judgment of anyone who would attempt to do so.”

This article is tagged with , , , and posted in Latest News, UAV/UGV

4 Comments on "Drones Meet Guns — Now What?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. William K. says:

    Adding a gun to a drone is certainly not a very hard task, adding an impact detonated explosive would be even easier. But adding a gun plus a targeting laser, such as is presently available from many sources, would be quite deadly.
    I am quite amazed that no fanatic nut-job has not yet made such an assembly. The only hard part would be adding a channel to switch on the laser and another to fire the gun. And evidently that has already been done.

  2. JJM says:

    Threats to privacy and life, and some wonder why I oppose these machines. Yes, responsible use can be very helpful but our world is full of the irresponsible.

  3. Craig Roberts says:

    Errr…. correct me if I am wrong Peter Sachs but aren’t the military using remotely controlled drones with weapons in the middle east right now?

  4. Leatherstocking says:

    Drones earlier this week were at 3000 ft MSL near the EWR approach path, spotted by several airliners. We’ve seen one land on the White House lawn. Drop a small explosive or grenade is a small step. Video links are available from aftermarket sources. Most law enforcement organizations have no air assets to track/locate the drone or its operator. It’s going to be the wild west as technology has outstripped legislation. Our military drones have shown the utility of these systems. It’s too late to go back.