drones

Texas Standard
2:32 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The First All-Drone Airport is Opening in Texas

A Grey Shadow drone, the same type of aircraft slated to be housed at a new complex in El Paso's Fort Bliss.
Flickr user Greg Goebel, https://flic.kr/ps/z7irw

In Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas a new airport is being built. But it won't cater to pilots or offer any amenities common to the typical airstrip –because this one is being built exclusively to house the U.S Army aerial drones.

If an aerial drone fleet housed in a state of the art bunker sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, you're not far off. The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with John Horgan, writer for the Scientific American online and teacher at the Stevens Institute for Technology

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Technology
11:27 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drones Approved: FAA Gives OK To First Commercial Use Over Land

A 2011 photo shows an AeroVironment Puma drone being prepared for launch by University of Alaska researchers. The FAA says it approved BP's use of the drone to survey oil fields in Alaska.
Keith Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 12:24 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has issued the first permit in its history for an unmanned aircraft to fly over U.S. soil. Oil company BP will use a drone from the company AeroVironment to conduct surveys in Alaska.

The first drone flights under the recently issued waiver have already taken place, the FAA says.

From the agency's news release:

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Technology
4:32 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

As Drones Fly In Cities And Yards, So Do The Complaints

Merrill uses a drone to take aerial shots of Santa Cruz, Calif.
Courtesy of David Merrill

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 9:25 am

The price of drones is dropping — a decent one could cost you $300 — but the reality of the devices flying around cities and neighborhoods doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans.

Are they just paranoid?

Three months ago, when Michael Kirschner and his wife purchased a new condo in San Francisco, they were not concerned about drones. They fell in love with the unit because of its big picture windows.

"You have a view that reaches all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge," Kirschner says.

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Politics
4:23 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

White House Will Let Senators Read Secret Drone Memo

In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November, 2010.
SITE Intelligence Group AP

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 3:23 pm

The White House has decided that it will let Senators read a secret memo that makes the legal case for the government's ability to target Americans abroad using a drone strike.

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast unit that the move is designed to head off a confirmation battle over one of its judicial nominees.

Carrie filed this report:

"A Republican Senator and the American Civil Liberties Union have joined forces to try to block David Barron from serving as a federal appeals court judge.

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Texas
10:12 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Feds Pick Texas As One of Six Drone Testing Sites

A MQ-1 Predator drone, presented to the Texas Air National Guard in Houston, Texas in 2009.
flickr.com/e06158

Update 12/30/13: The Federal Aviation Administration has selected Texas A&M - Corpus Christi as one of six drone testing sites across the U.S. The FAA says the Corpus Christi site "plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing." 

Sites in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Virginia were also chosen.

Hear more about A&M's drone plans in the interview below.

Original story 10/09/13: From Manhattan to Afghanistan, drones have become big news and big business. Now, there’s a move to turn the skies over Texas into one of the world’s leading drone test sites. 

KUT’s David Brown talks with Ron George, a senior research development officer at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi , and one of the planners of a new drone development center.

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Amazon Air
3:38 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Amazon's Drone Has Many Asking 'What Could Go Wrong?'

Buzzing to a neighborhood near you? Amazon.com's Prime Air prototype may someday fly small packages right to customers' homes.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 5:37 pm

The news that Amazon is hoping to one day use semi-autonomous drones to deliver small packages to customers has many asking a familiar question:

What could go wrong?

Check this tweet:

"An Amazon drone!? What could go wrong?! 'They're autonomous' - this is how the Terminator started FYI..."

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Technology
9:25 am
Mon October 28, 2013

UT Engineering Students Develop Drone Software for NASA

Miki Szmuk oversees the operations of the drone and rover in the field. At this point there is no human intervention between the engineered products.
Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

New unmanned aerial vehicles – better known as drones – could soon roam over the Arctic and Polar regions of the planet. And at the University of Texas, engineering students aren’t working on the planes themselves, but rather the autonomous flight capability of the unmanned aircraft.

UT grad students at the Cockrell School of Engineering recently headed out to an open field with a movable sensor – called a rover –and a small drone aircraft to perform a test flight. The drone was programmed with an operating system that charts a path for performing a task, also known as an algorithm. It instructed the drone to follow the rover, which acted as a moving target.

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Austin
1:58 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Watch: A Drone's-Eye View of Downtown Austin

The picture above is from footage captured by Colin Guinn of DJI Innovations, a company that manufactures UAVs right here in Austin. Though Guinn has seen an uptick in UAV sales, the FAA still has not created uniform federal regulations for them.

The prospect of drone-dotted skies across Texas isn’t such a far-off thought.

The technology exists, and Gov. Rick Perry even signed a law regulating their use last week.

While the legislation provides some oversight, it carves out some strange exceptions. And the burgeoning industry is waiting for the FAA to establish federal regulation.

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83rd Texas Legislature
10:54 am
Tue May 28, 2013

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session. 

BUDGET

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Politics
5:07 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Holder Acknowledges U.S. Citizens Killed in Drone Strikes

A Nov. 2010 file image of Anwar al-Awlaki taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group.
Associated Press

Originally published on Wed May 22, 2013 6:12 pm

For the first time, the U.S. government has acknowledged killing four American citizens in lethal drone strikes far outside traditional battlefields, confirming information that had been widely known but has only recently been unclassified under orders of the president.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
1:15 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

House Votes to Limit Drone Use

As drones become more prevalent outside the military, Texas lawmakers want to regulate their use.
flickr.com/eschipul

The Texas House passed a bill last night that could limit the use of aerial drones by both law enforcement and private citizens.

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Terrell, points out that police need a warrant to enter private property, and says his bill would provide the same requirement for law enforcement using drones.

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War and Terrorism
2:33 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

In Al-Qaida Document, 22 Tips To Avoid Drones Strikes

In this Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 photo, a young vendor waits for clients alongside woven reed mats of the type purchased by fleeing Islamists, apparently to camouflage their vehicles, in Timbuktu, Mali.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 2:18 pm

As al-Qaida extremists streamed out of Timbuktu, they left behind a curious document and the Associated Press got its hands on it.

It's written by Abdallah bin Muhammad, a senior commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of the group, and it includes 22 bulleted tips on how to evade drone strikes.

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Politics
10:21 am
Wed February 13, 2013

President Pledges Transparency on Drone Strikes

A protest against drone strikes outside the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington last week.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 12:22 pm

In an apparent reference to U.S. drone strikes, President Obama in his State of the Union speech defended the administration's continued use of "direct action" against terrorists and promised to work with Congress to ensure such targeting is lawful and transparent.

The president said that "where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans."

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Politics
3:29 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Death By Drone, And The Sliding Scale Of Presidential Power

An unmanned drone armed with Hellfire missiles is shown over southern Afghanistan. A Hellfire missile fired from a drone was used in 2011 to kill an American in Yemen who the Obama administration says was an al-Qaida leader. Another American died in that attack, and a 16-year-old American was killed in a separate drone strike.
Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt AP

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 1:00 pm

The controversy over President Obama's targeted-killings-by-drone policy is a reminder that the default position of presidents in times of crisis is generally to side with national security over civil liberties.

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CIA
2:50 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Drone Program Under Scrutiny As CIA Nominee Testifies

John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to head the CIA, prepares to testify at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:44 am

Update at 5:35 pm ET. Brennan on drones:

As senators questioned John Brennan, the nominee to head the CIA, one of the recurring themes was the broader impact of the lethal drone strikes.

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, asked whether the Obama administration was killing terrorists who might otherwise be captured and interrogated.

Brennan insisted that it was always preferable to capture and question terrorists to gather intelligence, and he said lethal strikes were taken as a last resort.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

5 Questions About Justice Department Memo On Targeted Killings

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 5:48 am

A confidential Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News outlines legal theories the Obama administration has used to justify killing American citizens abroad. Here are five key questions and answers about the document:

1) What is it?

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
11:58 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Lege Could Ban Drone Surveillance of Private Property

icheal Cincienne of Absolute Aerospace and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, engineering student Adam Ersepke, and lab coordinator Jack Edward Esparza carry a University drone back to the command center.
Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

A drone, no bigger than a toy airplane, hovered north of the Texas Capitol, floating over the heads of lawmakers momentarily distracted from their morning meetings. Several of them gathered beneath it, faces tilted skyward, marveling over a pair of goggles that allowed them to watch live video of the drone’s panoramic bird’s eye view.

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Politics
1:32 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

United Nations Launches Investigation Into U.S. Drone Program

President Obama's use of drones, and his direct involvement in who they target, has both U.S. and international communities questioning the administration's secret drone policy.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:43 pm

The United Nations' special rapporteur for human rights and counterterrorism launched an investigation Thursday into the United States' targeted killing program.

Ben Emmerson, from Britain, will lead the inquiry, which will focus on the civilian effect of the program as well, as the legal framework governing drone attacks.

Reuters explains:

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