It's time for a bit of chickenwire over the clink?
A quadcopter carrying drugs and mobile phones crashed in a yard of Manchester's Strangeways prison last Friday, and while residents were deprived of that particular cargo, a former inmate claims cases of airborne contraband delivery are "rife". According to the Manchester Evening News, a Prison Service spokesperson said: "A …
Exactly! A place like Strangeways is almost purpose built to string some netting across the open areas, roof-top to roof-top. Very little cost for a fairly large payback in smuggling reductions. Maybe it could come from the Police Crime Prevention budget if the prisons can't afford it.
Glyn Travis, of the Prison Officers’ Association, confirmed the economics of the flying service. He said: "Technology like drones allows criminals to drop contraband virtually onto a pedestal. A drone might cost £300 or £400 but there’s big money to be made. If it breaks, that's just short change."
What's more, they are seriously undercutting the prison officers' prices.
So the cells have windows that can be opened enough to bring a drone inside? Or, to put it another way, big enough for a con to climb out of?
Wait. there are man-sized drones available now? I was assuming they just land the drone on the window ledge and the con pulls it through, so the window only needs to open a few inches, but ICBR.
When the Chinese government wanted to stop drones flying over Beijing they simply made the manufacturers (DJI, etc) put "no fly zones" into their firmware updates. Of course, you could still avoid the limitation by just not updating the firmware but the way DJI seem to have addressed this is that new products which link into their flight computers need the newer firmware to function. Also, you could end up with a loads of NFZ data. Half the reason that multicopters are popular now is because the GPS guidance and stability systems make the systems as easy to fly as playing a computer game. Systems without the stability and guidance aids would still be able to function but the level of skill required is exponentially greater.
Do these things refuse to fly without a GPS signal?
If yes, then you can't fly them indoors or in a cave, which is a shame.
If no, then presumably you can circumvent any "no-fly" zone by disabling the GPS, either by attaching a GPS jammer, or by shielding an antenna, or by cutting a wire.
Clearly we need a law banning the ownership of flying devices except under strict license from the Government. All existing devices must be registered, and the license must be produced for all new acquisitions.
Just wondering when this will be proposed in Parliament. I'm predicting before the end of 2016.
We already have an organisation which administers accreditation and licensing to fly this type of kit. It's called the British Model Flying Association, which is actually part of the Civil Aviation Authority. The BMFA needs some teeth, however anyone can just go down to Maplin and buy a ready-to-fly system off the shelf and it's completely legal to fly one in your back garden or on private property where permission has been granted without any kind of license or insurance. The restriction needs to be enforced upon suppliers selling to people without a license or insurance, thus making the sales traceable. The trouble is that everyone sells this kit now - it's no longer the preserve of your friendly local model shop.
However, given all that I've said, there is nothing to stop you buying all your own non-drone-specific components and creating one from scratch based on the open source Arduino based Arducopter software. Not being able to readily buy an off the peg ready-to-fly system might only delay you getting something in the air by no more than a couple of days.
Doesn't even need to be particularly fine, half meter squares would be a bugger to see and navigate through, especially if they move in the down draught. Couple of layers of that with central motion/displacement detector (AKA the spider) and it would be time consuming to make something to cut and then get through the layers.
A plan with no downside if all inmates are forced to sign a waiver concerning being eaten by giant mutant spiders.
This could be in the fine print of a paper that reads "Sign at the bottom if you would prefer to serve out your sentence in a domestic prison as opposed to the covert facility on an island in the South Atlantic reserved for terrorists and enemy secret agents, to which food can only be delivered six months in any year".
Those who don't sign can be sent to the island in the South Atlantic where the only drones flying are of the sort that were sent to get Jeremy Renner.
Just thinking out loud so to speak. But what if the prison services simply don't enforce this. What if they just let the helicopters in?
Bear with me: If the prisons conducted regular drug testing and any failure cause you to be in solitary confinement or even extend your sentence for a year then wouldn't the criminals eventually get the idea that perhaps they just shouldn't do drugs?
The prisons are full. We can't afford to lengthen sentences. We can't afford solitary confinement.
Legalising drugs, on the other hand, that might be a real solution...
Though not to the problem (if it exists) of weapons being smuggled into prisons with drones.
We need antidrone drones. They need to be fast and clever, chase and catch the intruder in seconds, set it down safely, all automated, no-human-involved. There's an enormous market - or there will be, after the first terrorist quadcopter bomb. Why isn't this a major research project right now?
"a drone was successfully intercepted" according to HMP.
"it crashed and was found" according to the press.
If the press are correct, I hope that this is not the kind of "successful interception" relied on by other government services in these days of limited resources, for example I'd hate to think that a successful interception of an enemy aircraft by the RAF relied entirely on johnny foreigner being a poor pilot and steering into the ground for no good reason.
Good grief! Are there no honourable people in these prisons anymore? But how big are the openings if you can pull a drone through there?
The president of this country in the south may be interested to know that he can have stuff delivered to his cell because I think he'll be going straight to prison when his term ends.
"It's like ordering a Chinese." ...... is there ANYTHING one cannot order over the 'net anymore?
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