How are drones controlled?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Captain Kremmen, Dec 4, 2012.

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  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    How are drones controlled?
    If it is a radio frequency, surely that would be easy to block
    and make them fall out of the sky.
     
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  3. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    drones.
    as in what?
    RC models?
     
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Ones like the Scan Eagle aerial reconnaissance plane. The Iranians say they have just captured one of them.

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    see http://www.defense-update.com/products/s/scaneagle.htm

    The report says they are autonomous, but can be controlled from the ground.
    Why is it not possible to make enough radio noise to confuse it?
     
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  7. leopold Valued Senior Member

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    there are a number of ways to filter out noise.
    some types of transmissions are inherently immune to EM noise, FM for example.
    if transmitted digitally there are a few ways to correct for single and double bit errors.
     
  8. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    FM. Yes it is resistant to cross interference from other frequencies,
    but is it resistant to interference at the same frequency?
    Say the control signal was at 96.6 FM
    Why wouldn't a powerful oscillator signal at the same frequency interfere with it?


    Another method.
    What if you captured the signal and retransmitted the exact same signal
    a split second later? That should confuse it.
    It obviously doesn't, because that would make drones useless.
    But why not?

    They must have some system whereby the drone can find the correct signal amidst any amount of noise.
    If it is coded, the code must change after every instruction.
     
  9. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe it can filter out waves coming from anywhere but the exact direction of the correct transmitter.
    Is this possible?
    If so, you could never block the signal because you don't know where the drone is.
     
  10. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    They are controlled by a small gerbil or guinea pig inside the air frame that is running on a tread mill wheel.
    /thread
     
  11. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    [video=youtube;O4I13Cnlpkk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4I13Cnlpkk[/video]

    Doesn't the "sensor operator" woman look lovely? She is pretty isn't she and such a sweet voice...the one who kills people with a push of a button and smiles in front of cameras.

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    want to hack the video feeds from Predator drone? use skygrabber: http://www.skygrabber.com/en/skygrabber.php
     
  12. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't that a man?
     
  13. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    4:10 and on
    "sensor operator"
     
  14. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    Very much like playing a computer game for a living.
    I wonder why the resolution is so poor from the onboard cameras.
    You can't tell whether the figures are soldiers, men, women or children.
    You also can't make out vehicles properly.
    No wonder there are so many mistakes.

    They look like nice people.
    Now, with modern technological advances
    nice people can kill too.
     
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It is possible. They are autonomous enough to complete most missions and return to base anyway.

    Spread spectrum communications avoids that problem.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Fun trivia - the US was working on pigeon guided missiles during WWII. A pigeon would peck at a target on a screen, and the system would guide the missile toward the pecks.
     
  17. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    I imagine the poor resolution is on a magnified image, time of day/infrared could also affect images, and speed also would be a slight factor.

    Note: Add pilots to long list of jobs that don't require people anymore. I tell my kids to worry more about finding jobs that will still exist in 40 years than finding a job they like.

    It is my understanding that drones are monitored and flown by pilots due to their expense, but a large part of their flying is computer driven in the same way autopilot works on commercial craft. A Commercial Pilot might switch off autopilot at 1000 feet and land the plane in a commercial setting, and I imagine drones are landed in a similar fashion especially if an aircraft carrier is involved but they are capable of take offs and landings with the software they are provided.

    Todays drones are also capable of mid-air refueling without pilot assistance, and drone fuel planes may someday make an appearance if they do not already exist somewhere.

    I think the blurry photos we see in the video above are mostly the sensor operator controlling the camera while the plane flies itself, but there is no way to know for sure. I think the pilot mainly monitors the gauges, and flirts with the sensor operator.
     
  18. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    You are referring to spatial resolution which is poor because of satellites low FOV, in this case I guess the military reserves higher spatial resolution for their commanders or higher priority operations.
     
  19. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    I would have thought it fairly high priority to see a target clearly before you fire a hellfire missile at it.
    Otherwise the enemy truck could tirn out to be a school bus.
    Or maybe the operators, who are unexpectedly and clearly quite pleasant individuals, going by the video,
    would fail to pull the trigger if they could see the targets clearly.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Nice people don't kill except in self-defense against someone who is trying to kill or cause serious injury to them or someone else, or to cause major damage. In other words, civilized people don't break that rule unless someone else broke the rule first. (That's the primary rule of civilization, since if we had to constantly protect ourselves from each other we'd dissipate so much time, energy and capital on it that there wouldn't be enough left to create the surplus productivity that makes civilization work.) This may excuse firing on enemy soldiers, although they have been told that you started the killing so they are certain that they're the ones who are defending civilization from barbarians, so both sides believe they're the good guys.

    But it does not excuse "collateral damage" to large numbers of non-combatants.

    Tell them to apprentice themselves to a plumber. In any city too small to have a large corporate headquarters or a large law firm, the wealthiest man in town is the plumber. Sure they'll spend 5-10 years doing the dirty work, but then they can open their own business and hire their own apprentices. And although plumbing may some day be automated, you can be certain that with a plumbing infrastructure which in many cities goes back to the 19th century, that won't happen during their working lives.

    Today's Washington Post ran the obituary for John D. Silva (92), the TV reporter who created the first news chopper or "telecopter" in L.A. in 1958. It was top secret because they didn't want the other TV stations getting the same idea. He had to reduce one ton of gear (remember, this was all vacuum-tube technology) to 300lb so the helicopter could get off the ground. The engineers on the ground weren't getting a signal and he knew they wouldn't be able to recreate the problem on the ground, so he climbed outside (the camera was simply strapped to the skid) and fixed it in mid-air. This achievement changed TV and he was awarded a special Emmy for it.

    Naw, it's okay. They're only Muslims, right? Just like the Palestinians.
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I wouldn't worry too much about that. 120 years ago "pilot" didn't even exist. 60 years ago "programmer" didn't exist. 30 years ago "web page graphic artist" didn't exist. 40 years from now there will be a slew of new jobs out there. Drone delivery operator. Virtual landscaper. Intelligent virus interdiction.
     
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