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Video: Civilian UAV Films Polish Riots From Above

by John Reed on November 16, 2011

The video below showing a civilian operated drone chopper filming riots in Warsaw, Poland last Friday is a great example of the democratization of what was until very recently, military-grade tech. This is a straight up ISR drone that’s flying high above the streets of a major city taking camera footage that was once the exclusive domain of high-priced news choppers and government helos.

This reminds me of a post I wrote at sister site DoDBuzz last year where experts — speaking anonymously to encourage open and honest debate — an Army conference on the future of warfare warned of the rise of civil UAVs and ever-shrinking ISR gear that could be used by non-state actors:

The first technology approach would be the use by terrorist groups of new forms of airborne attack. Except this time they would use model aircraft as “a homemade cruise missile” or even building a model sailplane out of plastic or composites with a pound or two of explosives and something to serve as shrapnel,” the presenter said. Such a craft could evade radar and penetrate no fly zones to hit specified targets such as “the next presidential inauguration,” he said. “Let’s call this a homemade cruise missile,” he added.

Yup, I seem to recall someone trying to bring prediction to life earlier this year in Massachusetts.

I’ve heard other experts warn of militant groups like Hezbollah using ever-shrinking high-res video cameras mounted on civilian prop planes flying close to Lebanon’s southern border to spy on targets inside Israel.

Heck, the little robo-copter shown above was used by the Libyan rebels to spy on Gadhafi’s forces during the Libyan civil war — the rebels needed minimal training to operate the drones.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Black Owl November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

The thought of putting a stable, accurate gun on that UAV gives me the chills. It has a perfect view of everyone and is hard to spot.

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ethug November 16, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Ammo and weight issues aside

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LuLu November 21, 2011 at 4:14 am

So Cool == Dzienki !!!!!!!

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Musson1 November 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Was that a rocket coming out of the crowd?

It left a vapor trail.

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MCQknight November 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I think that was a tear-gas canister being fired.

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Jazzism November 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I think look at it further out like a block or 2 away. Lots of kit planes of prop, jet or rocket. Make yourself a model kamikaze Ki-15 Karigane with a camera and stuff. That's what the big heads are scared of I think.

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Morty November 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Even if a small UAV could carry a small pistol It would be extreamly dangerous assanation attempts would be a lot more common

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MCQknight November 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Any word on what specific platform this was? I want one!

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Christopher Bloom November 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm

In the first part it looks like a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Police and toward the end some one fires a tear Gas round.

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Chrobry November 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

The long building on the left where the Molotov fires were burning is the building housing the capital garrison of the Polish Army honor guard.

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QuiAudetAdipiscitur November 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Popular Science has a good article on a similar platform/idea…
http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2011-10/you-bui

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Lance November 16, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Good eye in the sky for cops.

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Stephen N Russell November 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Must for cities worldwide IE over US cities for Occupy Wall St movement alone.
Or oversee Rose Parade in Pasadena CA Jan 1.

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Christopher Bloom November 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

Many of the rockets the Palestinians fire into Israel are not that much removed from hoby rockets.

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WJS November 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

So why are they rioting in Poland?

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Rafal November 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

left wing vs right wing separated by police … in the end both sides attacked police :)

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Martix November 18, 2011 at 8:37 am

I'm from warsaw I have seen many videos from these events and heard many eyewitnesses on the Internet and TV and I can say that there were no riots in Warsaw. There were some hooligans provocations and in many opinions the aggressive acting of the police (which instead of protecting taking part in the Independence March people and their set route they pushed off them ad blocked them) and decisions of Warsaw authorities accepting some opposite demonstrations in the same place caused thiese hooligans acts.
Here you can watch the police actions : http://vod.gazetapolska.pl/694-wojna-polsko-tuska

and here the real Independent March which was blocked by leftist http://vod.gazetapolska.pl/677-czesc-i-chwala-boh

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anonymous November 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

the picture of the droid not is the correct, see this link…

http://wtemaciemaci.salon24.pl/365300,gratulacje-dla-firmy-robokopter

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nobodysaysBOO November 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

the new and improved hunter killer drones will hunt and kill other drones automaticly just like in the robot wars on tv,when we all can rent one for a day and control it from the tv to do revenge hunts ect! what a great world, buy drone stock! Can they bring down jet airplaines like a bird strike? Can we make one that catches a drone midair like a hawk and brings it home?

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Nick Dwyer November 18, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Siri attack that blue car!

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Martix November 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

This video you wont see in Polish or foreign mainstream media. Do you think that these people are nazis or fascists as they are called by extreme leftists. Because of them German hit squads arrived to Poland invited by some Polish leftist circles to disterb celebrating Polish Independence day. Why no madia havn't shown the real Independence March but shown only provocations and some hooligans. To accuse these people of starting brawls in the streets and to forbid the Independent march in the future? No comment.
http://vod.gazetapolska.pl/710-idzie-polska-dlacz

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bilwill November 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Of course governments will outlaw these private Ariel drones<like next week. the weak majority will applaud the protection.

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Mike November 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Well done. I would experiment with a parabola or tube around the microphone to get the prop noise down and acquire useful sound from what is being filmed.

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Reality Bites November 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

The media outlets don't need drones, they are just mouthpieces of the government.

The free people of the world need the drones to protect themselves from the government psychopaths.

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rob December 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

The video shown was from a simple "toy" helicopter with a digicam, not an ISR drone. Simple tech cleverly used.

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kim November 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

So far. But then how many ounces of explosives do you need to take out one person?

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zardinuk November 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Given the funds, I bet I could arm it with a .22lr and 10 rounds and it would still fly.

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anon November 19, 2011 at 2:01 am

he was a product of the MK Ultra Program. The movie w/ Jason Bourne isn't far from reality. Except the levels in which they warp soldiers minds is a bit watered-down. Timothy McVeigh was created for a purpose.

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Andy M November 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Hvae you ever flown a quadrocopter like that? It's more or less a pain in the ass to keep stable unless your software is awesome. Factor in any kind of recoil at all and that's out the window.

A .22 isn't scaring much either.

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zardinuk November 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

No I've never flown one, but I'm a programmer and nothing seems impossible to me with modern computers. Here's how I'd solve the problems:

.22 isn't scary: aim for the head

Keep the platform stable: fly directly over the heads of the target (makes aiming for the head easier), recoil is always directed upward as much as possible, the gimbal mount knows the degree to which the recoil will be off center based on the aim point, and is prepared to compensate the same instant the shot goes off by increasing/decreasing power on individual rotors. Outside of a certain aim radius the computers knows it can't survive the recoil, I'm thinking this radius will be enough to track a person on foot, not sure about someone, say, in the back of a pickup truck.

Keeping a stable aim-point: Use higher precision gyros, extend the arms on the quad copter out further for better stability, use a stabilized gimbal mount for the weapon.

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zardinuk November 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Also, flying directly overhead and aiming down mitigates the effect of wind and gravity on the aim point, making precision easier. It's also harder for someone to target the thing when it's directly over your head, ever try shooting straight up?

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blight2 November 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

It makes the wind-corrected trajectory ideal trajectory vertical instead of parabolic. However, you still need to compensate for it.

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