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Drones: Coming Soon To the New Jersey Turnpike? 249

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
redletterdave writes "The FAA predicts 30,000 drones will patrol the US skies by 2020, but New Jersey drivers could see these unmanned aerial vehicles hovering above the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway much sooner than that. New Jersey lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties have introduced a number of bills to tackle the drones issue before the federal government starts issuing the first domestic drone permits in September 2015."
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Drones: Coming Soon To the New Jersey Turnpike?

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  • Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:23PM (#43727101)

    In addition to that, what is it going to do with an already over stressed Air Traffic Control system?

    These drones can be easily programmed to keep clear of any airports, flight paths, and other restricted areas. There are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about drones, but this isn't one of them.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:35PM (#43727189) Homepage Journal

    It's too late, the local Seattle paper The Stranger is already using drones in public, under both the First Amendment (free press) and Second Amendment (Right To Bear Drones).

    Wake up and smell the privacy-disabled future!

    (caveat - Canadians have privacy rights, and technically the Washington State Constitution has strong privacy rights - but there are still drones)

  • Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by flayzernax (1060680) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:40PM (#43727225)

    Also Americans are unwilling to adjust to a slower safer speed when necessary. Inclement whether, snow, ice, fog. Nope speed limits 55, better go 65 when there's deer and the fog is thick enough that your headlights don't max out their beam distance.

    The universe is a fairly forgiving place though when it comes to that kind of stupidity en-masse. Except for those tragic times when an avoidable accident could be avoided.

  • Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alex Pennace (27488) <alex@pennace.org> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:48PM (#43727281) Homepage

    Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85. Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

    That is an interesting point so I did some research. I found FHWA Report No. FHWA-RD-92-084 (one source of which is at http://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/sl-irrel.html [ibiblio.org] but other copies agree) that says "The results of the study indicated that lowering posted speed limits by as much as 20 mi/h (32 km/h), or raising speed limits by as much as 15 mi/h (24 km/h) had little effect on motorist' speed."

    I'm curious if you had any citations to confirm your statement.

  • Oh come on (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:49PM (#43727289) Homepage Journal
    Mounting things to light poles is 10,000 times more practical.
  • Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @07:54PM (#43727321) Journal

    Because if they raise the limit to 75, people will drive 85.

    And it would probably still be safe....

    Americans have been conditioned to believe that the "real" speed limit is at least 10 mph over the posted limit.

    Because it usually is. As far as I'm concerned, the law should simply say, "You may not travel at a speed that is unsafe for the current road conditions." Anything demanding strict conformance to a posted number (rather than driving at a speed that feels safe) is just asking for people to ignore the law... or worse.

    The worst example of a highway safety law is California's 65 MPH law. Except for a few roads where it is specifically posted at 70 MPH, it is illegal to drive faster than 65 MPH in California, period. All other speed limits are flexible, depending on driving conditions. What this means is:

    • If I speed in a 50 zone, if everyone is going 64 (even if that is verging on unsafe), you can potentially argue your way out of the ticket.
    • If I go 66 in a 65 zone, even if everyone else is going 66, you can't argue your way out of the ticket.

    So if you're running behind and trying to decide where to exceed the speed limit, you're better off speeding on the city street portions of your trip (where there are pedestrians) or the windy highways from hell (CA SR-17 with its constant switchbacks) than on the relatively safe 65 MPH stretches. In short, by any rational interpretation of California traffic laws, the 65 MPH maximum speed law is actively making the roads less safe, because on the roads where speeding would provably pose the least additional risk, the law restricts your speed in the strictest way possible, and on the roads where speeding would provably pose the most additional risk, the law restricts your speed in the most lax way possible.

    And people wonder why I think traffic laws are almost entirely written by idiots.

  • Re:Risk vs. Reward? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @11:29PM (#43728579)

    Cameras on poles aren't able to accurately judge a vehicle's speed

    Rubbish.

    Cameras on pole A (one near the ground, to read license plates, and one at the top of the pole, for accurate location info, and maybe to catch vandals working over the one near the ground) simultaneously take a picture every time a car passes through a target zone in front of it (using e.g. ultrasound ranging sensor, light curtain, whatever, to detect it); similar cameras on pole B 100m up the road do the same. If a picture of the same car is taken by both camera clusters within ~3.6 seconds, it's going over 100km/h, and since both cameras are aimed, and the target zones are set, to ensure best visibility of the license plates, we'll be able to tell whether it's really the same car, or an identical car with different plates. To compute the exact speed, we must consider the position in the top camera's view -- but since it's looking almost straight down, parallax is negligible, so you just measure the distance along the roadway (for bonus points, have reflectors in the roadway at precisely known spacings, use these both for initial calibration and to defend the accuracy of the measurement in court) in each picture and add/subtract to the 100m baseline.

    And yeah, when some dumb-arse says "that's just an average speed, you can't prove I ever traveled that exact speed", we call a high school maths teacher as an expert witness to explain the mean value theorem.

  • Re:Frosty Piss (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jklovanc (1603149) on Wednesday May 15, 2013 @01:58AM (#43729109)

    Unmanned is am misnomer. Even if the pilot is on the ground there is still a person involved with controlling the drone. Calling a drone "remotely manned" is much more accurate.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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