Aug. 5, 2018. In the heart of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, Nicolas Máduro was in the middle of a rousing speech. He stood high on a podium, speaking to a parade of military troops on live national TV. An hour in, the Venezuelan president flinched. His eyes widened. An unexpected object flew by. It was a drone, carrying explosives along the city’s historic Bolívar Avenue. Allegedly, this was an assassination attempt using a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle — the kind of drone you can buy from any electronics store — fitted with explosives. Jai Galliott, a non-resident fellow of the Modern War Institute calls the event in Caracas a “modern form of assassination.” Advancements in consumer drone technology mean commercial drones are more stable in the air. They have better communications systems. They can lift heavier loads. At less than $800 online, they’re within the means of average people who want to record themselves on an adventure trail, or film their kid’s football game. But drones are also capable of incredible destruction and, crucially, anyone can get their hands on one. Is it possible to stop bad actors from using drones in terrorist attacks? Answers are difficult to come by. Off the shelf, into trouble In 2015, an off-duty employee, reportedly for a US government intelligence agency, showed how easy it was to infiltrate a highly secure building. He borrowed a friend’s 2-by-2-foot DJI Phantom drone, and accidentally flew it onto the White House lawn. Officials didn’t catch it. The White… [Read full story]
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