Feeds

Boffins showcase do-it-yourself flying spy drone

Aerial surveillance on the cheap

Security for virtualized datacentres

French engineering students have designed a do-it-yourself unmanned aerial vehicle that can provide high-resolution, geo-referenced surveillance images in real time.

At the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas earlier this month, Antoine Gademer and Corentin Chéron, two of the students from l'Ecole Supérieure d'Informatique Electronique Automatique in Paris, demonstrated a slimmed-down version of their low-cost spying quadrotor. To the amusement of many, the 27-inch UAV flew high above a parking lot adjacent to the Riviera Hotel as it used its bird's eye view to shoot video of unwary passersby below.

The vessel is controlled in real time by remote control and can rise more than 250 feet in the air. It weighs about 3.5 pounds and can carry a payload of about 2.2 pounds. Toting a digital camera that was modified to make it lighter and more responsive, the vehicle cost about €5,000 to build. That includes the quadrotor, batteries, the remote-control transmitter, camera, and a ground station to communicate with the UAV.

A video of what your reporter saw is below.

Back in Paris, the engineering team has a more advanced version of its improvised spy vehicle. It sports three cameras whose orientation can be remotely controlled to shoot 12 megapixel geo-referenced images. That allows people on the ground to see three points of view that can be blended into a mosaic image if desired. Video streaming beams the images back to the ground as they're being taken. In all, the students have spent about €17,000 on the project.

No doubt, aerial spy drones are nothing new. But as the demo shows, they're quickly coming within the reach of geeks and hackers everywhere. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.