Report: Drone Hacked, Crashes, Injures Athlete

Illustration for article titled Report: Drone Hacked, Crashes, Injures Athlete

Drones don't just exist for pretty videos and convenient delivery. They also exist to be a hazard to athletes, with a crash in an Australian triathlon injuring one competitor and leading to accusations of hacking.


According to a report on the ABC, at around 9am on Sunday a camera drone that was filming the Endure Batavia Triathlon in Western Australia crashed into the ground. An athlete claims she was struck by the drone as it fell, but other reports say it crashed near her, and she fell after becoming "startled".

The image above, from Browning Media, shows both the athlete - Raija Ogden, bleeding from a head wound - and the drone in question.


The operator of the drone, New Era Photography and Film's Warren Abrams, says that somebody intentionally "channel hopped" the drone, which interrupted the pilot's signal and caused the drone to drop the ground.

Whether it really was hacked or not, and whether the athlete was really hit by the drone or not, one thing not up for debate is that Abrams' company lacked the certification to be commercially covering the race in the first place. Making this all one giant, robotic mess.

Triathlete injured as drone filming race falls to ground [ABC][Image: Browning Media]

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Nope. This guy is a complete jackoff. Either he's flat-out lying, or he was grossly negligent and incompetent... In either case, fuck him.

First of all, let's start with the airframe. It's a $20 Chinese knockoff of a DJI Flamewheel hexacopter, that he no doubt purchased from Hobby King. (The fact that it's not DJI motors or anything else is a good tipoff.) And even a properly-configured $100 Chinese flight controller would've RTL'd (Return To Launch; climb to a safe altitude and fly back to the GPS coordinates of where it took off from.) upon loss of control. (Even a $60 one, really.) Nevermind the fact that any RX/TX setup you pay more than $50 for won't be interfered with that easily. Bottom line is, once again, either he's flat-out lying and it was operator error, or he was flying a dangerously unfit piece of equipment overhead of people.

In either case, the media isn't going to note the fact that this guy is a jackoff, they're just going to write it up as "Schmuck with commercial drone injures athlete, story at 11!" and it's another black mark for the rest of us.