What’s that strange bird flying overhead? Why, it’s a gray-breasted Dronus Predatorus, and it must be hungry, because it looks like it’s searching for prey.
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I know this thanks to my handy Drone Survival Guide poster, which describes itself as a 21st Century birdwatching guide. “Our ancestors could spot natural predators from far by their silhouettes,” say the Dutch graphic artist who wrote it. “Are we equally aware of the predators in the present-day?”
Hence the Drone Survival Guide, which fatures silhouettes of the most common drones from around the world, as well as information on whether the drones are used for strikes or just for surveillance. Naturally, the largest drones are American, including the Predator, X-47C (the U.S. Navy’s experimental carrier-based combat drone) and the Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. Dwarfing them all like a mother hen is the high-flying Global Hawk, though studying the chart, one realizes that the rest of the world is building big birds as well, such as China’s Soaring Dragon, Britain’s Mantis and Israel’s Eitan (which is about the size of a Boeing 737 airliner).
The Drone Survival Guide offers seven tips for hiding from drones, such as taking advantage of shadows and trees to hide from drone sensors, minimizing the heat your body gives off to avoid infrared detectors, and not using mobile phones or GPS. For the more advanced students of these remote-controlled birds, there are a few tips on how to hijack their guidance systems. For the convenience of those with the strongest need to watch out for hungry drones, the guide is printed in Arabic, Pashto and other languages. And as an extra bonus, you can order the Drone Survival Guide printed with a reflective surface that will make “this poster a useful tool to interfere with the drone’s sensors.”
Is the Drone Survival Guide useful? For those most affected, namely the inhabitants of certain Middle Eastern and Southwest Asian nations, the answer is no. Identifying aircraft is no easier than identifying birds unless you have a lot of experience. And if you do have a lot of experience being on the receiving end of drone strikes, then you are unlikely to reassure your friends, as they dive for cover, that the gray bird in the distance is surveillance rather than an attack drone. Knowledge does not necessarily equate to survival.
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