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Using generative AI to plan a drone shoot in Maui

Dangerly

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I'm planning a trip to Maui, in part to donate my services to help local people recover from the fires. But it's also Maui and I'm a recreational drone pilot, so I'm wondering how can I best find places to fly? I just got a brand new Google Bard (AI) account, so I asked this question:

I'm planning a trip to Maui, and as part of that trip I would like to capture some drone video of the area. I am an FAA certified recreational pilot. I'd like you to help me do my best to ensure I'm following all FAA, State, and local drone laws and regulations, as well as do my best to ensure I minimize my impact on local people or wildlife. Please suggest three locations that I could shoot photos and videos with my drone to capture the natural beauty of Maui.

Bard replied:

3 Drone-Friendly Locations in Maui:​


1. Waihee Ridge Trail:


Image of Waihee Ridge Trail, MauiOpens in a new windowmauiguidebook.com
Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui

This popular hiking trail offers stunning panoramic views of West Maui, Kahului, and the Pacific Ocean. It's a great place to capture the diverse landscape of Maui, including lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, and the coastline.


  • Local Regulations:
    • Drone flights are allowed within the Haleakala National Park boundary, but they must comply with all FAA regulations and be flown below 400 feet.
    • Avoid flying near wildlife, cultural sites, or populated areas.
    • Be aware of other trail users and give them the right of way.

2. Nakalele Blowhole and Sweetheart Rock:


Image of Nakalele Blowhole, MauiOpens in a new windowmauiguidebook.com
Nakalele Blowhole, Maui

Located on the rugged North Shore of Maui, this spot is known for its dramatic blowhole, which can shoot water up to 100 feet in the air. Sweetheart Rock is a picturesque offshore rock formation that adds to the beauty of the scene.


  • Local Regulations:
    • Drone flights are allowed in the area, but be mindful of the sensitive environment and avoid flying over nesting seabirds or seals.
    • Maintain a safe distance from onlookers and respect their privacy.
    • Be aware of changing weather conditions, as the area can be windy.

3. Hana Coast:


Image of Hana Coast, MauiOpens in a new windowwww.nationalgeographic.com
Hana Coast, Maui

The Hana Coast is a scenic stretch of coastline known for its waterfalls, black sand beaches, and lush rainforests. It's a photographer's paradise and offers plenty of opportunities to capture the unique beauty of Maui.


  • Local Regulations:
    • Drone flights are allowed in most areas along the Hana Coast, but be mindful of private property and avoid flying over homes or businesses.
    • Respect the cultural significance of the area and avoid flying over sacred sites.
    • Be aware of strong winds and limited landing areas, especially near waterfalls.

General Tips:


  • Always check the latest FAA regulations for drone flights before takeoff.
  • Be aware of any temporary restrictions that may be in place.
  • Respect the privacy of others and avoid flying over people or buildings without their permission.
  • Be mindful of wildlife and avoid disturbing them.
  • Land and take off from designated areas or open spaces.
  • Never fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Have fun and be responsible!

For additional information and helpful resources, you can also visit the following websites:



By following these tips and regulations, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable drone photography experience in Maui.

Now I can't say how accurate this info is, as these AIs are occasionally and infamously full of $hit, or "hallucinations" to use the technical term. So at the bottom of Bard is a built in "Double-check response" fact checker, to the extent you can use the web to verify facts.

1701916000597.png

Clicking the G button then color-highlights its response to show you statements it made where it found conflicting information on the web, or no other corroborating information. The brownish color means it couldn't verify these statements.

1701917918971.png

I have absolutely zero idea if any of this is accurate, so now it's on me to do my own independent research because I don't want to trust an AI. If it turns out to be half-way accurate, or if I can make it more accurate with some better prompting, then this might be a useful tool for planning drone trips. Too early to tell yet.

For comparison's sake, I tried out the identical prompt with ChatGPT / GPT4, and it's response was shorter.

Suggested Locations for Drone Photography​

  1. West Maui Mountains
    • Capture the lush valleys and rugged terrain.
    • Regulations: Check for any restrictions on flying in conservation areas.
  2. Wai'anapanapa State Park
    • Aerial views of black sand beaches, sea caves, and natural stone arches.
    • Regulations: State park rules may apply; verify with the DLNR or park authorities.
  3. Haleakalā National Park
    • Stunning landscapes of the Haleakalā Crater and surrounding areas.
    • Regulations: National parks generally have strict drone regulations. It's advisable to contact the park administration for specific guidelines.
    • Suggested Locations for Drone Photography​

      1. West Maui Mountains
        • Capture the lush valleys and rugged terrain.
        • Regulations: Check for any restrictions on flying in conservation areas.
      2. Wai'anapanapa State Park
        • Aerial views of black sand beaches, sea caves, and natural stone arches.
        • Regulations: State park rules may apply; verify with the DLNR or park authorities.
      3. Haleakalā National Park
        • Stunning landscapes of the Haleakalā Crater and surrounding areas.
        • Regulations: National parks generally have strict drone regulations. It's advisable to contact the park administration for specific guidelines.

Hope you found this interesting!
 

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I am headed to Maui in March and will definitely be stealing this info (after validating on my own as well of course, haha). Thanks for sharing. AI is definitely sticking around. Lots of airspace to deal with around the more populated areas, that's for sure.

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From: ArcGIS Web Application
 
I hope you found this interesting!
I did, very much so! Brilliant idea although I am more of a CHAT GPT guy. I read about how these AI programs can "hallucinate" and fabricate information just as you say. I immediately thought OMG so AI systems can "trip." That makes the idea of AI running amok and attacking humans way more scary. For research purposes, I started asking CHAT GPT are you tripping right now and she (yes I anthropomorphize) said I do not take drugs of any kind and I cannot perceive reality like a human let alone "trip" like one... but I can make mistakes as per my disclaimer. One concern I would have asking CHAT GPT your question is that its knowledge is 2 years+ old which is a problem given new and changing federal, state and local laws and regulations. But great idea nonetheless and a nice follow up to that prior thread where the fellow asked CHAT GPT to draft a letter to a condo HOA explaining his hope and plan to file a drone around the neighborhood. That thread also blew my mind and sparked my interest in this whole area.

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One concern I would have asking CHAT GPT your question is that its knowledge is 2 years+ old which is a problem

1701961797279.png

But more than that, the latest AIs are able to search the web in real time to get up to date information. ChatGPT needs you to explicitly enable a plugin to do this whereas it's built into Bard. I was a ChatGPT guy until now, but Gemini may change that. Here's a screenshot in ChatGPT showing that the Web Requests plugin is enabled, which lets ChatGPT fetch data from the web in realtime:
1701963599120.png

If you have not seen Google's next-generation AI called Gemini yet (not yet released as of this writing), view this video right now and prepare to have your mind blown and your socks knocked off.

Starting now, new mobile devices will have special purpose hardware just to run artificial intelligence on board your mobile device so you won't need a network connection. This new AI hardware will appear on Samsung's S24 next year.

Multi-modal AIs will soon give us Skydio+ on steroids onboard the drone. It's the AI onboard the drone that will make all the difference. Coming to a DJI product near you in 2024, is my guess.
 
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Great point on the plug-ins and I agree the AI revolution is here. I think Elon said we will likely reach the singularity--when AI becomes smarter than humans--in 2024.
 
I'm planning a trip to Maui, in part to donate my services to help local people recover from the fires. But it's also Maui and I'm a recreational drone pilot, so I'm wondering how can I best find places to fly? I just got a brand new Google Bard (AI) account, so I asked this question:

I hate to be that guy but .... The Exception for Recreational Operations ~44809, does NOT allow you to do this type of "work" regardless if it's free/donated/volunteering. Anything outside of "Your Recreation" requires Part 107 and even "donating your time/volunteering" are 100% within the requirements of Part 107. It's a fairly straight forward and easy process so you should absolutely get your Part 107 so you can be legal and do the right thing.
 
I hate to be that guy but .... The Exception for Recreational Operations ~44809, does NOT allow you to do this type of "work" regardless if it's free/donated/volunteering. Anything outside of "Your Recreation" requires Part 107 and even "donating your time/volunteering" are 100% within the requirements of Part 107. It's a fairly straight forward and easy process so you should absolutely get your Part 107 so you can be legal and do the right thing.
I think you misunderstand. The donating my time to Maui part is entirely 100% separate from my drone stuff. Different part of the island, different people, nothing to do with each other. It's more like "While I'm there, might as well get some recreational drone flying in." No one is paying me to do anything, reimbursing me for anything. I'm not getting any good will, permission to do anything, nothing.

Did that clarify anything?
 
I think you misunderstand. The donating my time to Maui part is entirely 100% separate from my drone stuff. Different part of the island, different people, nothing to do with each other. It's more like "While I'm there, might as well get some recreational drone flying in." No one is paying me to do anything, reimbursing me for anything. I'm not getting any good will, permission to do anything, nothing.

Did that clarify anything?
Sounds good. Just putting that out there because the way it was worded sounded a bit different. It's all good.

Safe Flights :)
 
Sounds good. Just putting that out there because the way it was worded sounded a bit different. It's all good.

Safe Flights :)
I would like to think I am very well acquainted with the limits of recreational flying. Only temporary circumstances keep me from getting a 107.
 
I would like to think I am very well acquainted with the limits of recreational flying. Only temporary circumstances keep me from getting a 107.

With all due respect, I have no clue what your "familiarity" with Part 107 or ~ 44809 are and I only offered some friendly advice. I think it's great you're familiar with ~44809 and look forward to reading you've obtained your Part 107 soon as well.

Plus, this advice might help someone else reading this who isn't as well acquainted with ~44809 as you are. Many are here to learn and expand their knowledge base about drones etc.
 
With all due respect, I have no clue what your "familiarity" with Part 107 or ~ 44809 are and I only offered some friendly advice. I think it's great you're familiar with ~44809 and look forward to reading you've obtained your Part 107 soon as well.

Plus, this advice might help someone else reading this who isn't as well acquainted with ~44809 as you are. Many are here to learn and expand their knowledge base about drones etc.
Thanks, Al. Correct me if I'm wrong below.

So if you're a recreational drone pilot, here's what you need to know from this thread: Don't fly your drone if it's connected in any way to anything or anyone (like volunteering) other than purely recreational flying for your own fun. Big Al wants to be sure I won't get in trouble with the FAA, if they found out I was a recreational pilot flying in a way that was somehow connected with my volunteer efforts, even if I'm not getting paid or compensated.
 
Yep that's correct. ~44809 is 100% recreational ONLY! Anything outside of the falls squarely within Part 107 regardless of your currency level.

Here's the long version of ~44809:

(a)In General.—Except as provided in subsection (e), and notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administrationif the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:
(1)
The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.
(2)
The aircraft is operated in accordance with or within the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines that are developed in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration.
(3)
The aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer co-located and in direct communication with the operator.
(4)
The aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft.
(5)
In Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
(6)
In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.
(7)
The operator has passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test described in subsection (g) and maintains proof of test passage to be made available to the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
(8)
The aircraft is registered and marked in accordance with chapter 441 of this title and proof of registration is made available to the Administrator or a designee of the Administrator or law enforcement upon request.
(b)Other Operations.—
Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.
(c)Operations at Fixed Sites.—
(1)Operating procedure required.—
Persons operating unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport, or a community-based organization conducting a sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the air traffic control facility.
(2)Unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds.—A person may operate an unmanned aircraft weighing more than 55 pounds, including the weight of anything attached to or carried by the aircraft, under subsection (a) if—
(A)
the unmanned aircraft complies with standards and limitations developed by a community-based organization and approved by the Administrator; and
(B)
the aircraft is operated from a fixed site as described in paragraph (1).
(d)Updates.—
(1)In general.—
The Administrator, in consultation with government, stakeholders, and community-based organizations, shall initiate a process to periodically update the operational parameters under subsection (a), as appropriate.
(2)Considerations.—In updating an operational parameter under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider—
(A)
appropriate operational limitations to mitigate risks to aviation safety and national security, including risk to the uninvolved public and critical infrastructure;
(B)
operations outside the membership, guidelines, and programming of a community-based organization;
(C)
physical characteristics, technical standards, and classes of aircraft operating under this section;
(D)
trends in use, enforcement, or incidents involving unmanned aircraft systems;
(E)
ensuring, to the greatest extent practicable, that updates to the operational parameters correspond to, and leverage, advances in technology; and
(F)
equipage requirements that facilitate safe, efficient, and secure operations and further integrate all unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.
(3)Savings clause.—
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as expanding the authority of the Administrator to require a person operating an unmanned aircraft under this section to seek permissive authority of the Administrator, beyond that required in subsection (a) of this section, prior to operation in the national airspace system.
(e)Statutory Construction.—
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue an enforcement action against a person operating any unmanned aircraft who endangers the safety of the national airspace system.
(f)Exceptions.—Nothing in this section prohibits the Administrator from promulgating rules generally applicable to unmanned aircraft, including those unmanned aircraft eligible for the exception set forth in this section, relating to—
(1)
updates to the operational parameters for unmanned aircraft in subsection (a);
(2)
the registration and marking of unmanned aircraft;
(3)
the standards for remotely identifying owners and operators of unmanned aircraft systems and associated unmanned aircraft; and
(4)
other standards consistent with maintaining the safety and security of the national airspace system.
(g)Aeronautical Knowledge and Safety Test.—
(1)In general.—
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator, in consultation with manufacturers of unmanned aircraft systems, other industry stakeholders, and community-based organizations, shall develop an aeronautical knowledge and safety test, which can then be administered electronically by the Administrator, a community-based organization, or a person designated by the Administrator.
(2)Requirements.—The Administrator shall ensure the aeronautical knowledge and safety test is designed to adequately demonstrate an operator’s—
(A)
understanding of aeronautical safety knowledge; and
(B)
knowledge of Federal Aviation Administration regulations and requirements pertaining to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in the national airspace system.
(h)Community-based Organization Defined.—In this section, the term “community-based organization” means a membership-based association entity that—
(1)
is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(2)
is exempt from tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
(3)
the mission of which is demonstrably the furtherance of model aviation;
(4)
provides a comprehensive set of safety guidelines for all aspects of model aviation addressing the assembly and operation of model aircraft and that emphasize safe aeromodelling operations within the national airspace system and the protection and safety of individuals and property on the ground, and may provide a comprehensive set of safety rules and programming for the operation of unmanned aircraft that have the advanced flight capabilities enabling active, sustained, and controlled navigation of the aircraft beyond visual line of sight of the operator;
(5)
provides programming and support for any local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs; and
(6)
provides assistance and support in the development and operation of locally designated model aircraft flying sites.
(i)Recognition of Community-based Organizations.—
In collaboration with aeromodelling stakeholders, the Administrator shall publish an advisory circular within 180 days of the date of enactment of this section that identifies the criteria and process required for recognition of community-based organizations.
 
So did the OP make this trip yet and fly in Maui?

Was he able to fly at the locations suggested by the AI?

Did he run into any issues with flying in the suggested places? Because one of them was a state park and I thought the state of Hawaii banned drones in state parks. Federal parks are already banned.
 
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