drones

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Did you fly a drone over Fenway Park? The FAA would like a chat

Drones are great. But they are also flying machines that can do lots of stupid and dangerous things. Like, for instance, fly over a major league baseball game packed with spectators. It happened at Fenway Park last night, and the FAA is not happy.

The illegal flight took place last night during a Red Sox-Blue Jays game at Fenway; the drone, a conspicuously white DJI Phantom, reportedly first showed up around 9:30 PM, coming and going over the next hour.

One of the many fans who shot a video of the drone, Chris O’Brien, told CBS Boston that “it would kind of drop fast then go back up then drop and spin. It was getting really low and close to the players. At one point it was getting really low and I was wondering are they going to pause the game and whatever, but they never did.

Places where flying is regularly prohibited, like airports and major landmarks like stadiums, often have no-fly rules baked into the GPS systems of drones — and that’s the case with DJI. In a statement, however, the company said that “whoever flew this drone over the stadium apparently overrode our geofencing system and deliberately violated the FAA temporary flight restriction in place over the game.”

The FAA said that it (and Boston PD) is investigating both to local news and in a tweet explaining why it is illegal.

FAA Statement: The FAA is investigating a report that a #drone flew over @fenwaypark during the baseball game last night. Flying drones in/around stadiums is prohibited starting 1hr before & ending 1hr after the scheduled game & prohibited within a radius of 3 nm of the stadium. pic.twitter.com/o6nOGVf8K2

— The FAA (@FAANews) April 12, 2019

That’s three nautical miles, which is quite a distance, covering much of central Boston. You don’t really take chances when there are tens of thousands of people all gathered in one spot on a regular basis like that. Drones open up some pretty ugly security scenarios.

Of course, this wasn’t a mile and a half from Fenway, which might have earned a slap on the wrist, but directly over the park, which as the FAA notes above could lead to hundreds of thousands in fines and actual prison time. It’s not hard to imagine why: If that drone had lost power or caught a gust (or been hit by a fly ball, at that altitude), it could have hurt or killed someone in the crowd.

It’s especially concerning when the FAA is working on establishing new rules for both hobby and professional drone use. You should leave a comment there if you feel strongly about this, by the way.

Here’s hoping they catch the idiot who did this. It just goes to show that you can’t trust people to follow the rules, even when they’re coded into a craft’s OS. It’s things like this that make mandatory registration of drones sound like a pretty good idea.

(Red Sox won, by the way. But the season’s off to a rough start.)

The Inning: Bottom 9
The Score: Tied
The Bases: Loaded
The Result: pic.twitter.com/lrRneiCGim

— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 12, 2019

Drones set a Guinness World Record at the Winter Olympics

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More than 1,200 drones lit up the sky at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics. 

That’s a Guinness World Record for the most unmanned drones flown simultaneously, beating the previous record of 500 in Germany in 2016. Both records involved Intel’s Shooting Star drones. 

The 1,218-drone light show in South Korea was pre-recorded. Still, 300 of them made a live appearance at the opening ceremony, forming the shape of the Olympic rings.

Drones fly to make the Olympic rings.

Drones fly to make the Olympic rings.

Image: intel

Intel’s drones—which each weigh a little more than half a pound—have flown above crowds in Singapore, at the Super Bowl last weekend in the shape of the American flag, and at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles last year in the shape of the Wonder Woman logo. They’ll pop up throughout the Winter Olympics during medal ceremonies. Read more…

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Drone gets way too close to an airplane in terrifying video

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Hey, if you own a drone, maybe don’t fly it over an airplane filled with passengers?

The FAA is investigating a video that seems to show a drone’s close call with a commercial airliner landing at McCarran International Airport near Las Vegas, according to the local CBS affiliate

Flying a drone near an airport is definitely not allowed by the FAA. Neither is going above 400 feet. Here’s video of the incident shared online, from ABC News:

Yes, that’s pretty terrifying. The FAA released a study last year comparing drones and birds of the same weight, and how they might affect an airplane during a mid-air collision. Surprise: The metal drones were capable of causing way more damage than birds, especially to a plane’s windshield and wings.  Read more…

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Crunch Report | GoPro Cuts 200-300 Jobs

App revenue reached $60 billion in 2017, Travis Kalanick is selling 29 percent of his Uber shares and GoPro cuts 200-300 jobs. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

SanDisk just released the world's biggest microSD card

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SanDisk just announced its biggest microSD card yet—but it doesn’t come cheap. 

The world’s first 400GB microSD starts shipping in September, and will set you back $249.99

The new microSD with adapter is good for 35 hours of full HD video. So it makes sense that SanDisk is marketing this microSD toward action camera and gaming console owners. 

This could be a game-changer for drone owners, GoPro enthusiasts, and Nintendo Switch fans. 

The 400GB microSD card is tiny but packs a punch.

The 400GB microSD card is tiny but packs a punch.

Image: western digital

This microSD has up to 100MB/s transfer speeds. For those of you who aren’t aware of what that means, here you go: You’ll be able to move up to 1,200 photos in a single minute. That’s pretty impressive.  Read more…

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Trump meets with military drone makers and VCs

President Donald Trump today “offered support for emerging technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles and next-generation wireless networks in a meeting on Thursday with the chiefs of AT&T Inc and General Electric Co and other business leaders,” reports Reuters.

At the White House today, Trump met with venture capitalists, and with telcom and drone executives, and they talked about how the federal government can speed technologies to market.

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) holds an event highlighting emerging technologies, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The meeting, which lasted more than three hours including breakout sessions, is part of Trump’s effort to tap industry experts on how to boost U.S. competitiveness in various fields and create jobs.
On Monday, Trump met with the heads of 18 U.S. technology companies including Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp, seeking their help to make the government’s computing systems more efficient.

He will meet with energy industry leaders next week.

“We want them to create new companies and lots of jobs,” Trump told the executives on Thursday. “We’re going to give you the competitive advantage that you need.”

In attendance were chief executives of several drone companies including Kespry Inc, AirMap, Airspace Inc, Measure UAS Inc, Trumbull Unmanned, and PrecisionHawk Inc.

Drone makers argued that the administration should move faster to approve broader commercial use of drones and noted that the Transportation Department does not require automakers to win pre-approval of self-driving vehicle technologies.

Senior executives at Xcel Energy Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and CenturyLink Inc also took part. Venture capital firms included Revolution LLC, headed by AOL co-founder Steve Case, 500 Startups, Cayuga Ventures, Epic Ventures and Lightspeed Ventures.

Obama administration rules opened the skies to low-level small drones for education, research and routine commercial use. The Trump administration is considering whether to expand drone use for deliveries beyond the view of an operator. Security issues would need to be addressed.

PHOTO, TOP: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) looks at a drone with Kespry CEO George Mathew (R) during an event highlighting emerging technologies, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

And in the department of interesting timing:

U.S. set to approve India’s purchase of drones before Modi visit

The United States is expected to approve India’s purchase of a naval variant of the Predator drone, a source familiar with the situation said, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to revitalize relations with Washington when he meets President Donald Trump for the first time.

Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing’s help to contain North Korea’s nuclear program.

The deal would still require approval by Congress. California-based General Atomics, the maker of the Guardian drone sought by India, declined to comment.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) meets with technology and telecommunications executives, including Dyan Gibbens from Trumbull Unmanned and Darius Adamczyk (R) from Honeywell, at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a gathering after he inaugurated Kochi Metro at a stadium in Kochi, India, June 17, 2017. REUTERS/Sivaram V/File Photo

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A group of 4 drones grounded 60 flights in a day, leaving 10,000 passengers stranded

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An illegal flying stunt of a group of four drones caused more than 60 flights to get disrupted on Friday — the third such incident in a week.

More than 10,000 passengers were left stranded, as a result.

According to a report by China News Service, Chengdu’s Shuangliu International Airport received reports of four drones flying within the protected zone of the airport, with one even passing below an incoming flight.

Some 58 flights ended up getting diverted to other nearby airports, with four others forced to return, and more than 10 cancelled, on the day. Read more…

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Robots are about to make your beer runs

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In the future, your beer will be delivered by by robots that look like big beetles out to set up a golf course. 

Virginia became the first state in the union on Wednesday to legally allow robots to use sidewalks and crosswalks just like us humans. 

The impetus for the new law is Starship Technologies, which is looking to use its beetle bots to deliver packages or groceries or beer or whatever else you can stuff inside.

The bots won’t be allowed to beef up beyond 50 pounds or zip around at anything above 10 miles per hour, though that’s still the pace of someone running pretty quickly down the block. They do, however, have a little flag so they don’t blindside folks who will inevitably trip over them while looking at their phones.  Read more…

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Drones and UAVs are going to help inspect our subway tunnels

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Singapore is keen to start using drones and unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect its extensive underground subway tunnel network.

The transport regulator put out a request for companies on Wednesday to design and develop suitable trial technologies, including 360-degree video mapping of the tunnels, as well as software that would automatically detect defects and provide their location. 

These smarter technologies are hoped to supplement the current manual inspection process, which take about three hours at a time, the Land Transport Authority said in a press releaseRead more…

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A Snapchat drone?! Here's what we know

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Snap Inc. has been playing with dronesThe New York Times reported Tuesday that the company has worked on building its own drones, citing three people “briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The piece doesn’t get into details, but the premise is intriguing — and not at all surprising for a company that defines itself as a “camera company” in its own mission. 

“Snap is a camera company. We feel like we’re really at the beginning of what cameras can do, evolve from being just a piece of hardware to software connected to the internet,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in a 35-minute video released about the company ahead of its initial public offering. Read more…

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Snap is developing drone for users to share overhead videos and photos: NYT report

One of the products that Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is developing as “a modern-day camera company” is a drone, reports the New York Times today.

Sources for this bold claim are “three people briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The drone would help users take videos and photographs from overhead, then share that visual data with Snap, and presumably, other users of the service.

Snap is scheduled to go public later this week in a long-anticipated IPO.
(more…)

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Ornithologists are using drones to eavesdrop on songbirds

listening When conservationists put drones to work in field research, they typically function as flying eyes that gather imagery of the habitat and wildlife below. Now, ornithologists from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania are using drones as flying ears to monitor songbirds in the Appalachian Mountains. Results of their drone study were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Auk:… Read More

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The biodegradable paper airplane that could revolutionize humanitarian aid

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Paper planes aren’t just for passing secret notes across the classroom anymore. Now, they can even save lives.

Otherlab, an engineering research and development lab based in San Francisco, has created the world’s most advanced industrial paper airplanes. The paper gliders look almost like stealth fighters, capable of carrying more than two pounds of supplies like blood and vaccines to those in need.

And they could totally transform humanitarian aid for people in remote regions.

The project is part of Otherlab’s Aerial Platform Supporting Autonomous Resupply Actions (APSARA) system, which uses computational design to create low-cost aerial supply vehicles. Read more…

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DARPA designed tech that can snag 1,100-pound drones right out of the air

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The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a way to launch drones into flight and then snag them right out of the air with a system that can be loaded onto a truck or ship.  

The agency recently released test footage of the next-gen drone tech, currently being developed under the callsign SideArm. It’s designed to give the military the ability to manage the flight of large unmanned aerial systems (UASs, aka drones) from just about anywhere.  

Using the current launch systems, putting these heavy-duty drones in the air requires the runway of a 90,000-ton aircraft carrier, along with a net to catch the aircraft when their flights come to an end. That setup obviously presents some logistical issues when there are no oceans around, so SideArm looks to make the launch pads more mobile.  Read more…

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Forget flying cars — passenger drones are the future

remote controlling passenger plane In the July 1924 issue of Popular Science, “Ace of Aces” fighter pilot E.V. Rickenbacker told readers to expect “Flying Autos in 20 Years.” Rickenbacker’s flying car would have retractable 12.5-foot wings, a sea-worthy hull and wheels to cruise America’s growing network of highways. Ninety-three years later, personal cars remain land-bound. Read More

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SF District Attorney lawsuit against Lily may have prompted refund

lily_hand_d After raking in tens of millions in preorders and venture capital, the drone maker Lily — if it can really be called that — is shutting down. But its problems won’t end there: San Francisco’s District Attorney filed a lawsuit today alleging false advertising and unfair business practices by the company. Read More

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