Inside Drones - July 28th, 2016

Inside Drones (Jul 29th, 2016)

Today in drone news: GoPro gets sneaky teasing the Karma, drones race against NY skyline in the Liberty Cup, drones grown in tanks, a heavy-duty drone-jamming gun, and the search for Geno goes on. 

GoPro may have slipped an early look at its Karma drone into the hit animated film ‘The Secret Life of Pets.' Based on a just-released teaser image of the Karma, Mashable's staff believes the eagerly-anticipated drone already made a came in this summer's hit family comedy. At the 0:25 mark of the teaser, there’s an obvious bit of product placement for GoPro’s Hero 4, being worn in the scene by a dog. But up in the upper part of the frame, an unidentified quadcopter drone hovers – and the design for it matches the image leaked last week. – MASHABLE

100 drones will race across the New Jersey skies this weekend during The Liberty Cup. The two-day aerial drone race was put together by Randy Slavin of Yeah Drones and Paul Hoffman, CEO of the Liberty Science Center. Registered drone pilots will compete in solo races and freestyle aerial acrobatics. Winners have a chance to land a spot at next week’s U.S. Drone Nationals on Governor’s Island. – PATCH


The UK’s Northumberland went all-out for the 2016 North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth, hiring drone filmmakers to shoot stunning footage. Of interest among the drone footage is coverage of the Tall Ship Haabet as it undergoes renovation. – NEWS POST LEADER


Also in the UK, the Norwich City Council’s plan to use drones to check on area roof conditions has been abandoned. Due to civil aviation legislation and those consistently party-pooping privacy laws, the Council’s new plan involves trucks with cameras on sticks running alongside the buildings.  – DRONE NEWS

Defense company BAE, working with engineers from the University of Glasgow, have a plan to develop a system to grow drones in vats, ready to use for battle in a matter of weeks. Using a process they call “chemputing,” battlefield commanders first draft a drone from a menu of options, then the drone is grown in the vat with the necessary electronics embedded in the body. – GIZMODO


A photograph of a heavy-duty anti-drone jamming gun has emerged from a U.S. military fire base in Iraq. The weapon is probably a DroneDefender, 100 of which were recently ordered jointly by the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. Instead of bullets, a jamming gun sends a blast of radio signal to confuse the drone and force it to land. – PM


Drones have joined the search for Geno, a beloved St. Bernard who has been missing for 18 days following a fire in Boulder Country, Colorado. The drones allow searchers to get a look above tree lines and into rough terrain. The drone tech volunteers say a Shih Tzu was found alive after spending 27 days alone in similar conditions. – FOX DENVER

Farmer’s Edge, a precision-agriculture company, will improve its crop data using Green Aero Technology drones to get a better picture of drainage and field health than a satellite could afford them. The company hopes this will allow growers to get closer to the problem, and that drones will serve as “eyes of a professional where he can’t be.” – BLOOMBERG


June 22nd: Police arrest 54-year-old Tempe resident David Russell Leroux for chasing after a couple with a two-foot-long homemade hatchet, apparently upset they were using their drone to take pictures. Leroux succeeded in hacking their $1500 drone to bits. – ABC15

July 16th: California officials arrest their first hobbyist drone operator, 57-year-old Eric Wamser, after finding drone footage of a June wildfire posted to social media. The state is cracking down on unmanned aircraft potentially impeding firefighters' efforts. – WSJ

July 21st: Two teenagers used a high-speed drone to pursue a pair of married boat thieves through the Washington's Saratoga Passage, eventually leading to their capture. – KIRO7

July 24th: UK man Daniel Kelly is sentenced to 14 months in jail for using drones to deliver drugs to three area prisons. "The drone was found in the boot of the vehicle," police explained, "Black tape had also been placed over the lights." – TECHNO BUFFALO

Young Hatter-Madigan, on the drones subreddit, asks members whether he should use the $1300 he has saved up for a gaming computer or a drone. Simstagram86 says, "Just buy a big bag o chocolate, I reckon. But seriously, drone could be a great investment." Seattledreamer adds, "What do you mean when [you say] 'drone'?... Do not go out and spend $1300 on your first quadcopter. You will crash it, it will break, you will be sad." Clammyface writes, "Either buy a drone or just save your money to take some girls out on dates with." D---ksmoker2, who should talk, asks "why does this post read like it was written by someone in 7th grade?"

At the DIY Drones forum, member Wayne Dancer asks what everyone thinks of the Hyperblimp, a outdoor blimp being marketed as a camera platform. Footage reveals a recent incident where the Hyperblimp stopped responding to controls, and drifted into Salt Lake City causing a UFO scare. Howard Gordon writes, "It's fairly clear that LTA (lighter than air) designs offer interesting possibilities." Reader Chris Anderson replies, "Tethered blimps offer many advantages, but untethered ones have to be really big and powerful to fight the wind." Industrious member Daniel Geery says he's "already built 650 of these."

Last week we asked readers about drone delivery, and the kinds of things they hope will one day be flown through the air and brought to their door by our favorite kind of cute little skittering robot.  Here are some of our favorite responses:

Malone would be happy with just constant drone shipments of "fully charged battery packs for my phone." Can't beat that, Malone. 

Ivan asks for a simple pleasure: "Deliver me in bed overnight to any place in the world without visa/passport or customs lines!" That's a drone we'd like to see, Ivan.  

Kedar seems most taken with the whole drone delivery idea: "I cannot WAIT until drones start delivering routine groceries weekly: milk, bread, peanut butter, bananas etc. That will legitimately save so much time. The only question is, will stores give into delivery themselves, or will they make a deal with instacart/uber? Also an 'uber for drones': I believe there are startups working on this, but it'd be fantastic to be able to call a drone for an event or something, a licensed pro films it on-demand, and automatically sends a link to download the footage." 

Thanks, everyone! We appreciate the input, as always. Another question is coming up next week. 
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