Inside Drones - August 2nd, 2016

Inside Drones (Aug 2nd, 2016)

White House initiative to boost drone industry, Google testing delivery flights in U.S., turn your dead pet into a drone, endangered porpoise monitored by drone in Mexico.

The White House is exploring ambitious uses for drones now that FAA regulations are in place. At a conference of government regulators, industry operators and researchers, participants put forward possibilities like enhancing the Department of the Interior’s search and rescue flights, or creating an air-traffic control system for remote-controlled aircraft in New York State. - USA TODAY

Google has announced it will begin testing its delivery drones inside the U.S. As part of the White House drones initiative, Project Wing will begin line-of-sight trials at FAA-approved sites. Both Google and Amazon had committed to drone deliveries, but the FAA does not currently allow drones to operate without a human pilot or beyond that pilot’s line of sight. Until today, most research, development and testing on these projects had taken place overseas. - THE VERGE

Dead pets turned into drones are the creepiest thing you’ll see all month. Bart Jansen decided to turn his cat Orville into a drone in 2012 after it was killed by a car. He partnered up with engineer Arjen Beltman for the project, which led to other innovations like a flying Ostrich Copter, a badger submarine, a shark drone and a rat drone. The somewhat morbid results were featured on YouTube channel AJ+. - BGR

Mexico is using drones to protect the world’s smallest porpoise. The government has launched three unmanned aerial vehicles in an effort to stop illegal fishing that has put the vaquita porpoise on the brink of extinction. The drones are armed with high-resolution cameras to police the upper Gulf of California day and night. There are only 60 of the sea creatures left in the world. - SEEKER

As Amazon starts testing its delivery drones in Britain, consultant Colin Bull from Software Quality Systems warns that drones could be used for terrorism. He said if they fell in the wrong hands, the devices could be easily reconfigured to deliver anything, including incendiary devices or grenades, and sent into uncontrolled airspace. He says the government should implement strict regulations, like standardizing the radio frequencies on which drones can operate. - DAILY MAIL

Another drone has interfered with firefighting efforts at a 38,000 acre wildfire in Idaho, forcing officials to ground aircraft for 45 minutes. Three drones have been recorded so far in the afflicted area, where wind, heat and low humidity have caused the Pioneer Fire to spread rapidly. About 1,300 firefighters are battling the fire burning about eight miles north of Idaho City. The blaze is just 30 percent contained. - KTVB

The Liberty Cup to be held Wednesday at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is billed as “the first-ever drone race set against the NYC skyline.” The event was cancelled over the weekend due to weather, except for some preliminary races. Drones will tackle an obstacle course that racers will navigate through goggles that connect to a camera, giving them a drone’s-eye view of the course. - WALL STREET JOURNAL


At the Drones subreddit, TerriblePerson7 who lives in Beijing, China is excited to buy his first drone but needs a bit of advice. “The two drones I'm most interested in are the DJI Phantom 3 (not sure if I'd get standard or pro) and the unreleased Mi Drone (everything points to the Mi Drone having supposed to have been released this July, but that was actually for a crowdfunding apparently...). So the big questions I have are: I'm looking at relatively expensive drone models. I've never flown a drone before. Should I get a cheap one first to experiment with to make sure I enjoy it enough? If so, what's a good cheap one that lets me get a first person view through my phone? Where exactly can I use it?”

justmeaculpa advises, “Start with a cheaper model first. The p3 is easy enough to fly (I haven't seen the mi yet) but it's still better to learn how to fly without all the p3's features first. When you're comfortable flying a cheap drone step up to the more expensive models. I don't know anything about the laws in china but most countries forbid flying over crowds without explicit permission.”

In the DIY Drones forum, Redditor hefas is in the market for a new APM flight controller. “Decided to get ardupilot clone but I saw several versions of them such as 2.6 or 2.8 and 3.1 mini. Do they differ from eachother alot and if so how or I should I just get the latest version?” firm1 advises, “Get a pixhawk clone instead of the apm. The apm is maxed out in terms of processing power and does not support all the features the pixhawk does.”

Now that the White House is committed to boosting new drone projects, what government initiatives do you think could benefit from drones? (The recreational kind, not the Predator kind.) 

Hit "Reply" and send us your ideas for government-sponsored drone innovations, and we'll print the best ones later in the week.
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