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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Sep 27th, 2016)

DJI Mavic released, Uber wants flying cars, how to save your battery, the dangers of shooting down drones

DJI’s new Mavic drone is about half the size and weight of their flagship Phantom drone, and still comes with all the advanced features. The new Mavic Pro was officially revealed today and tested out by Ben Popper at the Verge, who found the drone can fit in the palm of your hand and comes with front and bottom sensors for obstacle avoidance, subject tracking, autonomous landing, and indoor stability without GPS. It can be flown with either a new smaller remote or just with a phone app, in an effort to appeal to more casual drone customers. The Mavic Pro will sell for $999, though if you buy it without the remote it’s $749. This will make it cheaper than the GoPro Karma that sells for $800 without the camera. - THE VERGE

The online rivalry between GoPro’s new Karma drone and DJI’s Mavic is heating up with a new leaked video. GoPro released the small, foldable Karma drone last week along with new Hero 5 cameras in an effort to boost company stock before the holidays, and gave a Karma to YouTube star Casey Neistat to boost promotion. But an introduction video for the Mavic was apparently leaked to YouTube in response, and DJI’s model will also be tiny and portable, and will feature anti-crashing software, a top speed of 40 mph and a 27-minute flight time. With competitive pricing, DJI's drone could pose a serious challenge to GoPro's stock recovery. - FORBES 

Uber is researching technology that could one day let people ride in airborne passenger drones. Head of Product Jeff Holden told Recode that Uber is researching “vertical take off and landing” technology for fixed-wing drones that could carry a person from place to place. “It could change cities and how we work and live,” he said, envisioning less congestion and aircraft taking off and landing on rooftops within the next decade. Uber follows Chinese company Ehang and Google founder Larry Page by investing in flying car-like concepts. - TELEGRAPH

With battery life being one of the top issues for drone owners, CNET offers some tips on how to get the most out of each charge. Drone pilots are advised to charge up right before each flight, avoid overcharging but never fully drain the battery, keep it away from high temperatures e.g. an overheated car, remove excess weight and avoid aggressive flying like flips and sharp turns. - CNET

Polish police have arrested a Russian man for flying a drone over Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo’s home. The drone was spotted hovering around the PM’s office, the Ministry of Defense and Belwederski Palace, and was traced to an SUV with a Moscow license plate parked nearby, where a man was flying the drone without a permit. The vehicle was checked for explosives and the man was detained by police. Authorities say he could face up to five years in prison just for violating Polish aviation regulations. - NEWSWEEK

A naked Mike Rowe nearly shot down a drone with a shotgun after he saw it hovering over his home in San Francisco. The former “Dirty Jobs” host and opera singer was asleep in the nude when the sound of the drone woke him up, and he saw it hovering just outside his bedroom window with the camera pointed at him. Not bothering to get dressed, he grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun and ran down to his deck, but stopped himself from shooting because he didn’t want to end up in the news. He posted about the incident on Facebook to get ahead of the story, just in case any embarrassing photos are leaked. - HUFFINGTON POST

Slate writer and drone owner Faine Greenwood is not on board with people hunting drones with shotguns, saying it puts operators and bystanders in serious danger. After a string of news stories about people shooting down drones - including a court case between Kentucky drone owner David Boggs and his “drone slayer” neighbor William Meredith that could set new precedents for drone regulations - Greenwood writes that she doesn’t find the practice brave or funny. She’s increasingly worried she’ll get shot at for legally flying her drone, and it risks damaged drones and stray bullets falling out of the sky and striking bystanders. - SLATE

FROM THE FORUMS

The Mavic release is the top thread on the Drones subreddit today. “Alright guys, give me any reason not to buy this,” writes Rasket. “It looks like everything I want.” dreyco remarks, “Dang this kind of crushes the Karma which I would have preordered before I heard that this was coming out,” citing the Mavic’s longer flight time, vision sensors and 4.3 mile range among other perks. hgoat says, “The requirement for a phone is still a huge pain the arse, but the thing has me sold so far. I’m assuming the goggles don’t have VR depth perception?” ShoeSh1ne offered some defense for GoPro, saying “Having a removable handheld gimbal is pretty big.” Fergylax replies, “True. But I would rather have a better more compact drone and buy a separate handheld gimbal for $300 if I really needed it.”



A story about Amsterdam revealing self-driving “drone boats” for its canals has one Redditor interested in new career opportunities. “I'm truly fascinated with technology like this,” says Seratonement. “I got a degree in biochemistry to help with applying to medical school but I know this right here is exactly the type of stuff I SHOULD be working on because it just blows my mind. Which field would be the best to enter to get into making innovative tech like this?” barensoul replies, “Maybe you should do some google research on Python programming. Try it out and see if you like it. If so, its never to late. You said you have a degree already so you proved you can study and pass something challenging.”

THE BIG QUESTION
With the GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic both on the market, which portable drone makes the top of your wish list? What sold you on your preferred model?

Hit "Reply" and let us know what you think, and we'll feature your answers in the next edition of "Inside Drones."
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