Inside Drones - October 18th, 2016

Inside Drones (Oct 18th, 2016)

Uber pesters traffic with drone ads, secret Amazon test site tour, Cleveland pitcher cuts finger on drone

Uber in Mexico City used advertisement-carrying drones to hassle drivers stuck in traffic. A few months ago, drivers in rush hour found themselves surrounded by drones carrying signs advertising UberPool, with catchphrases like “The city would be for you, not 5.5 million cars” and “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes [due to smog].” The idea caught the attention of press outlets around the world last week, many of them saying Uber was “heckling” or “badgering” the drivers. Uber confirmed the drones were theirs but claimed they had no plans to try the stunt in other cities. - THE VERGE

After years of secrecy, Amazon allowed the press to tour its hidden drone-testing lab in Cambridge, England. The facility, which has been tucked away in a field near the town of Castle Park for several years, has been developing drones to deliver packages to people’s homes for the Amazon Prime Air service. It’s the largest outdoor testing facility in the UK and one of a number of sites in the country as well as labs in Austria, Israel and the U.S. The delivery drones will eventually ship packages weighing about 2 kg as far as 15 miles away in under 30 minutes. - CAMBRIDGE NEWS

Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer had to miss his start in an ALCS game after he sliced his finger with a racing drone. Bauer likes to build drones as a hobby, but 48 hours before Saturday’s game against Toronto he cut the pinky finger of his pitching hand on a propeller while he was swapping out a battery pack. He explained in a press conference that he needed 10 stitches and couldn’t pitch that weekend. He tried to play in last night’s Toronto game, but the wound re-opened in the first inning and he had to leave early. (Cleveland still won.) - TECHCRUNCH

The UK’s Department of Transport is going to crash drones into airplanes in mid-air for safety testing purposes. The department has pledged £250,000 to the project, run by defense tech company QinetiQ, after a series of near misses between passenger jets and drones around airports. The drones will be crashed into the windows and fuselage to see how the plane holds up on impact. - TECH RADAR

After the severe flooding of Hurricane Matthew, a number of companies are using drones to check out the damage. Some coastal towns hit by the storm are still too flooded for cars, so many repair crews are turning to drones to reach the damaged areas. Telecom company Verizon used an unmanned aircraft in parts of North Carolina to check cellular site locations, while insurance company Allstate used a drone to assess property damage in Savannah, Georgia. Another insurance company, Travelers, has a full team of trained drone pilots covering South Carolina, Georgia and other states. - RECODE

Researchers from Australia plan to use drones and virtual reality to unravel the mystery of the Plain of Jars in Laos. The ancient sandstone jars are scattered across sites in central Laos, and nobody is entirely sure who built the sites or what they were for. Archaeological exploration has been dangerous because of the 80 million unexploded bombs left there from a U.S. military operation in the 1960s and 70s. Now, drone technology will allow researchers to take detailed photographs of the sites, which can be turned into realistic 3D models in virtual reality. - ABC.NET.AU

A guy in Wisconsin became an internet hero after making a drone-powered “angel of death” Halloween prop and “f***ing with people.” The man's nephew Zac Crueger posted photos on Twitter of the cloaked skeletal figure, carried around by his uncle’s new quadcopter and bearing a striking resemblance to the Dementors from “Harry Potter.” After the tweet got hundreds of thousands of hits, Crueger said his uncle plans to make a video. - GIZMODO


Fans of the DJI Mavic Pro are enjoying this moment of heart-stopping terror on the Drones subreddit.

The video shows a drone nearly slamming into the sidewalk after colliding with a tree and getting its propellers tangled in the leaves. “Jesus,” writes IHEARTRUBIO, “that’s a crap your pants moment.” SBoots remarks, “Simple case of flying where you shouldn’t,” while GreenPanda420 says “That should be a dead Mavic. Silly dead Mavic. You should’ve been mine instead.” xanatos451 points out, “I’m actually impressed with how quickly it’s able to recover. Also goes to show that you can’t rely on obstacle avoidance 100% and it pays to know how to properly fly these things.”

Meanwhile, cajundrone is celebrating his official remote pilot license and fielding questions about the process. “As a remote and manned pilot am I going to have to carry around two cards or am I going to get a remote pilot rating added to my current list of ratings?” asks Zoomington. fluffykittycat replies, “You will have two ratings on two separate cards just like CFI's and AGI's. If you notice that the card specifically says UAS and does not have the Wright Bros on it. If it would have been on the same card you technically would have had to surrender your part 61 cert and they would have reissued your temporary with all your ratings.” dentedcan asks, “How long after filing with IACRA did it take for the permanent certificate to arrive? Got my temp in about a week but still waiting on the real deal. Also, congratulations!” cajundrone replies, “I filed with IACRA and received my temp cert on August 29th. I received my card October 15th.”

How would you react to drone-based advertising in your city? Could it be an effective way to reach out to people, or would it just be a nuisance? Are there certain brands and types of products that lend themselves to ad drones?

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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