Inside Drones - November 4th, 2016

Inside Drones (Nov 4th, 2016)

Today in drone news: Shoulder drones for police, Shooting Star light show drone from Intel, Tiny Piccolissimo drone, Dubai airport drone hunter.

Amazon has been awarded a patent for a miniature quadcopter drone to assist police. The drone would sit on the shoulder of a law enforcement officer, who can then deploy it to assist in getting a closer look at a situation from a safe distance. Amazon's patent describes the voice-activated drone as being able to help police by going in for a closer look at potential dangers, sending streaming video back to the officer on the scene. The ACLU has already expressed concern that the drone would enable police to gather information on a suspect without their knowledge. – DIGITAL TRENDS

Do you think this kind of assistant drone enables or encourages a situation where police might trample on civil liberties? Or is it just another handy tool for law enforcement? Hit REPLY and let us know what you think!

Intel has unveiled their Shooting Star drone, which is "targeted and specially designed" for light shows. The half-pound quadcopter drone can use its built-in LED lights to generate more than four billion color combinations, and an entire fleet of a hundred can be managed by a single computer. Intel showed off the Shooting Star with a world record breaking 500-drone demo in Germany. – ZDNET

At the size of a quarter, the University of Pennsylvania's Piccolissimo is the world's smallest self-powered flyable drone. The tiny, low-cost drone is composed of only two pieces, a propeller and the body. The Piccolissimo shows great potential for aid in disaster relief, crop pollination, and in search and rescue missions. "Having 100 or 1,000 small controllable flyers could explore more of a disaster site than a single big, expensive one," says a researcher from Upenn's Modlab. (The Piccolissimo is a bit bigger than Harvard's RoboBee, but that miniature drone's motion is limited by the need to be hooked to an external power source.) – FUTURISM

Dubai's Civil Aviation Authority hopes to combat unauthorized drone activity around Dubai airport with their own "drone hunter." Dubai airport, the world's third busiest, has already been forced to shut down three times this year due to buzzing or other activity by consumer drones. Each shutdown costs the airport upwards of $1 million per minute. The hoped-for solution is a remote-controlled aircraft that can spot unauthorized drones using infrared and thermal imaging. – CNN

Bloomberg argues that the GoPro Karma is a "strategic moonshot" designed to break the company out of the heavily saturated action camera market. The company's stock price has been listless ever since last year's Hero4 Session failed to catch fire in the market. On Thursday night, GoPro revealed a 40 percent dive in sales for the quarter ending September 30th, a disclosure that caused has the stock to drop sharply over recent trading. – BLOOMBERG

Prison reform advocates in the UK are asking drone makers to hard-wire prison locations as no-fly zones. The hope is that this will stop the use of drones to foster the smuggling of contraband by inmates, a problem that has seen a sharp spike over the last two years. – ZDNET

Researchers have shown that drone photography can be helpful in the design of radio links for mobile networks, specifically in determining where base stations should be placed for the best possible coverage. The drone photos were used in concert with photogrammetry software for the creation of a detailed 3D model of an urban environment. "The resulting 3D model... is much more detailed, and the technique also makes it possible to carry out the design process in a more cost-efficient way," says one of the researchers responsible for the test. – PHYS


Users at the Drones subreddit are talking about DJI's latest apology for the shipping delays that have plagued the Mavic Pro. 

BCForester writes, "Got my Mavic today!" to which Transill responds, "You monster." 

Friedricekid says, "AHHHH awesome, there is still hope! Do you mind me asking when you ordered?" BCForester replies, "Ordered morning of announcement. Dji direct."

avoutthere asks, "Please let us know what you think of it. I put little stock in the paid reviews that appear in the trade rags." To that, perhaps stoking fires of jealousy from those who still await a shipping notice, BCForester says, "It's the best gadget ever."

Elsewhere, members react to the drone footage outfcntrl posted of Oklahoma's Hula Lake, captured via Yuneec's Typhoon H. 

uka_uka_bandicoot offers some advice: "Gotta go slower so the props don't show in the camera picture :( the same thing happens to me with my H. Still pretty nice video! How are you liking the H? I usually go onto and it seems like everyone complains. I love my H but I find it hard to believe so many people are disappointed."

outfcntrl responds, "I enjoy it so far. I don't have much to compare it to since its my first bigger drone. I chose it over the DJI stuff for the fail-safes involved. Because of the costs, I've been taking it slow with getting bolder in my flying... But so far I've not had any problems with it. It's done exactly what I've expected of it."

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