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Inside Drones (Nov 15th, 2016)

Trump inherits drone policy, U.S. Army testing anti-drone "phaser," Canadian airliner swerves to avoid potential drone

President Obama will not tighten U.S. drone strike policies before handing the reins to Donald Trump, according to The Guardian. President-elect Trump is set to inherit the drones “playbook” established by Obama in 2013, seen by much of the world as a dangerous secret killing program with few checks to power. It’s unknown whether Trump will also rely on drone strikes during his term. - THE GUARDIAN

The U.S. Army is testing a new “phaser” weapon built by Raytheon that can take out a swarm of drones. In response to concerns about weaponized commercial drones, the Air Defense Branch is trying out the energy weapon as a way to disable electronic devices with a high-powered microwave radiation transmitter. The energy fries the drones’ control system and causes them to fall out of the air. - POPULAR MECHANICS 

As the Obama Administration draws to a close, outgoing Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is working to open up drone regulations for businesses. He recently visited drone startups in California to get feedback on how the FAA has done so far, and what entrepreneurs are hoping for in terms of drone deliveries and other ventures. Current FAA regulations have cleared the way for commercial drone operations, but put heavy restrictions on operators to ensure safety. Foxx said his departure was “bittersweet” because he wouldn’t be around to finish the job. - WIRED

An investigation is underway in Canada after a Porter airliner had to swerve to avoid a suspected drone, injuring two flight attendants. The Transportation Safety Board said the plane had to take evasive action due to “risk of mid-air collision” as it approached Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport on Monday morning. None of the 54 passengers were injured. Kate Young, parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport, said “It’s imperative that we keep our skies safe and secure.” - CBC

Tech company JD.com has launched a drone delivery service in rural China, gaining an edge on Amazon. The company has started a trial run outside of Beijing and in Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces during the “Singles’ Day” shopping festival. So far there have been thousands of trial flights delivering packages to customers. JD could become the first e-commerce giant to roll out a commercial drone delivery program at a large scale. - FORTUNE

Drones equipped with defibrillators could cut emergency response times in half, according to researchers at the University of Toronto. Computer science engineer Timothy Chan determined that a network of drones could beat ambulances to the scenes of cardiac arrests and increase patients’ chances of survival. Ambulance response times average 5-10 minutes in cities and often more than 20 minutes in rural communities, meaning paramedics often arrive too late. Drone experts say the technology is already available. - CBC

Reddit user u/ugleee claims he used a drone to catch his wife in the act of cheating. In a somewhat hysterical video, he explains how he used a quadcopter to film his wife meeting another man and climbing into his minivan. The Next Web writer Bryan Clark wisely points out that this could be a staged clickbait video, though there’s other evidence on Reddit that u/ugleee is actually married and has suspected his wife of cheating in the past. - THE NEXT WEB

FROM THE FORUMS

On the Drones subreddit, the Canadian airliner that swerved to avoid a possible drone in Toronto is drawing some skepticism. 

“A drone at 9,000 feet?” writes Masshole3000. “Is it me or is that crazy for any hobby drone?” dopefish_lives replies, “Definitely possible but the chances of somebody doing that and being in the same vicinity as a plane are incredibly low,” and airplaneshooter writes, “That’s beyond the capability of the brand I work with. Radio signal would drop well before then and it would return to home. Bet it’s another plastic bag blowing in the wind.” n1nj4_v5_p1r4t3 says, “I think they [the airliner] just f***ed up and are looking for an easy out.”

On a different thread, austinallen01 shared this DJI Mavic Pro footage of Crystal Cove Beach in Laguna, California. “Not bad considering the size of the Mavic in the winds coming off the coast,” he writes. Smallshinyant replies, “Beautiful. For the size and price point, that thing is amazing. The view is also fantastic." 

BrokenInternets remarks, “I was all about the Mavic and then I saw that Wired review saying the Karma is better because the Mavic camera sucks. Then I read the Karma is falling out of the sky. Then I read the Mavic isn’t even shipping out because of stock issues. Now it’s almost Christmas and I have no idea what to get.”

THE BIG QUESTION
Do you think the drone video of the wife cheating on her husband is real? Can we expect to see more couples using drones to spy on each other - or prank each other? 

Hit "Reply" and let us know what you think.

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