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Inside Drones (Nov 21st, 2017)

The Federal Aviation Administration is asking for public comments about the airworthiness of FlightScan Corp.'s Camcopter S-100. It is the first time the agency has sought feedback about a drone’s airworthiness, or how suitable it is for flight in the national airspace. It has taken almost two years to develop criteria for the vertical take-off drone, which resembles a helicopter and is mainly used to survey power lines and other infrastructure. December 18 is the deadline to submit comments. - UA

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A team in India will launch a drone prototype that sprays fungicide to control fruit-rot disease. The startup IspAgro Robotics Private Limited manufactured the drone, which it will launch Thursday in the town of Dharmasthala, in southwest India. Farmers along with the director of India's Central Plantation Crops and Research Institute are set to attend the demonstration. The drone was created to fight kole roga, a disease caused by a fungus that affects areca nut, a seed grown widely in India's coastal areas. The startup hopes to launch its first commercial-drone applications in mid-2018.- THEHINDU

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WeRobotics will test out a drone-based system that helps control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. The drone aims to disseminate large numbers of sterilized male mosquitoes into the population, which reduces their numbers. WeRobotics, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is developing the system that uses the autonomous drones to release the mosquitoes under the right conditions. WeRobotics will launch its first experiments in Central or South America in late 2017 or early 2018. "We hope to greatly increase the area that we can cover by using drones,” a WeRobotics co-founder said. - IEEE

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Commercial drone registrations have climbed this year, while recreational registrations have fallen. A new drone-use report found that non-hobbyist drone registrations have increased and hobbyist registrations have decreased so far in 2017, according to the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. The report, "Drone Registrations: A Preliminary Analysis," analyzed data from more than 940,000 recreational and commercial drone registrations. Researchers found that the DJI Phantom 4 accounts for at least 70 percent of all non-hobbyist registered drones. They also found that states with lower population densities have higher rates of non-hobbyist registrations. As of October 31, there were more than 800,000 hobbyist users and just over 106,000 non-hobbyist users registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the report. - DRONELIFE

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South Dakota State University received a gift of three AgEagle RX60 agricultural drones. Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries, a technology company, donated the fixed-wing drones, which measure the health of crops, earlier this month. They will be used by the university's departments of horticulture and plant science, geography, agronomy, and agricultural and biosystems engineering. - BR

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