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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Nov 28th, 2017)

Government officials in the United Kingdom will publish a draft bill outlining drone regulations next spring. The proposed measures give officers the right to seize or ground drones used in criminal activity. Operators would have to register and take safety awareness tests if their drones weigh more than 250 grams, which covers most recreational and commercial drones. The rules could also ban UAVs from flying above 400 feet or near airports. The laws "allow the vast majority of drone users to continue flying safely and responsibly, while also paving the way for drone technology to revolutionize businesses and public services," U.K. Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said. - BBC

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A professional drone pilot beat A.I. drones in a timed race. Last month, researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory timed the drones' laps through an obstacle course. The trial capped off two years of autonomous drone research, funded by Google. Professional drone pilot Ken Loo averaged 11.1 seconds per lap, compared to 13.9 seconds for A.I.-controlled drones. "Where Loo's times varied more, the A.I was able to fly the same racing line every lap," according to NASA. - THEDRIVE

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Drones are being used to map mosquito habitats in Africa. Wales-based Aberystwyth University and the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program are capturing images of mosquito hot spots to fight malaria in Zanzibar. Operators use DJI's Phantom 3 drone to survey large swathes of land - up to 30 hectares - and analyze the imagery to map bodies of water where mosquitoes lay their eggs. The water is treated with larvicide to kill the insects, staving off the spread of the disease.  - QZ

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A bill in New Jersey would make it illegal to fly drones while intoxicated. The proposed drone law, the state's first, would impose other regulations as well. Operators would be barred from using drones to hunt animals or harm people. Flying a drone while intoxicated or on drugs could carry a fine of up to $1,000, or up to six months in prison. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee moved the bill forward last week. "The technology has outpaced regulations," said state Senator Paul Sarlo, the bill's sponsor. - OBSERVER

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New technology can help drones sense and avoid collisions with other aircraft. The University of Malta’s Institute of Aerospace Technologies and others developed the technology that uses advanced sensors to prevent UAV-related air collisions. Hawk Aerospace provided design input and flight testing, while Idox Health developed the software. The institute provided two of the sensor components. The system is now close to becoming commercialized. - TOM

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