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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Dec 1st, 2017)

Drone owners in the European Union will have to register UAVs deemed dangerous, under sweeping rules proposed this week. On Thursday, EU lawmakers and states came to an informal agreement about aviation reforms. They include Europe's first rules governing drones. Countries will be required to make sure their citizens register drones capable of crashing into people, or those that pose other risks to security or privacy. Drones would be considered dangerous if their kinetic energy exceeds 80 joules. Each drone would have to be marked with identification. The laws would create uniformity for drone safety rules and clarify regulations for operators and manufacturers. More than 510 million people live in the EU's 28 member states. - REUTERS

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DJI denies that its drones send sensitive data about the United States to the Chinese government. DJI says that it doesn't examine photos, videos or flights logs “unless customers actively upload and share them with us." A company spokesman said DJI "does not send data on DJI cloud servers to the Chinese government. Nor does it allow access to such data by the Chinese government." A U.S. government customs office claimed in a memo that the drone company - the world's largest - is providing data about American infrastructure and law enforcement to Beijing. The memo from the Los Angeles arm of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau claims that China's government - including its defense and traffic offices - views the data of U.S. "critical assets." The document, which has circulated on technology news websites, cites an anonymous source in the UAV industry. - AP

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Amazon has received a patent for a self-destruct system that would be installed on its drones. During emergencies or catastrophic failures, a “fragmentation controller” would take over. The system quickly monitors weather, terrain and flight path, detecting safe spots - such as lakes or fields - where drones can detach their parts midair. The parts would be dismantled in an order based on their value and the drone's location. The goal is to avoid crowds and other dangerous areas.  - THE VERGE

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DroneSeed has raised more than $5 million. The Seattle-based startup aims to replant trees and sustain them using drones. A filing earlier this month shows nearly 20 investors contributed to the funding. DroneSeed's co-founders say their UAVs - which use sensors to map logged forests - can cut down on replanting costs by ten-fold or more. The company, which was founded in Oregon two years ago, moved to Washington state after earning a spot in the Techstars Seattle startup program. - GEEKWIRE

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