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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Dec 5th, 2017)

Drones that collide with airplanes could do more damage than birds, a new FAA-commissioned study suggests. Researchers from several universities used computer models to simulate collisions between a passenger or business jet, and two types of drones: the DJI Phantom 3 Standard and a Precision Hawk Lancaster Hawkeye III. The research showed a range of possible impacts to the planes, from small to serious. An airplane's windscreen is especially vulnerable to damage. The study found that the collisions could pose an economic burden to aircraft operators. - BBC

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Drones could help researchers monitor leopard seals in the Antarctic Peninsula. Rather than catching the animals, scientists can use UAVs to photograph the seals, which are an indicator of the overall health of the Antarctic ecosystem. In a research project, a crew of five people took more than four hours to capture and study 15 of the seals, compared to only 20 minutes for a drone system operated by two people. The drone measurements of the seals' length and weight were accurate within 5 percent. - ZME

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An art installation of 300 drones will soar over Miami Beach this week. The illuminated drones will take off on Wednesday night near the Faena Hotel for Miami Art Week. The flying sculpture is “inspired by the spectacle of starlings clustering together in massive flocks and exposing the tension between individual freedom and safety in numbers,” according to a news release. Studio Drift in partnership with BMW Group are the creators. - CURBED

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A town in Maine could use drones to look for trespassers along railroad tracks. The Brunswick Police Department would be the first in Maine to use camera-equipped quadcopters to detect people on private railroad property. The drones program would require less manpower than officers on the ground. Police hope to launch the program next summer. - PH

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A San Francisco city commission has temporarily grounded its drones, after a federal memo claimed that DJI sends sensitive information collected from its drones to the Chinese government. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has halted its use of drones, and will decide at a later date if it should use drones made by DJI or Shenzhen. In four cases, the agency has hired a contractor who used a DJI drone for environmental survey and construction work. The decision comes after the Los Angeles office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau issued a memo in August. It claims that DJI’s drones and software provide infrastructure and law enforcement information to Beijing. DJI has vehemently refuted the claims. - CHRONICLE

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