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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jan 5th, 2018)

A research ship equipped with eight submarine drones is on its way to search for the remains of missing flight MH370. The firm Ocean Infinity, which chartered the vessel, hopes to finalize a contract to resume the search. Once approved, the ship will deploy the autonomous drones, known as HUGINs, in a search zone off the coast of western Australia. Encased in titanium, each underwater drone spans 18 feet long and weighs nearly 4,000 pounds. MH370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared on March 8, 2014. - THEDRIVE

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According to TechCrunch, GoPro has cut 200 to 300 jobs, mostly in its aerial division, which oversees the Karma drone. The company said the cuts are part of a larger restructuring. While employees were let go on Thursday, they will remain on the company's payroll through mid-February. The Karma drone was recalled weeks after it hit shelves in 2016 because of reports that some of the quadcopters dropped from the sky mid-flight. According to GoPro, the problem was a design fault in the drone's battery latch, which caused several of the UAVs to lose power in the sky. It was brought back to stores three months later. - REUTERS

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New Jersey is poised to become the first state to ban drunken drone flying. The state assembly will vote next week on the bill, which would also prohibit drone flying above prisons and in pursuit of wildlife. If passed, Governor Chris Christie would need to sign the law before his term expires later this month. Anyone caught flying a drone while intoxicated would face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. However, as a “disorderly persons offense” category, it would not be considered a felony. Another 37 states are considering ways to restrict drones this legislative year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. - REUTERS

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Sales of safety and security drones are expected to nearly double through 2019, according to a study by Ohio-based Freedonia Group. In the long term, the numbers are expected to grow even further: The study predicts sales in the category will increase nearly fivefold between 2019 and 2022. Drone Life attributed the uptick to public-safety agencies buying more drones, which are traditionally cheaper than manned aircraft. - DRONELIFE

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A drone flying over a stadium delayed a soccer match in England this week. For safety reasons, players were taken off the field at Huish Park stadium in Yeovil, Somerset, which prompted the 11-minute delay. The incident led to an investigation over safety concerns. The drone disappeared quickly after it was spotted, and no injuries were reported. Drones have interfered with other sports games as well: last season, a drone fell into the stands during a San Diego Padres game in California. - SPORTTECHIE

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