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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jan 9th, 2018)

Chinese startup Ryze Tech unveiled the $99 Tello drone at CES this week. The toy drone was made with technology from DJI and Intel. Equipped with a 360-degree and 1080p video camera, it can stream live footage back to devices including some VR headsets, and had automatic takeoff and landing. Its vision processing unit - an Intel Movidius Myriad 2 -  helps the drone hover more consistently. The company is marketing the budget drone to a younger audience. It will officially launch in March. - THE VERGE

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U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says drones delivering contraband to prisons is becoming an increasing threat. The Justice Department supports a safety initiative focused on preventing drones from breaching prison perimeters. It does, however, pose a challenge. Rosenstein notes that, “Technological solutions to detect and disrupt drones are in their infancy." He said the department needs to evaluate laws before pursuing technologies that could curb drone use and other issues for federal prisons. - WAPO

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Drone manufacturer Yuneec unveiled three new drones at CES this week. The company introduced Typhoon H Plus, an upgrade of its most popular model, along with the fixed wing Firebird FPV drone and the HD Racer, a palm-sized racing drone. The Typhoon H Plus, marketed to professionals, can fly up to 30 mph and has 28 minutes of flight time after each charge. Like its predecessor, the Plus uses Intel RealSense technology to detect and avoid collisions. Priced at $1,800, it is due out in the first half of this year, along with the $700 Firebird FPV. The $180 HD Racer is due out in the second half of 2018. - THE VERGE

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Nebraska lawmakers will consider a bill later this year that would tighten restrictions on drones. Senator Carol Blood, who introduced the bill, said the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to address many concerns involving UAVs. "We want to make sure we have laws that tell people what our expectations are when they use technology," she said. The law would make it illegal to use drones to spy on neighbors, deliver drugs to prisons and harass livestock, among other restrictions. It would also instill protections for public-safety officers who damage a drone while working. - AP

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Dutch engineer Henk Hesselink has proposed the idea of circular runways for unmanned delivery drones to take off and land. Hesselink collaborated with a former air base near The Hague, Netherlands, in hopes of building a test runway. The design uses space more efficiently, reduces crosswind landings and curbs noise pollution, according to Hesselink. He is interested in the former Valkenburg naval base as it could one day become a drone innovation center. - THE DRIVE

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