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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Feb 6th, 2018)

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident of a drone that flew close to an airplane approaching McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The FBI and police agencies are also looking into the incident, which can be seen in a video that is being circulated online. FAA regulations forbid drone pilots from flying above 400 feet or in the airspace near airports. Waivers are granted in special circumstances. Drone U, a training company for drone pilots, condemned the video in an online message: "This pilot's actions not only endangered the flying public, but has the potential to discredit an entire [Small Unmanned Aircraft System] industry," it wrote. - SFGATE

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation has proposed a pilot program to test out drone deliveries of medical supplies. The department is leading a group of private companies, including Zipline and Matternet, to expand the air courier service into the U.S. The group proposes to create a network of distribution centers to test the delivery of medical supplies, such as medications and blood transfusions, by drone in North Carolina. The proposal aims to speed up deliveries compared to a traditional ground service. It is among the 210 applications sent to the Federal Aviation Administration for its Drone Integration Pilot Program. - THEDRIVE

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The tech company DroneShield has revealed a new drone jammer to ground UAVs. The DroneGun Tactical is an upgraded and more compact version of the company's DroneGun. The devices emit electromagnetic signals to jam the connection between a drone and its operator, forcing the drone to land. DroneGun Tactical can disrupt a wider range of frequencies compared to its predecessor and can reach targets from up to 0.6 miles away, according to media reports. Only the U.S. government and related agencies can purchase or lease the device, according to Droneshield. The Federal Communications Commission has not authorized the device for civilians. - CNET

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The company DroNepal has started to survey and map hydropower sites in rural Nepal. The terrain of the southern Asian country is often hilly, obscured by vegetation and difficult to reach. The company has used drones to conduct aerial surveys of several areas, including around the Hairabkunda Khola Hydropower Station, where an earthquake damaged hydropower facilities in 2015. The survey work could help the country restore hydropower generation in the area. DroNepal was awarded $75,000 to study drone mapping and surveying after winning WeRobotics’ first Business Incubation Program last year. - UASMAG

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The Australian filmmaker James Ricketson admitted in court that he flew a drone over a political rally in Cambodia without a permit. Authorities arrested Ricketson last year and charged him with “collecting information prejudicial to national security." Attorneys argued that the charge relates to Ricketson's alleged connections to Cambodia's opposition party, which has since disbanded. Ricketson has denied the allegations of espionage. He appeared in court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, on Tuesday. “I am hopeful now that the investigating judge will realize after looking at all the evidence he will say, yes, you flew a drone without a permit but no, you are not a spy – you are free to go,” he said. - SMH

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