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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Mar 2nd, 2018)

Windhorse Aerospace is developing edible drones that could deliver supplies to disaster areas and conflict zones. The British aerospace company is working on three models of the nutritional drone that would carry payloads of different sizes. The largest would have a 9-foot wingspan. Reports did not specify what type of food would be used to create the prototype. The company plans to develop the fleet of functional drones by the end of the year. “Terrorizing populations has become one of the most effective methods of modern hybrid warfare,” founder Nigel Gifford said. “This is a way to send people the food and nutrition they need.” Gifford also founded the solar-powered drone company Ascenta, which he sold to Facebook in 2014. - FORBES

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An autonomous drone system helped researchers uncover a supercolony of penguins in the Danger Islands. Researchers conducted ground and computer automated counts using drone imagery of the islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. The UAV flew about 100 feet over the islands' surface, which was close enough for an algorithm to quickly tally each penguin individually. In all, more than 1.5 million penguins were counted. The survey revealed the third and fourth largest colonies of Adélie penguins in the world. “As soon as we did the first run, it became very obvious that counting penguins this way was more efficient than anything else we’ve ever thought of,” said Hanumant Singh, a professor who developed the drone’s navigation and imaging system. - DRONELIFE

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The startup Edgybees, which has specialized in augmented reality (AR) for drones, raised $5.5 million to expand its operations. The seed round includes Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and Verizon Ventures. Last year, Edgybees and drone manufacturer DJI released an AR racing game for drones. The company also developed a drone-flying app for emergency responders, who used in in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida. CEO Adam Kaplan said Edgybees plans to bring its AR technology to other verticals, including the defense world and gaming studios. - TECHCRUNCH

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Sheriff's deputies used a drone equipped with an infrared camera to locate a missing 11-year-old girl in Jackson Springs, North Carolina. Deputies from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office searched for several hours before launching the drone at night on Thursday. It took less than 15 minutes to locate the girl, who was sleeping in the woods about 100 yards from her home. Without the drone, the agency would have been forced to launch a helicopter or use other resources, Sheriff Neil Godfrey said. The agency purchased the dual-camera drone a year ago and have used it in an estimated five search operations. - THEPILOT

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A man from County Clare, Ireland, offered to deliver bread to neighbors by drone during a snowstorm. Weather systems have pummeled much of Ireland, along with other European countries, in the last several days, causing storm-related bread shortages. Patrick Mungovan posted a video on Facebook of his drone delivering bread to his sister in Quilty, County Clare. He offered to deliver the food to anyone within a 3-mile radius. As of Friday, the post had more than 12,000 views. - THEDRIVE

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