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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Mar 9th, 2018)

The White House wants law enforcement to be able to immobilize hostile drones. The Trump administration is preparing a measure that would give police and security forces the ability to track, and then disable, civilian drones that pose as threats, Bloomberg reported. Current laws restrict the government from tracking drone flights and disabling them with signal jams. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration is drafting plans requiring nearly all drones to broadcast their identity remotely. The rules would help law enforcement track drone threats in the sky. - WAPO

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Disney released drone flyover footage of the future Star-Wars-themed park at Disneyland. "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" is under construction and set to debut at both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida next year. During a shareholders' meeting this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger played the aerial video, which also shows concept art of the final park. The 14-acre land will have two signature rides, shopping and dining, reports said. The setting is Batuu, a fictional planet in the Star Wars universe. - SENTINEL

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Ford Motor Co. has developed a system for identifying airborne drones. The system would use the 10-digit ID number given to drone owners who register with the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA requires people to print the number somewhere on the drone, though it cannot be read from long distances. Ford proposes to use a drone's anti-collision lights to flash the ID number in code. A proprietary app would read the code, allowing people with smartphones to identify and report any illegal UAVs. In field tests, the system can identify drones within 80 feet. - ENGADGET

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A drone pilot helped farmers in Malawi, Africa, boost their crop production. Jon Carroll, a professor at Oakland University, traveled to the township of Liwonde, in southern Malawi, this February. Carroll, a seasoned drone pilot, brought a UAV that can generate multispectral images of farm fields. The aerial images show the health of crops, letting farmers know where to fertilize, water or replant crops. Droughts have devastated Malawi's agricultural sector, and nearly 40 percent of its citizens live below the poverty line. The project was for Feed the Future, a hunger and food-security initiative by the U.S. government. - DRONEBELOW

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The British government has tapped the company Skydroid to curb the number of drones delivering contraband to prisons. The Ministry of Justice awarded the U.K.-based company about $328,000 to help address the problem. More and more correctional facilities have reported rogue drones delivering drugs, cell phones and other contraband to prisoners. Skydroid will start testing its anti-drone technology on April 1. Details about the technology were not yet available. - THEDRIVE

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Researchers in Australia developed a drone that can measure a person's breathing and heart rates. The technology uses a camera to sense the pulsing in a person's head. It can measure a heartbeat from up to 60 meters (197 feet) in the air. Scholars from the University of South Australia first published research on the system last year. The technology was developed in collaboration with the Australian Defence Force, the country's military, which provides aid during humanitarian crises. During disasters, "unfortunately you have to prioritize who’s living, who’s dead and perhaps who’s dying, and this might allow a drone to map a scene and establish the general condition of people,” said professor Javaan Chahl, the research team's leader. - ABC

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