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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (May 8th, 2018)

The U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday is set to announce the 10 winning local and state governments that will host drone tests. On Tuesday, Senator Dean Heller of Nevada said the city of Reno is one of the winners. Reno has partnered with Nevada-based Flirtey, which is working to deliver defibrillators by drone. President Trump launched the initiative last year, asking governments to partner with companies to conduct drone-related experiments. Some of the tests would go beyond what is currently permitted by federal aviation regulators, such as flying drones at night, over people and beyond the pilot's line of sight. According to Reuters, companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Intel are also vying to take part in the pilot project, which could lead to changes in U.S. policy involving drones. - REUTERS

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New drone footage shows lava flow erupting from Hawaii's Mount Kilauea volcano. Last week's sudden eruption has forced about 1,700 people on Hawaii’s Big Island to evacuate their homes. New aerial footage shows lava erupting and oozing through a forest. Since then, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for the region. The TFR bars people from flying drones so they don't interfere with first responders. - ABC NEWS

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DJI and Microsoft have joined forces to create a software-development kit (SDK) connecting DJI drones with Windows 10 PCs. Under a new partnership announced this week, China-based DJI will use Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing service as its preferred cloud provider. DJI will launch an SDK for Windows that will open the door for coders to build apps that work with DJI drones. According to Fortune magazine, a primary goal is for developers to create apps for corporate drone projects, such as rooftop inspections. Users will be able to control drones from a PC, including streaming data live. - TECHCRUNCH

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A New Delhi engineer used a customized drone to rescue a puppy stuck in a drain slurry. The man, Milind Raj, builds robots for a living and has experience working with AI. After finding the puppy, Raj decided to add a claw and harness to his existing six-rotor drone. The robotic arm included built-in sensors that monitored the animal's heart rate to make sure the grip wasn't too tight. The retractable harness gave support to the puppy's neck to ensure safety and comfort. On his YouTube page, Raj said that he built the robotic arm in six hours. - HUFFPO UK

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NASA and Amazon are working with experts in France to develop technology for coordinating drone traffic. NASA has tapped drone designer Delair-Tech to test our prototypes of software for air-traffic management. “Today, we’re collectively at level zero of traffic management, we just segment the air space," Delair-Tech CEO Michael de Lagarde said. Amazon set up a laboratory near Paris as part of an initiative to develop its own air-traffic-control system. The company plans to use the system to manage its fleets of delivery drones that will travel from warehouses to customers. French rules governing drones are generally more permissive than U.S. rules, allowing for activities such as out-of-sight flying. - BLOOMBERG

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