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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jun 26th, 2018)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned flying drones over certain federal prisons and Coast Guard facilities. Under the new restrictions, announced on Tuesday, people will be barred from flying UAVs over 19 prisons and 10 Coast Guard facilities in the U.S. Violators could be subject to civil penalties and criminal charges, including up to a year in prison, according to the FAA. The agency has already barred drone flights over military bases, seven Department of Energy facilities, and 10 Department of the Interior facilities. The new restrictions take effect on July 7. - USA TODAY

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Rescuers deployed two drones to help search for a soccer team that went missing in a cave in Thailand. Twelve boys, aged 11-16, and their coach were last seen after practice on Saturday. Their bikes and other gear were found outside a sprawling cave network in the northernmost Chiang Rai Province. Rescuers are using drones equipped with heat detectors to survey regions outside the cave and search for heat signatures. A remotely operated underwater drone will be deployed to send back data about the cave's size and configuration. - USATODAY

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Chinese government agencies are using bird drones to surveil people in the country. The South China Morning Post reported that more than 30 military and other agencies have deployed the aerial drones, which resemble doves, in at least five Chinese provinces. The surveillance is particularly prominent in an area of Western China, which borders Russia, Mongolia, and Pakistan and has become a hotbed of separatist ideology, reports noted. According to BGR, the drones are equipped with cameras, wind speed sensors and other gear; an advanced flight control system helps to smooth out the birds' movements, making them appear more natural. - WETALKUAV

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Amazon received a patent for an anti-hijacking system to prevent takeovers of its delivery drones. The company developed the technology over concerns that attackers could hack communications between UAVs and their controllers and gain access to the drone's flight system. Individuals or systems could obtain control of the drones in order to steal their deliveries or crash them deliberately, the company noted. The anti-hijacking system would center on a drone's “heartbeat” signal, which would be automatically transmitted every several seconds from the controller. If a drone stops receiving the signal, the aircraft would change into "safety" mode to prevent any hostile takeovers. In this mode, the drone would perform a pre-programmed action, such as landing or regaining control, according to the patent. - THE MERCURY NEWS

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Hundreds of drones were on display during the World Drone Congress and Shenzhen International UAV Expo 2018 this past weekend. According to DroneDJ, the event in Shenzhen, China highlighted the country's booming drone industry. Drones that were on display included a selfie drone and one that folds into a case for smartphones. The company Shenzhen HighGreat Innovation Technology Development Co., Ltd also displayed drones that can fly in formation during weddings and other ceremonies. Other companies promoted drones that can avoid obstacles, drop off payloads at multiple locations, and extinguish fires. More than 1,200 drone companies operate in China; Shenzhen-based DJI is the largest. - THE DRIVE

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