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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jul 3rd, 2018)

Parrot's new Anafi drone has received mixed reviews from critics. The foldable camera drone currently retails for $700. Reviewer Vjeran Pavic with the Verge tested the Anafi for two weeks, logging around 30 flights. In an online review, Pavic praised the drone's zoom and HDR capturing abilities, but wrote that those were "overshadowed with how miserable the overall experience was." He cited the UAV's "buggy software, poor connectivity, and even corrupted files," but noted that Parrot sent him another device, which later improved the experience. Even so, "Anafi lacks the refinement and finesse you get with DJI’s Mavic Air," he wrote. Reviewer Evan Ackerman from IEEE Spectrum expressed a more positive experience, calling the Anafi "easy, pleasant, and low stress." Read about how the Anafi stacks up to the Mavic Air and Pro here. - THE VERGE

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Drones may have helped a French criminal break out of prison. Rédoine Faïd broke out of prison on Sunday; he was aided by a heavily armed commando gang that hijacked a helicopter to fly him out of the campus. According to French justice minister Nicole Belloubet, drones were recently spotted flying over the prison, which is southeast of Paris. “Someone spotted this possible way out, and it could have been done using drones,” Belloubet said. Authorities believe the hobby drones are related to the jailbreak. A manhunt is underway to locate Faïd, who was imprisoned for participating in a robbery that killed one police officer. - THE GUARDIAN

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Greenpeace deliberately crashed a drone into a nuclear plant in France to highlight the site's vulnerability to attacks, according to the environmental group. Footage of the flight was posted to the agency's Facebook page this week. The drone, which was outfitted to resemble a miniature Superman, was flown into a no-fly zone at the plant in Bugey, France. "[A]t no time was the drone intercepted or even worried about," the group said. One of its activists also piloted a remote-controlled airplane as part of the stunt. - ABC/WIRES

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On July 4, towns in three U.S. states will use drones instead of fireworks to stave off the threat of wildfires. The towns are located in Arizona, California and Colorado. In addition, Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco, which is south of the ongoing Napa and Yolo wildfires, will host an Intel drone show on Wednesday. The display will feature hundreds of drones synchronized to music; the aerial vehicles will be programmed to form images of an American flag and California icons in the sky. "For 12 centuries, fireworks were the only way to light up the night sky," said Anil Nanduri, general manager of Intel's drone group. "Now we have technology that allows us to do precision animation and storytelling – we can write words and draw objects in the sky." - USA TODAY

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“Fireworks, drones and airplanes don’t mix.”

The FAA is reminding people not to fly their drones near, in or on fireworks this July 4.

The agency also took the opportunity to inform pilots about its other rules, too: Don't fly over people or near airports, and stay below 400 feet.

As Quartz reminds us, there's always another option as well: "Light shows made up of drones, instead of fireworks, are an increasingly popular, and greener, idea."

So enjoy your drones this Independence Day! Just keep them away from the pyrotechnics :-)

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