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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Aug 3rd, 2018)

A fire department in Menlo Park, California, has deployed drones to survey the remains of wildfires in nearby Shasta County. The Carr Fire - now considered the sixth most destructive wildfire in California's history - has destroyed roughly 1,000 homes along with hundreds of other structures near the city of Redding, in northern California. The public-safety drones will survey and documents areas that have been devastated by the 125,000-acre fire. The drones, which are equipped with thermal imaging cameras, will help responders create high-res maps for homeowners to find their properties, and could also be useful for insurance purposes. The information could help speed up planned reconstruction of the affected areas. - NBC BAY AREA

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Drones are spraying crops with fertilizer and pesticides in El Salvador. The hexacopters are pre-programmed to follow specific routes over the fields, which are comprised mostly of sugar cane. "We're spraying crops that previously have not being sprayed," said Nick Nawratil, COO of Hylio, the drone solutions company that is leading the effort. The UAVs can spray 40 hectares - about 100 acres - of crops in a single morning. - BBC

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A pilot reported seeing a drone near his aircraft as it was landing at the Edmonton International Airport. The incident, which occurred on Tuesday, posed no risk to the WestJet flight, which landed safely, according to the airline. The pilot spotted the drone, described as "pallet-sized," at 1,628 feet above ground level, which is about twice as high as Edmonton’s tallest building. The incident is one of 130 drone sightings near aircraft reported in Canada during the yearlong period from Aug. 1, 2017 to Aug. 2, 2018, according to the Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System. - GLOBAL NEWS

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Drones equipped with special cameras are helping to fight illegal garbage dumping in Harris County, Texas. According to the Houston Chronicle, Houston has agreed to grant 22 surveillance cameras to the county for a program that aims to curb the practice. The cameras can track the movements of cars and people, and zoom in automatically during perceived interruptions - such as when a person exits a vehicle to dump garbage. The drones provide an additional perspective when stationary cameras aren't enough. “Our drone pilot can fly above a scene if we need them to with the proper paperwork and get video footage that way as well,” Constable Alan Rosen said. The illegal dumping program has resulted in nearly 700 investigations and 400 criminal charges. - THE DRIVE

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An inquiry by Australia's government has recommended mandatory registration for drones, along with stricter airspace regulations. The Senate released findings from the two-year inquiry this week; it was initiated after people raised concerns about drones flying near planes and other aircraft. The report recommends a mandatory registration system for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) weighing more than 250 grams (0.55 pounds). According to the report, the registration would provide "an opportunity to reach and inform all RPAS users whilst also requiring of them a demonstrated understanding and awareness of safe RPAS use." - DRONE BELOW

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