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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Aug 7th, 2018)

DJI has partnered with the messaging app Line to create a bear mini drone. The Line Friends (Brown) I Spark features the bear icon known as Brown, which is a part of the Japanese subsidiary's line of featured characters. The drone has the same capabilities as DJI's standard Spark drone (selfies, quick launch, tracking) and a flight time of 16 minutes. The drone is currently being sold on DJI's website for $399. Monica Suk, senior communication manager at DJI, said that drones are now becoming lifestyle accessories. "This special edition we are launching with Line Friends will take this concept even further and make storytelling and sharing exciting, and a part of our everyday life," she said. - THE VERGE

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Engineers at the California Institute of Technology have developed an algorithm that enables drones to herd birds away from airports. The project was developed in part because of incidents like the 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson," when a flock of geese struck US Airways Flight 1549, forcing pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles to land in the Hudson River. After studying flock dynamics, Caltech researchers created the algorithm, which "ensures safe relocation of flocks using autonomous drones." The project would allow a drone to position itself in precise ways that encourage flocks of birds to change course when they enter controlled airspace. - TECHXPLORE

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Police are investigating a drone that flew over the summer home of French President Emmanuel Macron. The drone fell into the sea on Monday after it was neutralized by scrambling its wave frequency. Macron is spending his summer break at the home in the French Riviera. - NEWSWEEK

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A drone operator has been fined after his UAV accidentally struck a toddler on a playground. The 1-year-old boy was hit by the out-of-control drone last month at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, Iowa. The drone's propellers caused injuries that required the boy to be briefly hospitalized. A 19-year-old from Davenport, Iowa was fined $75, plus $85 in court fees, over the incident. - NYPOST

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The U.S. Defense Department has awarded an $800 million contract for various companies to develop underwater drones. The government selected 23 companies to participate in the project, which is expected to wrap up by 2023. The goal is to develop and support the government's "Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Family of Systems,” according to a contract announcement. Greater than half of all US drone projects fall under the Navy's purview. - STARS AND STRIPES

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