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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Sep 11th, 2018)

1. California's governor signed a bill that will ban drone flights over state prisons. Anyone caught flying a drone over the facilities, including juvenile prisons, will face a fine of $500. SB 1355, which takes effect in January, exempts prison employees who are authorized to fly drones for work. State Sen. Jerry Hill, who introduced the measure, said that the law "updates current law to make clear that using drones to smuggle contraband into correctional facilities is also unlawful." The bill comes after multiple prisons in the U.S. and elsewhere have experienced a surge in contraband deliveries smuggled in via drone. - BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE

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2. A drone helped locate a woman who went missing in a Malaysian jungle. According to the officer-in-charge, the 31-year-old woman, who was believed to be suffering from depression, went missing last Friday. A citizen offered his drone to help police locate the woman in the jungle in Kampung Nyior Manis. She was found in the jungle on Saturday "in a fatigued state with minor cuts all over her body," the officer-in-charge, Wan Samsul Effendi Wan Mahmud, said. Romeo Durscher, director of public safety integration for DJI, recently tweeted that drones have helped save nearly 160 people, though he did not say during what time period. - DRONEDJ

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3. The publications of TCPalm and Florida Today will send two members of their drone team to provide coverage when Hurricane Florence hits the U.S. East Coast later this week. Photographers and videographers Xavier Mascareñas and Jeremiah Wilson will join a larger team of journalists from the USA Today network in providing on-spot coverage of the storm. Both journalists became certified by the FAA as small UAS pilots. According to TCPalm, Mascareñas and Wilson "will take the news organization's drone to safely capture aerial footage before and after" the hurricane makes landfall, which is expected to occur on Friday. - TCPALM

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4. Oregon State University (OSU) scientists recently utilized drones to study the behavior of gray whales. The UAVs were deployed at more than 50 locations over a period of six months, allowing scientists to observe the mammals from a bird's-eye view. “Initially we began using drones to observe the whales’ physical conditions,” said Leigh Torres with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute. “But soon we discovered that the drones can also provide us with amazing new insights into the whales’ behavior without disturbing them in the process.” The results of the behavioral study were released in "Frontiers in Marine Science," a scientific journal, this week. - KGW8

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5. Did you know that the history of drones dates back more than a century? Digital Trends recently published this article showing the 10 most significant milestones in the UAV industry. (Hint: It starts in 1907 with the creation of the world's first quadcopter).

6. A drone's faulty charger or battery triggered a fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Sunday, the local fire department said. Two people suffered minor injuries from the apartment blaze, which was quickly extinguished.

7. Pasco-Hernando State College in New Port Richey, Florida is now offering a drone-pilot degree program believed to be the state's first.

8. A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor is leading a project that could pair drones with ride-sharing vehicles. The project, backed by a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, could see drones attach to the roof of vehicles as they travel to their final delivery destinations.

9. The Police Department in Hanford, California is the latest law-enforcement agency to launch a drone program in the U.S. The department acquired a DJI Matrice 100, which cost about $9,000 with all the necessary bells and whistles.

10. San Diego-based Ocean Aero has received a multimillion-dollar investment in a second round of capital funding from Energy Innovation Capital and Lockheed Martin. The company develops hybrid wind- and solar-powered drones.

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Written and curated by Beth Duckett in California. Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies), Krystle Vermes (Breaking news editor at Inside, B2B marketing news reporter, host of the "All Day Paranormal" podcast), and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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