Inside Drones - September 12th, 2018

Inside Drones (Sep 12th, 2018)

Xcel Energy / Origami drone / Staged drone-copter crash

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1. Xcel Energy is flying drones beyond a pilot's line of sight as it inspects power lines in the Denver area. The FAA granted a special waiver to the company, which collects airborne data on the condition of lines and transmission towers. The company's 35-pound drone uses two cameras to take photos and inspect lines along a 50-mile route in Colorado. The waiver, which was granted earlier this year, allows Xcel Energy to conduct the commercial flights without a visual observer or nearby aircraft, which is considered a major step in the process of fully integrating drones into the national airspace. - MARKETWATCH

2. Researchers are teaching drones how to fly through small holes using 3D models. A team at the University of Maryland’s Perception and Robotics Group is leading the project, dubbed GapFlyt, using similar technique utilized by birds and bugs. The drone takes sensing shot using a simple camera, marking the features on each image to create a 3D model of an opening in the wall. The drone can then discern the shape and size of the hole, allowing it to fly through without training. According to the team, the drone was 85 percent accurate in recent tests. - TECHCRUNCH

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3. Swiss researchers have developed a drone that can deform when it crashes, decreasing or eliminating potential damage. The drone's shape and properties are inspired by origami and insect wings, according to researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The drone is stiff but flexible enough to absorb shocks upon impact, and builds up its elastic potential energy when folded, allowing it to unfold automatically. - DESIGNNEWS

4. A drone academy in Italy released a video showing the aftermath of a staged drone accident with a helicopter. The dramatic video is meant to warn people about the dangers of flying drones illegally, including near airports. In the footage, a drone makes contact with the helicopter and destroys its tail rotor, spinning the copter out of control as it crashes into an ambulance on the ground. It causes serious damage as it appears to shoot shrapnel toward bystanders, potentially resulting in their deaths. The video concludes with the following statement: “A drone is not a toy. Illegal use of a drone results in criminal charges. Don’t risk it, sign up for the following courses.” The Italian ‘Accademia del Drone’ developed the video. - DRONEDJ

5. Police in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India are planning to purchase an anti-drone system that can detect and jam rogue drones. The device is under consideration for purchase as the country gears up to implement its National Drone Policy on December 1.

6. The city of Oxford, England plans to provide drone roof and building surveys, land mapping, filming and photography to commercial customers. The services will be provided by Oxford Direct Services (ODS), an arm of the Oxford City Council.

7. DroneDJ published an article with information on how to swap the camera on the DJI Mavic 2 with the Mavic 2 Zoom and Pro models. You can change the camera yourself, as shown in this YouTube video.

8. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in Florida is ready to deploy its new Draganflyer Commander drone. The agency underwent months of research and training before announcing plans to start using the drones in search-and-rescue, disaster response, and tactical deployment.

9. A tourist was filmed flying a drone illegally in the Old City of Dubrovnik, Croatia this week. Flying drones over the Old City is prohibited due to the risks of hitting bystanders or other aircraft.

10. New drone footage shows hundreds of drivers fleeing coastal areas as Hurricane Florence makes its way toward the U.S. East Coast this week.

Written and curated by Beth Duckett in California. Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at, 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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