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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Dec 4th, 2018)

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1. Alphabet plans to launch its drone delivery service in Europe next year. The company's Wing project will begin testing out deliveries of goods across the Helsinki area of Finland this spring, according to CNET. The independent company has delivered food, drinks, and medicine to residents in southeastern Australia for the past 18 months. "Finns are internationally renowned for being early-adopters of new technologies, and we're looking forward to working with the community and local businesses," the company said in a statement. - ENGADGET

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2. The New York Police Department is rolling out a fleet of 14 drones to assist with public safety efforts. The aerial drones will be used to reach inaccessible crime scenes, find missing people, and deal with hazardous materials and hostage situations, according to the department. Nearly 30 officers have been trained to fly the drones, which won't be used to monitor citizens or traffic. However, the plans have still triggered concerns from local groups that they could be used to spy on residents. - NYTIMES

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3. A computer security consultant who is in prison was charged with using stolen money to buy a drone for smuggling. Max Ray Vision, who is serving a 13-year-sentence for illegal hacking, allegedly stole debit card numbers and used the profits to buy a drone. He is accused of using the drone to smuggle in additional cellphones to a prison in Louisiana. Vision, who has been known by his hacker alias “Iceman,” has pleaded not guilty to the charges. - OCCRP

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4. There were nearly 100 reports of drone sightings in the Las Vegas area between 2014 and 2018 — and the number is expected to increase, according to a new Federal Aviation Administration report. The sightings are expected to double this year compared to 2017, according to Chris Walach, Director of the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site. "It is a problem, the reports reflect the evidence that it is a problem," he said. The report cited several near-misses between drones and airplanes headed to Nevada's McCarran International Airport. - KTNV

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5. More than 900 local, state and national agencies in the U.S. are using drones to help with emergency response efforts, according to the non-profit Brookings Institution.

6. The World Surf League used a helicopter to knock a rogue drone out of the sky during a surfing event in Hawaii. The organization was trying to protect its intellectual property rights, which prevent outsiders from filming contests without permission.

7. Jay Merkle has been hired as the FAA's new chief of drone integration, replacing Earl Lawrence, who was promoted to executive director for aircraft certification.

8. Wilson Witzel, governor-elect of the state of Rio de Janeiro, said the government plans to launch drones to help with crime-fighting. "Security is our priority," he said.

9. Global spending on drones and robotics systems is expected to reach nearly $116 billion next year - an increase of 18 percent from 2018.

10. The Tenergy TDR Phoenix Mini RC Quadcopter drone is currently on sale for $23.99, normally $39.99. The drone comes with auto hovering ability and a 720P HD camera.

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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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