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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Dec 12th, 2018)

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1. Ghana's Medical Association (GMA) is urging the nation's government to halt a program that will deliver medical supplies by drone. The country's parliament recently approved a contract with Fly Zipline International to oversee the drone delivery program, which would deliver medical supplies to various hospitals across the country. The project has come under scrutiny for its high cost and lack of test trials, among other concerns. In a statement issued Thursday, the GMA argued that the program should be suspended until more stakeholders provide their input. “Health should not be politicized, and the health of Ghanaians is critical," the GMA said. Zipline continues to defend the project, saying it will save lives. - GHANAWEB

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2. A Russian drone appeared to set a Guinness World Record for carrying the most weight of any multicopter. The Skyf drone has multiple rotors and a mix of gas and electric motors. During recent demonstration flights in Russia, the remote-controlled drone lifted off and carried a payload of 220 pounds (100 kg) a distance of 330 feet (100 m). The flight appeared to beat the previous world record of 134 pounds, which was carried by a multicopter from the University of Oslo in 2016. Skyf has applications in search and rescue missions, delivering cargo and spraying pesticides on crops. - NEW ATLAS

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3. A newly developed quadcopter can fold into different shapes, making it easier to fly through tight spaces. The drone was created through a collaboration between the University of Zurich and Swiss research group EPFL. Researchers developed the quadcopter, which can retract its propeller arms during flight, making it more capable of flying into and through hard-to-reach places. Its standard configuration is X-shaped, but the drone can also morph into an ‘H’ shape, an ’O’ shape, or a ’T’ shape. “Our solution is quite simple from a mechanical point of view, but it is very versatile and very autonomous, with onboard perception and control systems,” said Davide Falanga, a researcher at the university. - NEW ATLAS

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4. Lift Aircraft has developed an 18-rotor passenger drone that could transport people on short flights. The Texas-based startup says its Hexa drone could be available for public flight trials as early as next year. The 430-pound drone can carry a single passenger for up to 15 minutes of sustained flight. According to Lift, it could fly people short distances for recreational purposes or to avoid traffic in congested areas of the U.S. - ENGADGET

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5. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao will deliver a keynote speech about drones and self-driving technology during CES 2019. The tech event takes place Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas.  

6. Former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has joined the advisory board of ParaZero, a Tel-Aviv based maker of drone recovery systems.

7. Tunisian authorities arrested two men in connection with the 2016 murder of Hamas drone expert Mohammed al-Zoari.

8. California authorities used a drone to locate an armed man who broke into a lighthouse in Monterey.

9. Researchers at the University of Exeter developed technology that uses drones to create 3D maps of coastal habitats. The technique could help scientists better visualize the impacts of rising sea levels.

10. A Nigerian startup is providing drones to farmers so they can map their land, supervise crops, and spray pesticides. Beat Drone uses imported drones from China to help local farmers improve their crop yields.

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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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