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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Mar 13th, 2019)

1. President Donald Trump signed a bill that directs the government to test out drones for fighting wildfires. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act — which was signed into law on Tuesday — directs the Interior Department secretary to establish a drone research and testing program for wildfires within six months. The inter-agency program will explore how drones can benefit wildland fire management operations across the U.S. - FEDSCOOP

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2. The U.K. government expanded the "no-fly" zone for drones around airports. Effective today, it's now illegal to fly a drone within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of an airport, an increase from the previous 1 kilometer (0.6 miles). The new rule takes effect after drone sightings were reported at Heathrow, Gatwick, and Dublin airports, grounding hundreds of flights and leaving thousands of travelers stranded. U.K. lawmakers are also drafting a Drones Bill that will grant additional powers to police officers to crack down on errant drones, including accessing drone electronic data with a warrant. - IRISH EXAMINER

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3. A new system uses multicopters to "catch" and safely lower fixed-wing drones while they are airborne. A team at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology developed the system, which eliminates the need for the fixed-wing drone to find a runway. Instead, the drone is equipped with a small box that drops a catch line once the drone approaches its landing spot. At the same time, two autonomous multicopters with a cable stretched between them are deployed below the path of the incoming drone. Its catch line gets hooked on the cable and the drone's motor is shut off before the multicopters lower it to safety. "The operation can be performed virtually anywhere, without a runway or other infrastructure," says the university's Professor Tor Arne Johansen. - NEW ATLAS

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4. Yale University researchers invented new landing gear that's designed to help drones perch on various surfaces. Researchers designed and 3D printed a leg system that can be used on both flat and curved surfaces, which they described in a research article published in Science Robotics. Kaiyu Hang, a postdoctoral student at Yale, compared the system to bats hanging upside down or birds placing their feet on a surface while flapping their wings. In these instances, "some suitably shaped part of the animal’s foot interacts with a structure in the environment and facilitates that they have to generate less lift or that power flight can be completely suspended," Hang explained. - POPULAR MECHANICS

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5. South African lawmakers are considering using drones to help secure its border with Botswana, Mozambique, and other countries.

6. The Bionic Bird drone, which looks and flies like a real bird, is currently on sale for $99.95, normally $149.95.

7. Popular Science's Jordan Golson profiles how Fox Sports used an untethered DJI Inspire 2 to film the Daytona 500.

8. According to the BBC, police in Northern Ireland have used drones in more than 370 rescues and other scenarios since 2013.

9. A New Zealand farmer developed a barking drone that he uses to watch over and herd livestock. Corey Lambeth, a sheep and beef farmer, recorded his dogs barking and transferred the sound over to his DJI Mavic Enterprise.

10. Hungarian photographer Márton Mogyorósy used a drone to create a photography series of the architecture in Barcelona, Spain. The images come courtesy of Dezeen.

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Written and curated by Beth Duckett in Orange County. Beth is a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who has written for USA Today, Get Out magazine, and other publications. Follow her tweets about breaking news in southern California here.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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