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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Apr 24th, 2019)

1. The FAA granted airline status to Alphabet's Wing, which is a first for a U.S. drone delivery company. In a statement posted on Medium's website, Wing said that the new air carrier certification allows it to launch a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes. The FAA said the two-year certification allows Wing to fly drones beyond visual line of sight and over people, although the drones can only operate during the day and are barred from carrying hazardous materials or hovering. Wing, which started as a Google X project, has been testing its autonomous delivery drones in Virginia as part of the U.S. government's drone integration pilot program. “This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy," Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said. - NY TIMES

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2. Zipline officially launched the largest drone delivery network in the world in Ghana. The health-oriented drone-delivery company has started ferrying vaccines, blood, and medications to 2,500 health facilities in the country, reaching an estimated 22 million people, CNBC reported. In a speech today about the new program, Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said it would save lives, adding that “no one in Ghana should die because they can’t access the medicine they need in an emergency." Zipline, a Silicon Valley-based startup, started delivering blood in Rwanda three years ago and signed a new deal last year to continue those deliveries, as well as carry vaccines and plasma. - FINANCIAL TIMES

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3. NASA's Langley Research Center released a video of its test flight featuring Hive drones loaded with smaller insect-like drones called Cicadas. The Hives, which consisted of four large drones, were equipped with 20 "Cicada" drones that resemble small airplanes and can fit into a person's hand, according to NASA's description. The Cicada drones, which were developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, detach from the underbelly of the Hive drones to fly around and measure weather and atmospheric conditions. The Navy described its Cicada as a "low-cost, GPS-guided, micro disposable air vehicle that can be deployed in large numbers to 'seed' an area with miniature electronic payloads." - FUTURISM

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4. A sheriff's office in Florida launched six drones to search for a missing man, who was later found. As Drone DJ reports, the rescue effort was notable because of the large number of drones used and the fact that the sheriff's office in Collier County is one of the few public agencies with a dedicated Drone Operations Unit. The missing 77-year-old man was founded in a wooded area with the help of a drone, making him the 228th person in the world to be rescued with the help of a drone, according to DJI. - DRONE DJ

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5. The U.S. Interior Department logged 10,342 drone fights in 2018 — more than twice as many as the year before, according to a new report. In particular, the number of natural disaster response missions grew by nearly 700 percent.

6. Russia created a drone that can collide with hostile quadcopters, taking them down in the sky.

7. A Singaporean company announced plans for a drone program that will provide emergency and disaster response services around the Ring of Fire.

8. Holy Stone's HS160 Shadow FPV Camera Drone, which can fold down to the size of a smartphone, is currently on sale for $52.49 on Amazon (normally $75).

9. Police plan to deploy drones in the Scottish cities of Aberdeen and Inverness to search for missing people.

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10. Editor’s Note: JargonWatch

Earlier this month, we asked all our newsletter writers to write about a buzzword relevant to their readers. We’re planning to make this a regular monthly feature and we’re calling it JargonWatch (as a tribute to the WIRED feature). Our writers rose to the occasion with some fascinating inside info. Here are the top 10 in no particular order:

If you have suggestions for future installments of JargonWatch, hit reply to this email and let us know. And look for next month’s installment across Inside newsletters next Wednesday.

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Today's drone photo of the week comes from NTBG drone specialist Ben Nyberg, who captured images of a flower plant known as Hibiscadelphus woodii, which was previously declared extinct, in Hawaii's Kalalau Valley.

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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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