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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (May 29th, 2019)

1. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent out an alert warning that Chinese-made drones can relay sensitive flight data back to their manufacturers in China. The alert from DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency says that drones can pose as a risk to a firm's data privacy and information by sharing it on servers that could be accessed by the Chinese government. The agency has warned pilots to take caution when buying Chinese drones and understand how to limit a drone's access to networks and remove secure digital cards. While DHS didn't list any specific drone manufacturers, Shenzhen-based DJI produces more than 70 percent of all drones that are used in the U.S. and Canada. In response to the alert, DJI expressed support for the recommendations and said it provides its customers with "full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored, and transmitted." - EXTREME TECH

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2. First responders in Tulsa, Oklahoma counted at least 30 cases of people flying drones illegally and recklessly as the state grapples with historic levels of flooding. The floodwaters have attracted more drone pilots seeking to capture images and video of the disaster area around the Arkansas River, but they have the potential to hamper emergency helicopter and rescue operations, officials said. About 30 drones were seen flying illegally on Tuesday, when all of the state's counties were under a state of emergency, a Tulsa Fire spokesman said. The FAA generally restricts recreational drone pilots from flying within 5 miles of an airport, near airplanes, or higher than 400 feet. - CNN

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3. DJI released the second generation of its Manifold supercomputer for drones. The Manifold 2 updates the original drone developer platform and can turn the company's Matrice 210 or 600 into autonomous drones. The device has more compute capability, according to DJI, so users can process more image data and other complex tasks onboard their drones. Pilots can also use the device to program drones to identify objects and avoid obstacles while flying autonomously. Geared toward businesses, researchers, and developers, it costs $1,379 for the Intel version and $1,099 for the Nvidia. - UNMANNED AERIAL

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4. Paladin Drones raised $1.3 million to further develop its drone-based software, which gives first responders a live feed of emergencies. Paladin, which launched out of the startup accelerator Y Combinator, created the software so authorities can deploy drones to emergency situations and scope out the area beforehand for any potential dangers. The seed round occurred with participation from Khosla Ventures and Paul Buchheit. - TECHCRUNCH

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5. DJI is adding built-in aircraft detectors to all of its larger drones starting in 2020. The drones will have onboard sensors that can detect a plane or helicopter's Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signal. - THE VERGE

6. French drone maker Parrot was one of six companies chosen by the U.S. government to build short-range reconnaissance aircraft for the military. The others, which are all U.S-based, are Skydio, Altavian, Teal Drones, Vantage Robotics, and Lumenier. - VENTURE BEAT

7. LT Sambo, a civil engineering company, was charged with flying a drone without a permit in the first case of its kind in Singapore. The firm is accused of operating a DJI Phantom 4 in public back in 2017 without an activity permit and faces fines of up to $20,000. - CNA

8. A tribe of monkeys in Senegal sounded an unusual alarm call when researchers flew a drone over their property. The never-before-heard call — described as almost identical to another species’ cry for “eagle" — was heard even while researchers played an audio recording of the drone later. - SCIENCE MAG

9. The Drive's Edward Niedermeyer writes about a recently filed patent from BMW that envisions how drones could automatically wash people's cars. As Niedermeyer describes, the drone would be able to determine if a car's windows and doors are closed and how much dirt is on the vehicle before washing it and sending before-and-after photos to the customer. - THE DRIVE

10. Adam Woodworth (the designer behind the Imperial Star Destroyer) unveiled a giant Lego helicopter drone during this year's Maker Faire in the Bay Area. Woodworth, who describes himself on Instagram as an "airplane stuff doer," modeled the drone after the classic 6396 International Jetport Legoland set, his favorite among Lego's helicopters. - TOM'S GUIDE

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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) and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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