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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jun 19th, 2019)

1. DJI has indefinitely delayed the launch of its Spark 2 drone, which was originally set for a summer release. Drone DJ reports that the Chinese manufacturer sent out a memo to employees last week stating that “due to a shift in priorities, the July 23 [launch] event is now on hold until further notice." When it is released, the Spark 2 is expected to have 4K video at 30fps, an increased video bitrate, 2x digital zoom, a new battery design, and increased flight time. (You can read more about its expected specs here). - DRONE DJ

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2. Australia's government launched a formal review looking into drone noise after people complained about Wing's drone deliveries in Canberra, the capital. The review will look into the noise impact from drone flights by both commercial and recreational pilots; it could help determine an "appropriate scope and breadth" for future noise regulations for drones, according to deputy prime minister Michael McCormack. Alphabet-owned Wing officially started delivering food and medicine to several neighborhoods in Canberra in April. During trials, some local residents complained about the noise emanating from the drones and formed a protest group. - ABC

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3. Nearly 40 flights were delayed this week at Singapore's Changi Airport due to unauthorized drone flying, civil regulators said. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore didn't specify how many drones were spotted, or if an operator had been arrested. One of the airport's two runways was shut down for periods of time between 11 p.m. on Tuesday and 9 a.m. on Wednesday “to ensure the safety of aircraft operations and passengers," the agency said. One arriving flight was diverted to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. In Singapore, people who fly drones illegally and are convicted face up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. - CNA

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4. Walmart filed more patents for drone technology than Amazon in 2018, according to a new report from the accounting firm BDO. Walmart filed 56 requests while Amazon filed 54. Overall, Walmart has filed 97 drone-related patents with the World Intellectual Property Organization since July 2018. The retailers have been competing to improve their delivery speeds to customers after Amazon in April announced that it would spend $800 million to offer free one-day shipping for Prime customers. Walmart announced its own free next-day delivery service soon after. - BUSINESS INSIDER

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5. The United Arab Emirates is now allowing people to take photos and shoot videos with drones. Pilots, who still need approval from regulators, are only allowed to fly at certain locations and under specific heights. So far, slightly more than 8,000 drones have been registered with the country's General Civil Aviation Authority. - GULF NEWS

6. A new system can monitor prisons for drones delivering contraband. The method, which will likely include an app interface, comes from engineers at Duke University and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. It could one day monitor the walls of North Carolina's state prisons, which have experienced sporadic incidents of drones delivering contraband over prison walls. - WRAL TECH WIRE

7. Scientists at Nanjing University in China designed a “quantum drone” that could serve as a flying node — similar to a quantum satellite — in a future quantum communications network. The concept could one day lead to ultrasecure communication networks. Researchers detailed their findings in a paper published last month on the ArXiV online preprint server. - IEEE SPECTRUM

8. Montana officials are gearing up to fly an insecticide-carrying drone over parts of the state that have lots of mosquitoes. Research suggests that using a drone to aerially dispense larvicides is three times more effective at managing mosquitos than ground treatments, in part because drones can access more areas, according to Jake Rubow, a technician in charge of the program. - DIL

9. Japan's parliament passed a law that makes it illegal to fly a drone while drunk. The rule applies to drones weighing more than 7 ounces, or 0.44 pounds, which covers even small drones like the DJI Spark or Parrot Anafi. - DRONE DJ

10. Today's Video of the Week comes from Canton, Texas, where a drone captured views of a tornado ripping across the prairie. (Video courtesy of WeatherNation).

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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 and other topics in southern California here.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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