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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Jul 3rd, 2019)

1. A Florida man was flying his drone above a beach when he spotted a shark swimming near his children. The incident occurred at Florida's New Smyrna Beach. In an Instagram post, Dan Watson said he was flying his Mavic 2 Pro when he saw the silhouette of a shark and began shouting at his children to get out of the water. He wrote, "Thinking my DJI drone is now coming with me to every beach day!!!” - CBS MIAMI/AP

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2. Unifly, which develops unmanned traffic management software for drones, raised $19.2 million in a Series B funding round. Investors included Deutsche Flugsicherung, Germany's air traffic control authority, and Belgium’s Federal Holding and Investment Company. Existing investors Terra Drone, QBIC, and PMV also participated. The Antwerp-based startup is working on software to track and manage drones in government-regulated airspace, helping pilots track flights and avoid other aircraft. - SUAS NEWS

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3. German researchers are firing drones at high speeds out of air cannons to test what can happen during drone-aircraft strikes. A team at Fraunhofer EMI in Freiburg loaded the air cannon with drone batteries and engines, which tend to be the heaviest parts of a drone, and propelled them at speeds of 250 to 570 miles per hour toward aluminum plates. The testing, which was recorded by a high-speed camera, showed “substantial deformation” of the plates while the drone parts were “completely destroyed," researchers said. - TECHCRUNCH

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4. Two inventors built a firing module that attaches to the bottom of drones and fires seeds into the ground for planting. The Podder, as it's called, is pneumatic firing device capable of shooting up to 8,000 seeds a day, which is about 10 times faster than a human can plant them on average. South African Andries Louw and Australian Andrew Walker, who built the device in a garage, have since started AirSeed Technologies. They hope the company can tackle deforestation, using fleets of drones to plant 100 million trees per year starting in 2023. - BUSINESS INSIDER SA

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5. Flytrex's parachute for package delivery drones was validated at the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) test site in Rome, New York. The testing of the Israel-based drone company's DRS-M600 parachute is the second standard validation of a parachute drone done by NUAIR. The parachute, which comes with a black box, can be deployed within milliseconds and helps drones land on the ground safely after a malfunction. - IUS

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6. Duke University professors created a detection system that can alert prisons when a drone is trying to deliver contraband. One of the system's developers, Missy Cummings, was a Navy first female fighter pilots and is now a professor at Duke specializing in autonomous vehicles. The AI-based system, which costs a few hundred dollars, will be tested at two North Carolina prisons for six months before rolling out further. - WNCN

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7. U.S. Army troops will begin using tiny reconnaissance drones that can fit into a person's hand. The Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Systems will be used initially by troops within the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The drones, which are equipped with several cameras and a thermal imager, weigh less than a tenth of a pound and are slightly under seven inches long. The Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, is expected to start using the drones when deployed in Afghanistan this summer. - THE DRIVE

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8. Today's Drone Video of the Week comes from drone pilot and FPV pro Le Drib, who showed off his skills with his impressively geared-up DJI Mavic.

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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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