Inside Drones - July 31st, 2019

Inside Drones (Jul 31st, 2019)

Matternet drone crashes / DJI FPV system / Bat Bot / Le Drib video

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1. After two delivery drones crashed in Switzerland, a report outlined what went wrong during one of the crashes that indefinitely suspended the delivery partnership between the Swiss Post and Matternet. During the flight, an unidentified issue caused the drone to begin an emergency landing using a parachute. But the tether that connected the parachute to the drone caught onto the sharp portion of the drone, which broke the drone and made it fall from the sky. Swiss Post has called on Matternet to make changes to the drone system before resuming flights. - IEEE SPECTRUM

A version of this story first appeared in Inside Transportation.

2. DJI introduced a new digital transmission system for FPV racers, which has long-range, ultralow latency HD video. The products include FPV goggles, an FPV remote controller, and an FPV air unit Transmission Module that attaches to an FPV camera. The core module employs a two-way data communication system with a range of 2.5 miles. It has eight channels of 5.8GHz wireless frequency supported by the Air Unit, so eight drones can be flown at any given time under a single system. Since it uses digital instead of analog (with the same FPV footage quality), racers can share the HD signal on large screens during races. According to DJI, the latency clocks at 28 milliseconds and anti-interference technology reduces the chance of dropped frames and downtime. - THE VERGE

3. Project Wing will launch its latest drone delivery service in Logan, Queensland, Australia. For the last 18 months, Wing has been quietly testing its deliveries of food, drinks, medication, coffee, and chocolate in the Australian capital of Canberra. Terrance Bouldin-Johnson, Wing's Australian head of operations, said the Alphabet subsidiary spun out of Google X will partner with local businesses in Logan to deliver a "range of goods." The first deliveries are expected to launch in the suburbs by the end of the year. - 9NEWS

4. Roboticists are building ultralight bio-inspired drones — including some that resemble bats, birds, and insects — that could one day perform tasks in the skies without being noticed. The drones lack propellers and have flapping wings instead of fixed wings. Alireza Ramezani, who is working on the Bat Bot at Northeastern University, says the drones could monitor areas and send back information to authorities 24/7 without disturbing people, adding that “we can think of them as the guardians of future cities.” While the drones are still in the prototype stage, they could be used to monitor traffic, collect weather data, inspect construction sites, pollinate crops — a.k.a, many of the current uses — but do it more naturally and unobtrusively. - NBC NEWS

5. South Korea started testing drones in remote areas as it works to create a public drone delivery system. The country has 480 inhabited islands where residents have difficulty accessing food and services. The government hopes a drone delivery system could cut down on the time it takes to reach islanders, who currently receive supplies via shipping vessels. On Wednesday, a test operation transported medical items from the city of Dangjin to two islands off the country's west coast. Seoul hopes to establish at least 10 drone delivery bases across the country by 2022. - CNA

6. New Zealand scientists took a whale's vital signs using a specially designed drone. A team of international scientists from the University of Canterbury deployed the quadcopter with an infrared camera off the coast of the Cook Islands during humpback whale calving season. They were able to record high-res videos of a mother whale over three hours, using the infrared data to measure her body temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate based on changes in her skin temperature. Measuring whale health is still a challenge, but drone technology, infrared imaging, and data-processing "have created unique opportunities to help whales survive," said project lead and environmental geochemist Travis Horton. - NZHERALD

7. Hot Toys developed an accurate replica of Spider-Man‘s "Spider-Drone" companion that appeared in "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Far From Home." The pack, which will be available to buy later this year, includes two replicas of the superhero’s assistant and a movie-themed display stand. - HYPEBEAST

8. A search party volunteer used a drone to find a Maryland man who was missing in the wilderness for five days. Julian Bustos used his personal drone to find Jason Blake Mabee, who was spotted lying in a wooded area near Columbia, Maryland. Mabee went missing on July 23 and likely fell; he had life-threatening injuries but is now in fair condition. Media reports and locals have labeled Bustos a hero. - AP

9. ILounge is selling the Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter combo kit for $149, which is 8 percent off the regular price. The kit includes the drone itself, plus three batteries, a charging hub, and a MicroUSB cable. The DJI-Ryze Tech drone has a 13-minute flight time and 720p video and is compatible with smartphones, controllers, or VR headsets. Its Intel processor allows users to perform tricks via the smartphone Tello app. - ILOUNGE

10. Today's Drone Video of the Week comes from Rotor Riot and Le Drib, who got special permission to fly an FPV drone during a demolition event, which is pretty rare. Check out the entire footage here!

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.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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