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Inside Drones (Dec 11th, 2019)

1. A security breach at DroneSense left the flight logs of various police departments and other customers exposed, according to a Motherboard report. The company sells a platform that helps agencies control their drones, including pre-programmed flight paths. Motherboard was able to obtain some of the data from the database - which was exposed for just over a month - that showed things like where police departments are flying their drones and the names of their missions. Some of the clients listed are the Atlanta Police Department, Boise Fire Department, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In a statement, DroneSense said a researcher notified the company about the security flaw on December 3, which "exposed a list of organization names" on its platform and, "for a limited number of organizations, account data." It did not include any images, live streams, or documents. The company noted that it fixed the issue "within minutes." An Atlanta PD spokesperson said there's no reason to believe that any sensitive data was compromised, although officials value "the importance of data security and are discussing the issue further with DroneSense." - MOTHERBOARD

2. A human beat an AI-powered drone during the Drone Racing League's (DRL's) latest competition. The pilot Gabriel "Gab707" Kocher finished the main course in six seconds, besting the drone's time of 11 seconds. The event included DRL's first AI drone competition, known as Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR), which pitted nine AI-powered drones against each other in four circuits. An autonomous racing drone, developed by Team MAVLab from the Netherlands, won the championship and a $1 million prize. - NEW ATLAS

3. PrecisionHawk, a drone tech startup that developed software that analyzes drone data, has landed $32 million from investors including Millennium Technology Value Partners, Eastward Capital Partners, and Third Point Ventures. The Raleigh-based company will use the fresh capital to grow its software products, expand marketing and sales, and hire more software engineers, CEO Michael Chasen told The News & Observer. “We have seen 100 percent growth for the last two years,” said Chase, who also chairs the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee. PrecisionHawk has a fleet of drones and sensor hardware, flight and analytics software, and other drone-related services for businesses, which it uses to help clients choose the technology and develop with flight plans. Its jobs board matches drone pilots with clients, who have access to a platform that uses machine vision to create maps, models, and measurements based on data. - VENTURE BEAT

4. A U.K. government security agency has given its approval for AeroScope, DJI's drone detection and remote ID system. As a result, the U.K.’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure will include the system - which can track and monitor drones in the air - in its Catalogue of Security Equipment. AeroScope, which can also spot pilots within a certain range, works with all of DJI's current models, according to the company. The news comes as aviation regulators in many countries are working to require remote ID systems for drones to boost security. - COMMERCIAL DRONE PROFESSIONAL

5. Authorities shot down seven drones during the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines. The multisport games, which began in late November and ends today, bring together athletes from the 11 countries of Southeast Asia. According to the country's director for Games and Security and Safety, the drones were taken down with electronic drone guns just before the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. One drone was from Malaysia's team, which was unaware that it was a "no-fly zone." The others were unidentified. - GMA

6. Zipline will deliver medical supplies by drone in the Phillippines starting next year. U2 frontman Bono, a Zipline board member, was one of several people this week to speak about the initiative and its launch. The system will begin with blood deliveries between health facilities before expanding to include another 150 medical products, according to the company, which plans to set up three distribution centers across the country. It's being done in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross. “Your access to healthcare should not depend on the GPS coordinates of where you live,” Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said. - RAPPLER

7. Researchers used a drone to count African hippos, which are a threatened species due to habitat loss and hunting. Monitoring populations of hippos - and thus estimating their numbers - is difficult because they are nocturnal, amphibious, and aggressive. So far, aerial, land, and water surveys have been unreliable and at times can be costly. A research team from the University of New South Wales deployed a DJI Phantom 4 to film hippos in Southern Africa, according to a study recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. The drone method was just as, and at times even more effective, than land surveys. It was low cost, did not bother the hippos, and avoided any dangers from counting the animals on land, according to the researchers. - SCIENCE DAILY

8. A Los Angeles news helicopter crew believes a drone struck the aircraft's tail, forcing it to make an emergency landing. KABC's Air7 HD chopper was flying east of downtown, at an altitude of about 1,100 feet, last Wednesday night when the crew heard a loud bang. After landing, they investigated the damage and saw that the object created a hole in the tail and left scratches and dents elsewhere, according to KABC reporter Chris Cristi. "We felt it, we heard it and we all looked at each other; didn't really know what it was." Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. - CNN

9. B&H is selling the DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo for $929 (originally $1,299) and the DJI Focus for $899 (originally $1,599). The Fly More Combo includes the Mavic Pro drone along with with two extra flight batteries and propeller pairs, a battery charging hub, and a shoulder bag. The DJI Focus is a wireless lens control system. - CINEMA 5D

10. VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Traveler/filmmaker Stéphane Couchoud recently posted this FPV drone footage of various locations around China, which he took with French FPV Pro drone pilot/operator Josselin Cornil. The video already has over 104,000 views on YouTube. Hope you enjoy!

Written and curated by Beth Duckett, a former reporter for The Arizona Republic who wrote a book about the solar industry and frequently covers hobby and commercial drones. You can follow her tweets about artificial intelligence news here.

Edited by Sheena Vasani, Inside Dev editor.

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