July 2017 Drone Wrap Up

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1. UK to Tighten Rules on drones after near-misses with planes:

In worldwide drone news, British officials announced that they will be further regulating drones in order to prevent accidents and threats to commercial aviation. Drones that weigh 8 ounces or more will need to be registered, and users will have to pass a safety awareness exam. These new rules will make it easier for the government to track drones that have been flown in a “risky” manner or that have infringed on protected airspace. Learn more here.

2. New NASA Tech Kills Trespassing Drones Without Touching Them

The sky is a big, open place, with many ‘no-go’ zones that aren’t clearly delineated, and there are many potential threats to safety and security. NASA’s solution to this problem? “Drone suicide.” Instead of traditional geofencing, a software system called Safeguard monitors a drone’s proximity to FAA-designated no-fly zones such as military installations, and stadiums. If a drone gets too close, Safeguard instructs it to land – but if the drone continues flying, the software assumes a system failure and cuts off power! Read more here.

3. Amazon gets rights for delivery drones that capture video of homes and recommended purchases

Amazon could possibly develop technology to allow drones to capture a video of a house and make purchase suggestions to customers, according to this article and the patent that they were recently granted. Using a video camera, the drone would record data while delivering items, and then make further recommendations based on that data. An example included in the patent would be finding issues on a house, and then recommending goods or services (for example, for a roof repair service). But, not to worry – customers would have to authorize the video recording first.

4. Walmart to start testing delivery with drones at CNY aiport

Walmart is following in the footsteps of fellow competitor, Amazon! The retail giant reportedly plans to begin testing drone delivery at the Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY. This article explains the need for controlled airspace in field testing, and the 28,000-square-foot hanger that they’ll be using to conduct research and perform tests. The Griffiss airport was designated by the FAA as a drone test site in 2013. This comes after Walmart’s own announcement to commence 2-day delivery, an attempt to compete with the Amazon Prime Service.

5. Russian drone with thermite grenade blows billion dollars of Ukrainian ammo

Guerrilla groups, terrorists, and in some instances, governments worldwide have rapidly weaponized consumer drones. This article reports that a drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, which set off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. This drone is believed to have carried a ZMG-1 thermite grenade – composed of iron oxide (rust), and aluminium powder. This ammo dump is just 60 miles from the Russian/Ukrainian border. In fact, this isn’t the first time military bases in Ukraine have been hit by drones – a similar attempt occurred in December 2015, where drones dropped 14 grenades.

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