Whoops! Drone crashes into Apple's new "spaceship" headquarters building

Whoops! Drone crashes into Apple's new "spaceship" headquarters building

In my other life, I'm an Apple blogger and write about the world's largest technology company daily. On occasion, the worlds of Apple and drones collide, and in this case they literally collided. An unnamed drone pilot was using what appears to be a DJI Phantom 4 to overfly the new One Apple Park Way headquarters building in Cupertino, CA when the drone went out of control and tumbled down to the top of the building.

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Five Things To Do When The Weather Is Keeping Your Drone Grounded

Five Things To Do When The Weather Is Keeping Your Drone Grounded

It happens to all of us; you may have a nice patch of beautiful drone flying weather — even in mid-winter — and then things fall apart. The weather is too cold to fly in, the wind is too strong, the snow too deep, or a combination of all of the above. So what can you do to keep yourself from going crazy when you can’t fly your drone? Here are five ideas that can get you ready for the clear flying days ahead.

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MIT develops drones that can fly through forests, warehouses at high speed

MIT develops drones that can fly through forests, warehouses at high speed

With current technology, drones have a real problem flying in what are called "dense environments". Those dense environments are loaded with obstacles, and include places like forests and warehouses. Researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a new system called NanoMap that lets drones fly at 20 miles per hour through forests, quickly dodging obstacles while doing so.

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Police drones in Virginia foiled a "suicide by cop" attempt

Police drones in Virginia foiled a "suicide by cop" attempt

Every year, hundreds of people are fatally shot by police. A surprisingly large percentage of these shootings are traced to "suicide by cop" -- people who wish to commit suicide and want the police to kill them. In December of 2017, a suicidal Florida woman armed herself with a revolver and tried to provide Virginia police into killing her. What stopped the attempted suicide? De-escalation of the situation helped in part by two camera drones that kept an eye on the woman during a four-hour standoff.

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Intel flies 1,218 Shooting Star drones in Olympic opener aerial spectacular

Intel flies 1,218 Shooting Star drones in Olympic opener aerial spectacular

Olympic Games are usually pure spectacle, and nothing is more spectacular than the opening and closing ceremonies. At this year's Pyeongchang Winter Games, Intel set a record for the number of drones flying in sync by sending 1,218 of its Shooting Star drones into the air simultaneously to create lighted images of the Olympic Rings and various winter sports.

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Lithium Metal batteries could make longer drone flight times a reality

Lithium Metal batteries could make longer drone flight times a reality

At present, most consumer and professional drones use Li-ion (Lithium ion) battery packs to provide the energy to spin those props and power the electronics. Li-ion batteries are currently the state of the art, and offer enough energy density to provide drones with anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of flight time. Woburn, MA-based Solid Energy Systems (SES) is scheduled to launch the Athena line of Li-Metal (lithium metal) batteries for consumer electronics this year, providing much more power in a package the same size as current drone power packs.

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Twin Cities droners: US Bank Stadium is a TFR zone on Sunday during Super Bowl LII

Twin Cities droners: US Bank Stadium is a TFR zone on Sunday during Super Bowl LII

If you're thinking about flying your favorite drone near US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, think again. The FAA has deemed most of the airspace around the site of Super Bowl LII a temporary flight restriction (TFR) zone. TFRs like this are not unusual for big events like the Super Bowl, which attracts a number of visitors -- many of whom fly to the event in private aircraft. 

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Here's a job for a skilled drone pilot: Flight crew member for Airbus Zephyr HAPS

Here's a job for a skilled drone pilot: Flight crew member for Airbus Zephyr HAPS

Most drone pilots feel like they've really accomplished something when they do back to back 30-minute flights. How about operating an aircraft for weeks at a time? Airbus is looking for skilled pilots with a technical or aviation background to operate the Airbus Zephyr High-Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) as part of a flight campaign later this year. 

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DJI Mavic Air Details: Smaller, lighter, less expensive

DJI Mavic Air Details: Smaller, lighter, less expensive

To the surprise of almost nobody after yesterday's leak, DJI announced the Mavic Air this morning, a new $799 (base price) consumer/light pro quadcopter that packs most of the features of the Mavic Pro into a smaller, lighter and less expensive package. A "Fly More" package with 2 extra batteries, extra props and more will run $999. 

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I think we're a clone now: A first look at the Autel Robotics EVO

I think we're a clone now: A first look at the Autel Robotics EVO

This year's CES saw the usual parade of cheap toy drones, but it also saw the introduction of the first clone of DJI's Mavic Pro -- the Autel Robotics EVO. Expected to hit the market later this year at a $999 price point, the EVO definitely targets the Mavic Pro... so it will be interesting to see if DJI's announcement on January 23 puts the EVO back in the "close, but no cigar" range.

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GoPro Fusion VR Camera: Hands-on review of the new 360° camera

GoPro Fusion VR Camera: Hands-on review of the new 360° camera

I’m a very avid VR photographer who started by taking 360° spherical photos with iPhone apps, then moved to an iPhone-controlled Ricoh Theta S camera a few years ago. The photos and videos I have taken are quite popular; as a Google Street View photographer I have over 11.1 million views! But as a photographer I always strive to improve my imagery, and the Theta S had two issues — first, images always seemed to be low resolution and grainy, and second, in bright sunlight there’s always a bright purple-red lens flare. The quest for better 360° photos led me to the new GoPro Fusion (US$699.99).

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Police in Fort Collins, CO using drones for crash investigations

Police in Fort Collins, CO using drones for crash investigations

Police in Fort Collins, CO are using drones to speed up investigations of serious and fatal crashes. The program took off in August of 2017 and was used seven times during the remainder of the year.

Why use drones to do investigations? Before the drones were added to the toolbox of the Fort Collins police CRASH team, they had to close down roads to traffic for up to six hours as up to 150 yellow evidence tents were placed around the accident site and measurements were gathered between those markers. 

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Westpac Little Ripper drone saves two Aussie teens in surf rescue

Westpac Little Ripper drone saves two Aussie teens in surf rescue

This is very cool: the world's first surf rescue using a drone fitted with a flotation device has taken place In New South Wales, Australia, and we have video of the entire rescue.

The rescue took place at a Lennox Head beach, and happened literally minutes after three politicians -- Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, and Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin -- attended the launch of a state government trial of drone technology to aid lifeguards.

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