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Updated: 10 hours 36 min ago

Hero with a drone spots a shark circling below 3 oblivious surfers

April 26, 2017 - 1:00pm

Photographer David Finlay was flying his drone and checking out the scenery at a Kiama beach in Australia on Monday — as you do — when he noticed something circling below a group of surfers hanging out in the water. 

Cue Jaws music.

"There's a shark right under the surface," Finlay can be heard saying in the clip. 

The surfers were completely oblivious to what was happening under the water. Thankfully, Finlay was there with a birds-eye-view (captured in this pretty mesmerizing video) and informed the beach's lifeguards that there were sharks in the water. Read more...

More about Drones, Viral Videos, Sharks, Surfing, and Watercooler

Grand Canyon National Park uses drones to search for hikers for the first time

April 24, 2017 - 3:21pm

Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park understand search and rescue is part of the job. They ran 293 such operations last year. But none of those used drones in an attempt to find missing hikers.

Park officials sent drones into the air above and inside the canyon this past week for the first time in an attempt to find LouAnn Merrell and her step grandson Jackson Standefer. They disappeared earlier this month while crossing a creek on a hike with family members, according to the Associated Press.

SEE ALSO: How Manhattan Would Look Inside the Grand Canyon

While several national parks use drones for research, Grand Canyon National Park is the only one with a team of drones for search and rescue operations. The park has five such drones and four people able to fly them. The drones are around 1.5 feet wide, less than a foot tall, and and their batteries only keep them afloat for 20 minutes, but they stream video back to operators in real time. (We contacted Grand Canyon National Park to find out more about the operation but have yet to hear back.) Read more...

More about Search And Rescue, Grand Canyon, Drones, and Tech

A group of 4 drones grounded 60 flights in a day, leaving 10,000 passengers stranded

April 24, 2017 - 1:24am

An illegal flying stunt of a group of four drones caused more than 60 flights to get disrupted on Friday — the third such incident in a week.

More than 10,000 passengers were left stranded, as a result.

SEE ALSO: Drones are smuggling so much contraband into prisons that the UK created a 'squad'

According to a report by China News Service, Chengdu's Shuangliu International Airport received reports of four drones flying within the protected zone of the airport, with one even passing below an incoming flight.

Some 58 flights ended up getting diverted to other nearby airports, with four others forced to return, and more than 10 cancelled, on the day. Read more...

More about Uavs, Drones, Airport, China, and World

9 incredible ways we're using drones for social good

April 23, 2017 - 7:51am

When it comes to alleviating some of the world's most pressing problems, perhaps we should look to the skies.

The word "drone" might inspire images of counterterrorism strikes and the future of package delivery. But quadcopters and other autonomous flying vehicles are revolutionizing the ways we tackle the biggest social and environmental issues of our time.

SEE ALSO: 8 innovations helping homeless populations around the world

While there are definite drawbacks to using drones in this capacity — problems of privacy, ethics, and cost among them — the technology, when executed responsibly, helps aid organizations, scientists, and everyday citizens transform the act of doing good.  Read more...

More about Poaching, Conservation, Animal Welfare, Pollution, and Climate

Stunning drone footage captures rare video of blue whales feeding

April 19, 2017 - 9:07am

One small flight for drones has the potential to be one giant step for science ... just ask researchers at Oregon State University.

A group of scientists at the university recently captured rare footage of blue whales feeding in the Southern Ocean off New Zealand via drone.

The stunning footage, narrated by Leigh G. Torres, expedition leader and principal investigator with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State, provides a great deal of insight into what whales eat and how they decide what food is worthy of their time.

SEE ALSO: Serene underwater footage shows whale's-eye view of Antarctica Read more...

More about Blue Whale, Whales, Climate, World, and Science

This magician can effortlessly control 8 drones at once — or can he?

April 18, 2017 - 8:38am

Is it possible to create illusions in a world where technology makes anything possible?

It's the question tech-magician Marco Tempest asks and answers in his mesmerizing mini-drone swarm video.

Tempest, who has been making magic with everything from Apple iPads to robots for years, took eight $120 Parrot drones and some technology from Dronsis to create the illusion that he can control a drone swarm with gestures and voice. This is Tempest's second foray into drone control and easily his most effective.

The tiny drones, which dance around Tempest and appear to respond to his commands, also take on a personality. They even appear to trade LED lights. Tempest notes that humans can't help but anthropomorphize technology when it does things that appear to go beyond standard gadget abilities. Read more...

More about Marco Tempest, Magic, Drones, and Tech

Marines are trying out a throwaway delivery drone

April 17, 2017 - 5:15pm

The U.S. Marine Corps is reportedly testing an innovative new way of getting care packages to its troops in the field: disposable drones.

The Tactical Air Delivery gliders, as they're calling them, would be able to deliver up to 700 pounds of food and other supplies, according to IEEE Spectrum. They can then be left to rot where they landed.

The technology could also be used for a variety of applications outside the military, for example in fire fighting or search and rescue.

SEE ALSO: Drones and UAVs are going to help inspect our subway tunnels

Dropped from a height dozens of miles away, the drones would use basic GPS to float to within an easily walkable distance of wherever they are needed. Marines could then take apart the drone to get after what's inside, and leave the casing where it landed.  Read more...

More about Delivery, Disposable, Military, Marines, and Drones

Drones are smuggling so much contraband into prisons that the UK created a 'squad'

April 17, 2017 - 9:15am

To keep contraband out of prisons, the United Kingdom wants drones out of the sky.

The nation announced a new "squad" on Monday that will trace captured drones back to their owners – something like a group of detectives.

SEE ALSO: Use Jedi mind tricks to command this drone

Working with "national law enforcement agencies and HM Prison and Probation Service," the new squad will try to match captured drones with their owners so they can figure out who is trying to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other items over prison walls. Smugglers used drones to get contraband over prison walls 33 times in 2015 compared with just two times in 2014 and none in 2013, according to the Press Association. Read more...

More about Prison, Drugs, Smuggling, United Kingdom, and Drones

Apple could soon make selfies way more noisy

April 12, 2017 - 5:53pm

What's more annoying than a selfie stick?

Selfie drones, which are rapidly becoming more affordable, lighter, and easier to use—and, as of April 12, available in Apple stores around the country. 

SEE ALSO: Drone crashes through woman's apartment window

Why would this method of self-documentation be more irksome than oblivious tourists flailing about with selfie sticks? One word: noise. 

Yes, in malls across America, Apple will be conducting in-store demos to promote the Hover Camera Passport Drone, which buzzes much more loudly than a selfie stick

As the name implies, selfie drones are a class of aerial products designed to hover near the owner while filming and taking still photos. The Hover, pictured above, is a relatively slick entrant to the field. It can lock on a specific person's face and follow that individual for up to 10 minutes.  Read more...

More about Apple Stores, Selfie Drone, Selfie Stick, Selfie, and Drones

Engineering students make kids' dream Lego creations come true

April 7, 2017 - 3:23am

If you could build anything, what would you make?

For a bunch of kids gathered by Lego, that dream object was a cloud capable of following them and raining candy down wherever they went (of course).

A group of aeronautical engineering students from Singapore Polytechnic managed to make this dream come true. With a customised drone-powered cotton wool cloud, they debuted the creation to the kids, who couldn't believe it when the hatch opened and candy poured out.

Just look at those faces light up!

More about Kids, Drones, Singapore, Lego, and Watercooler

Police drones will watch over runners at this year's Boston Marathon

April 6, 2017 - 1:36pm

Two drones will buzz above a sea of 30,000 runners at this year's Boston Marathon. 

They'll hover more than a football field's distance above the starting line during the race, which takes place on April 17, and transmit surveillance video to different public safety stations.

SEE ALSO: Forget taxis; Dubai wants to fly you around in passenger drones

Security has been a primary focus of race organizers since the blasts at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 260 others. 

“It’s really something new we’re going to be using where we have a very dense population of people between the village and the start line,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz.  Read more...

More about Surveillance, Police, Boston Marathon, Drones, and Tech

This giant Verizon drone is designed to give you internet service after disasters

April 6, 2017 - 1:01pm

When you're struggling to find a 4G LTE connection after a nasty storm in the future, you might be able to depend on some extra air support for coverage — at least if you're on Verizon's network.

The carrier announced it recently tested a drone-based "flying cell-site" system for expanded air network coverage in emergency situations when power grids are knocked out. It's the second time Verizon has taken to the skies with LTE-enabled drones — last October, the company successfully tested the airborne system in different conditions.          

SEE ALSO: Do we need another wireless carrier? Who cares! Comcast is here anyways. Read more...

More about Drones, Coverage, 4g, Verizon, and Tech

Drone footage of an active volcano in Italy looks straight out of Mordor

April 4, 2017 - 12:27pm

Lava just keeps flowing from Italy's Mount Etna, making for some spectacular viewing. 

Renewed eruption activity in late March sent rivers of fiery red rock spewing down the Sicilian volcano. Mount Etna first became active in late January and has experienced eruptions ever since.

SEE ALSO: Watch this Mexican volcano blow some serious smoke

Cory Turner, a U.S. Air Force member stationed in Sicily, captured the dramatic show over several weeks using a camera-carrying drone. 

A recent eruption in mid-March caused an explosion when the lava hit the snow, injuring 10 people and catching groups of tourists by surprise. Read more...

More about Drone Footage, Drones, Lava Flow, Lava, and Volcanoes

Drone footage gives you a breathtaking glimpse of Apple campus

April 3, 2017 - 8:44am

Thanks to drones, we now have footage of a nearly completed Apple Park — Apple's brand new 175-acre campus in Silicon Valley, envisioned by the company's late co-founder, Steve Jobs.

Back in February it was announced that the campus would be opening to employees some time in April, but as we wait for the big day to arrive, this stunning footage offers an updated look at the massive, spaceship-like structure and construction process.

Check out the birds-eye view and see if you can spot the The Steve Jobs Theater — a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder with a metallic carbon-fiber roof. Read more...

More about Drone Footage, Drones, Videos, Conversations, and Campus

Police drones with lethal weapons are one step closer to reality

March 31, 2017 - 1:48pm

From the department of Things That Would  Make A Terrifying Black Mirror Episode: Connecticut lawmakers want police to be able to arm their drones with lethal weapons.

This would be a United States first. Connecticut lawmakers have introduced a bill that basically lets police, and nobody else, shoot bullets from drones so long as they follow certain rules that are TBD. The guidelines would reportedly be developed by Connecticut's Police Officer Standards and Training Council. 

SEE ALSO: Insane drone footage shows massive damage and flooding at California's Oroville Dam

While Connecticut makes moves to let police weaponize drones, other states such as Virginia and Maine have banned the practiceNorth Dakota allows police drones to use "less lethal" weapons such as stun guns. Read more...

More about Weapons, Police, Drones, and Tech

Apple finally approved an app that tracks drone strikes, then abruptly deleted it

March 28, 2017 - 12:05pm

Five years ago, Josh Begley, a data artist and editor at The Intercept, created a straightforward news app for iOS. It sent a push notification to your device each time a U.S. drone strike was reported by a news outlet. 

SEE ALSO: Here’s how you create echo chambers on Facebook

There's a map that shows you where the drone strikes occurred and a log that keeps track of each one. That's it. No pictures, no interviews. 

And yet, it was censored by Apple for years.  Begley attempted to bring Metadata+, which was originally called Drones+, to the App Store a dozen times. 

It finally became available for download on Tuesday, and then was abruptly removed again five hours later. Begley received an email from Apple Tuesday afternoon, notifying him that his app was removed for containing content that "many users would find objectionable." Read more...

More about App Store, Apps And Software, Apple, Middle East, and Drone Strikes

NATO stocks up on data-sucking surveillance drones

March 27, 2017 - 10:20am

NATO wants more data-sucking surveillance drones.

The alliance is buying five Global Hawk surveillance drones, according to The Wall Street Journal. They'll be based in Italy, and the first one will begin flying around either later this year or early next. 

SEE ALSO: Forget taxis; Dubai wants to fly you around in passenger drones

While it's a bit unclear how those surveillance drones will be used, there is a chance they will be deployed in Eastern Europe. NATO has recently sent more troops to places such as Poland, as Russian-backed separatists continue to battle Ukrainian troops in Ukraine. Surveillance drones are often used to monitor the locations of troops or anything of interest, and could — theoretically — help NATO gather information along the alliance's border with Russia, whose government detests NATO.  Read more...

More about Data, Surveillance, Drones, Nato, and Tech

Watch the moment an Amazon drone delivers sunscreen for the first time

March 24, 2017 - 8:12am

Amazon has taken another small autonomous step toward drone delivery. 

The company completed its first public United States delivery using one of its Prime Air delivery drones at a robotics conference in California on Monday, within the airspace of the Palm Springs Airport.

SEE ALSO: Forget taxis; Dubai wants to fly you around in passenger drones

The drone lands in a field, drops off a four-plus pound box of sunscreen bottles, and buzzes back up into the sky.

Amazon's first drone delivery took place late last year in the United Kingdom, where regulations are a bit more drone-friendly. The drone delivered an Amazon Fire TV and a bag of popcorn.  Read more...

More about First, Prime, Delivery, Amazon, and Drones

Future of farming: smart autonomous drones with eyes on the field

March 24, 2017 - 2:23am

Farmers have another tool to help them in the field.

With smartphones in hand, tech-savvy farmers are able to fly heavy duty drones out to do everything from crop dusting to surveying the health of the plants.

SEE ALSO: Passenger drones will start flying for real in summer 2017

And with smarter software, drones can do more autonomously, making the process more efficient and at far lower cost than hiring a specialised pilot to man an aircraft over the fields.

While makers have offered agriculture drones to the market for two decades now, adoption is tiny, according to Xaircraft, a Chinese maker that's starting to expand into the U.S. Read more...

More about Uav, Drones, Poladrone, Xaircraft, and China

Drone versus a flying boomerang in accidental mid-air collision

March 23, 2017 - 10:18pm

If you've ever seen Indigenous Australia's most-famed hunting weapon, the boomerang, you'll know it's a solid piece of wood that can really pack a punch if it manages to hit you. They're meant to be for knocking down mammals, after all.

Drones are surprisingly resistant to a boomerang hits though, at least the one in this YouTube video by Dronegear. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro manages to take the whack of the weapon, which actually breaks. 

The drone is disturbed from its original position by the whack, but finds its wings again pretty quickly. Still — good luck going up against those eagles. Read more...

More about Video, Videos, Drone Footage, Drone, and Drones