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With new investment, Boeing is trying to make drones a part of your life

October 19, 2017 - 4:05pm

Boeing has invested in a startup that's trying to make autonomous flight the next big thing. 

The company announced today that it has invested in Near Earth Autonomy, which develops technology for unmanned flying vehicles of all shapes and sizes — from drones to flying cars to commercial planes. 

The two companies have also announced a long-term product development partnership. Charles Toups, Boeing's vice president of Research and Technology, will join NEA's board. 

Sanjiv Singh, NEA's CEO and co-founder, told Mashable that Boeing's investment is part of a broader effort to create and promote an industry-wide standard for for autonomous flight. In Boeing's ideal future, every flying machine meets three goals: fly safely, land safely, and navigate without GPS.  Read more...

More about Drones, Plane, Flying, Boeing, and Helicopter

People aren't cool with the LAPD getting drones

October 18, 2017 - 4:12pm

Forget 2049. Los Angeles' Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. 

On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in "tactical missions" conducted by SWAT.

The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement.

SEE ALSO: Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts

As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.  Read more...

More about Privacy, Drones, Police, Surveillance, and Los Angeles

CNN plans to fly drones over crowds to capture news from above

October 18, 2017 - 3:20pm

CNN will soon be the flying news network. 

The company announced Wednesday that it had received a waiver form the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly a drone over crowds of people.

SEE ALSO: Police warn people on Facebook not to fly their drones near wildfires

The Part 107 waiver the company was granted means CNN will be able to fly a 1.37-pound Vantage Robotics Snap flying camera over crowds and at outdoor news events. This is a first-of-its kind approval for the cable news outlet, the company says.

CNN worked for more than two years with the robotics company to research and test the device's deployment. Last year the FAA granted a waiver for CNN to fly a tethered drone for newsgathering purposes. Read more...

More about Drones, Cnn, Faa, Newsgathering, and Business

Amazon patent shows how drones might some day charge your car

October 17, 2017 - 3:01pm

Your next electric car might be fueled up by drone. 

Amazon was granted a new patent earlier this month that was only recently spotted by Green Tech Media. The patent explains how Amazon drones might one day latch onto an electric vehicle and charge it while it's driving — a complicated balancing act between the car and the drone.

SEE ALSO: Amazon's new Echo Spot is here to replace your alarm clock

The drones could be fully autonomous, the patent claims, meaning that they would be able to plan and navigate their own routes without any human assistance. 

Image: USPTO

Here's how it would work: An electric vehicle would send a request for fuel on a network to which the drones are connected. The server would then select an available drone and assign it to meet the vehicle at a rendezvous point.  Read more...

More about Amazon, Drones, Tesla, Electric Cars, and Amazon Alexa

Only in Dubai—police now have hovercrafts

October 17, 2017 - 7:46am

As if a fleet of supercars wasn't enough, now Dubai police have hovercrafts. The police force will be adding this transport to their elaborate arsenal for emergency response whenever traffic is bad. The hovercrafts will give them the ability to bypass traffic effectively, reducing response time.  Read more...

More about Transportation, Mashable Video, Dubai, Flight, and Flying

Drone-delivered burritos are a real thing, at least for a lucky few

October 16, 2017 - 6:40pm

The future is here, and boy is it spicy. Alphabet's Project Wing announced Monday that it will start delivering burritos to hungry customers via drone. That's right, you can soon have heavenly manna slathered in Australian Jack cheese dropped right on your head — that is, if you happen to live in the outskirts of the Australian Capital Territory.

Project Wing, one of Alphabet's "moonshot factories" under the X umbrella, is testing delivery drones and has selected the relatively remote area for its latest voyage into the tinfoil-wrapped unknown. In addition to Mexican food from a chain, the company will also ferry medication on behalf of a pharmacy.  Read more...

More about Google, Australia, Drones, Alphabet, and Project Wing

Police warn people on Facebook not to fly their drones near wildfires

October 16, 2017 - 5:12pm

A drone flying near a wildfire in Northern California forced helicopters to stay grounded — and the California High Patrol (CHP) was not happy about it. 

On Sunday, it posted an all-uppercase warning to the public on Facebook: "FIRE FIGHTING PLANES CANNOT FLY IF YOUR DRONE IS IN THE AIR."

SEE ALSO: The science behind the fast-moving wildfires that are devastating California

Police found and cited a 24-year-old man for flying the drone, according to The Mercury News

The pilot had been flying the drone in the vicinity of Petaluma Municipal Airport, forcing air traffic controllers to ground all craft until the drone no longer posed a danger to helicopter blades and engines.  Read more...

More about Drones, Firefighters, Drone Footage, California Wildfires, and Federal Aviation Administration

Find Your Spark

October 16, 2017 - 12:56pm

Striking drone footage shows a postal worker delivering mail to homes destroyed by the California wildfires

October 12, 2017 - 12:11pm

In the midst of a destructive firestorm that's torn across parts of northern California this week, destroying homes and leaving at least 26 dead, photos and videos of flattened communities continue to emerge. 

Douglas Thron, an aerial videographer and photographer, shared distressing footage taken October 10th of a U.S. Postal Service worker delivering mail in a Santa Rosa neighborhood almost completely destroyed by the fires.

The video offers a clearer picture of what California residents have lost in the wake of the fires. It's a haunting and bizarre view of the current situation.

The fires began Sunday and have continued into Thursday, tearing through much of California's wine country. According to SFGate, at least 463 people are missing. Read more...

More about Watercooler, Climate, Science, Drones, and Culture

The 747 Supertanker is a firefighters dream

October 12, 2017 - 6:53am

The 747 Supertanker is an impressive chunk of fire fighting metal. It's literally 6 times more powerful than your average bomber. It hold's a massive amount of fire retardant and is ready to go at a moments notice. Read more...

More about Mashable Video, Flight, Hot, Plane, and Flying

It's been 3 months and the FAA still hasn't refunded my $5 drone registration fee

October 10, 2017 - 12:04pm
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Passenger Drone is a futuristic aircraft that has actually flown with passengers IRL

September 29, 2017 - 2:42pm

We've seen multiple flying car self-flying electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concepts lately, as short air travel has been tabbed as a next-gen solution for urban transportation issues. But many of those crafts are still in the early design stages.

The latest company to debut its designs for a flying machine is Passenger Drone, which emerged from a three-year-long stealth mode to show off its two-seater prototype. The craft is slightly bigger than a small car and boasts 16 individual electric engines and rotors for zero-emissions air travel. 

The start-up has an edge on some of its bigger and better-known competitors, which include established companies like Airbus and Uber. Unlike many other VTOL designs, Passenger Drone has lived up to its name, showing off footage of test flights with human passengers.  Read more...

More about Drones, Flying Cars, Vtol, Tech, and Energy

FAA just banned drones from flying near national landmarks

September 29, 2017 - 8:27am

The National Park Service prohibited drone flying inside its parks in 2014. Now, the federal government is banning drones from even getting near 10 specific landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore.

On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it will "restrict drone flights up to 400 feet" from the boundaries of this varied collection of national park monuments, historical parks, memorials, and other places such as dams. The new restrictions go into effect on Oct. 5, and the complete list can be found here.

SEE ALSO: A flying taxi has taken to the skies for the first time Read more...

More about Drones, National Park Service, National Parks, Law Enforcement, and National Landmark

A Russian weapons manufacturer built a legit hover bike

September 28, 2017 - 1:55pm

Kalashnikov Concern, the manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle and largest defense company in Russia, just tested a flying motorcycle. Read more...

More about Russia, Mashable Video, Military, Flying, and Hoverbike

Make all your Facebook friends jealous by posting drone videos from your next vacation

September 28, 2017 - 9:43am

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Personal drone technology is officially mainstream now, with uses ranging from fun to humanitarian. (You still can’t get your weed via drone though.) If you’ve wanted to get your hands on this fun new tech but have no idea where to start, this deluxe bundle from Amazon has everything you need to get flying. 

SEE ALSO: Size definitely doesn't matter when it comes to this high-flying mini drone

Probably the most ubiquitous (and often hilarious) use of personal drones is recording video. Whether you want sweeping aerial shots of your vacation or just like playing around with new gadgets, the DJI Mavic will meet your needs. It’s a small, portable drone (it folds up to the size of a water bottle) with excellent video quality. Just check out this footage.  Read more...

More about Drones, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Amazon, Shopping Solo, and Shopping Electronics

If you ever needed a flying robot in your home, well, you're in luck

September 27, 2017 - 11:33am

Aire is a new type of home security. Instead of multiple cameras covering different rooms, it's one camera flying throughout your home. Read more...

More about Tech, Technology, Security, Motion, and Flying

A flying taxi has taken to the skies for the first time

September 27, 2017 - 9:30am

Volocopter, the German company which is manufacturing Dubai's future flying-taxis, just had a successful first test flight.

The two-seat electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle flew for about five minutes at heights of around 200 meters, according to Reuters.

There were no passengers in the craft for the trial flight, which was attended by the city's transportation authorities and the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Read more...

More about Mashable Video, Dubai, Flight, Drone, and Urban Transport

The hype around this part drone, part light show is legit

September 27, 2017 - 6:53am

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, it’s hard to deny that toys that light up are just more fun. Drones that light up? Even better. You can 100 percent try this at home with the Odyssey Toys X-7 Microlite Microdrone. It’s just $29.99 — a savings of 69 percent off the regular price — and it's worth every penny.

The X-7 Microlite is designed with nighttime flying in mind, with fiber-optic LED lights that glow as they fly through the night. And it’s suitable for both outdoor and indoor flying, so you can take it inside if the neighbors start thinking they’re about to be abducted by aliens. Read more...

More about Drones, Drone, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Stackcommerce, and Shopping Solo

Medical delivery drones are coming to Switzerland

September 20, 2017 - 3:27pm

Next month, Switzerland's hospitals will be equipped with a potentially revolutionary autonomous drone delivery network. 

Healthcare providers and a Menlo Park, California company called Matternet have teamed up to implement the system across the country. And on Wednesday, Matternet announced that they had completed "the third and final technology component" to make their drone and information system a reality. 

SEE ALSO: Drones carried blood samples over the Arizona desert, and it could change the future of medicine

It's called the Matternet Station: a two square foot robotic drone loading dock and smart launching and landing pad that enables hospitals to quickly send and receive crucial medical samples and resources, all by drone. Read more...

More about Drones, Switzerland, Healthcare, Doctors Without Borders, and Blood Testing

Drones carried blood samples over the Arizona desert, and it could change the future of medicine

September 15, 2017 - 7:44am

Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine used drones to transfer human blood samples, traveling over 160 miles across the Arizona desert.

This is a new distance record for unmanned aircraft transportation of medical samples and it could improve the speed of the diagnoses for remote patients.  Read more...

More about Tech, Mashable Video, Drones, Medicine, and Medical