DJI Puts $145,000 Bounty on Drone Pilots Disrupting Flights

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The world’s leading drone manufacturer, DJI, is taking seriously drone pilots who are causing problems by flying near airports.

For example, in China’s Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, drones have caused over 100 planes to make unscheduled landings or returns, affecting over 10,000 passengers.

The bounty DJI is offering up to 1 million yuan for clues that help police crack down on those flying near airports.

Couple Arrested Over ‘Peeping Tom’ Drone Videos

Couple Arrested Over 'Peeping Tom' Drone Videos
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An Orem, Utah couple in their thirties has been charged with allegedly using their drone to take videos of people in their bedrooms and bathrooms, according to police in the area.

The couple, Aaron Dennis Foote, 39, and Terisha Lee Norviel, 34, were each charged with a class A misdemeanor for using a concealed or disguised electronic device to do voyeurism.

The couple found themselves in trouble after an Orem man saw the drone flying outside his bathroom window and chased it down in his truck until it landed in a parking lot.

When he looked at the SD card in the drone, he found several videos of people in their homes. There was also video of a person flying the drone, according to a police affidavit.

Orem police then put out a threatening Facebook post, but ended up locating the people charged by identifying a vehicle in some of the footage.

Dubai to Have Flying Driverless Cars This Summer

Dubai to Have Flying Driverless Cars This Summer
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In a few months, the UAE will have flying driverless cars, according to Dubai’s transport authority.

They’ve already done test runs for the autonomous aerial vehicles (AAV), made by Chinese firm Ehang.

The vehicles are Ehang 184s and can carry one pilot.

Top speed: 160kph
Flight time: 30 minutes
Ascending speed: 8 meters / second
Landing speed: 4 meters / second
Weight:250kg empty / 360kg with passenger
Max cruising height:3000 feet
Charging time:1-2 hours

“The AAV exhibited at the summit is not just a model; it is a real version that we have already experimented the vehicle in a flight in Dubai sky. The RTA is making every effort to start the operation of the AAV in July 2017,” said Mattar Al Tayer, the director general and chairman of the RTA.

Video of the Ehang 184 test

The RTA, in collaboration with the Chinese firm Ehang, has carried out the first test run of an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying a human, the Ehang 184, and the authority said it is set to launch operations very soon.

The flying car was exhibited at the World Government Summit in Dubai this week and the chief of the RTA said a summer start date for flights is envisioned.

“The AAV exhibited at the summit is not just a model; it is a real version that we have already experimented the vehicle in a flight in Dubai sky. The RTA is making every effort to start the operation of the AAV in July 2017,” said Mattar Al Tayer, the director general and chairman of the RTA.

The Ehang 184 is fitted with a touchscreen to the front of the passenger seat displaying a map of all destinations in the form of dots. It has preset routes and the passenger selects the intended destination. The vehicle will then start automatic operation, take off and cruise to the set destination before descending and landing in a specific spot. A ground-based centre will monitor and control the entire operation.

“The trial run of the first AAV is in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world,” said Mr Al Tayer

“It is also part of the RTA’s endeavors to provide self-driving transport through engaging in the technological tests of self-driving vehicles in a Dubai environment.

“It replicates Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total individual trips in Dubai into self-driving trips using various modes of transport by 2030,” added Mr Al Tayer.

“The step would also enhance the integration between public transport modes and people happiness through the provision of smooth, quick and innovative mobility.

“We have addressed the highest levels of security in the designing and manufacturing of the Ehang184. The vehicle is fitted with eight main propellers,” Mr Al Tayer said.

“In case of any failure in the first propeller, there would be seven other propellers ready to complete the flight and a smooth landing, while mitigating the impact of the fault sustained by the first propeller.”

Importantly, the vehicle has numerous basic systems all running independently, but at the same time, so that if something malfunctions a standby can take over.

“The AAV is designed to operate under all climatic conditions unless there is a thunderstorm. The vehicle is fitted with highly accurate sensors with a very low-error threshold and can resist vibrations and extreme temperatures,” said Mr Al Tayer.

“Dubai Civil Aviation Authority was a partner in our trials defining the safety criteria required, issuing the permits for trial and inspecting the vehicle, RTA appreciates their contribution.

“The 4G data network is used in communication between the AAV and the ground control center. The company had also provided the support needed to ensure the continued communication between the AAV and the control centre through M2M and LTE technologies,” he explained.

Birds 1 – Drones 0

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Over the past year, we have seen many drone-cam videos of birds of prey attacking UAVs, sometimes knocking them down. This week, a falcon in Dubai took a drone down as prey, reported The National.

The drone was flying above Jumeirah park when it was taken down by the raptor, whizzed to the ground and crashed. The bird followed it down, and was seen by park-goers guarding its prey.

A man who was concerned about what had happened went to investigate the garden into which it had crashed. The falcon was perched nearby, and after the two exchanged stares, the falcon flew over to perch on the drone.

The man, one Lukas Franciszek, posted the photo he took to social media.

The falcon flew away, and the owner is not yet known, although the bird was tagged.

It is suspected that the falcon may have associated the drone with food. Drones are used to train falcons: they lure birds in the air with dangling bundles of meat and feathers. After a bird tears this bundle off, it is typically rewarded as part of its training.

By Mike Weins