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West Haven Fire Department receives drone donation

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West Haven Fire Department Center Fire Station Chief James O’Brien with the department’s new Autel EVOII drone.
West Haven Fire Department Center Fire Station Chief James O’Brien with the department’s new Autel EVOII drone.

Photo: Contributed Photo

Photo: Contributed Photo

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West Haven Fire Department Center Fire Station Chief James O’Brien with the department’s new Autel EVOII drone.
West Haven Fire Department Center Fire Station Chief James O’Brien with the department’s new Autel EVOII drone.

Photo: Contributed Photo

West Haven Fire Department receives drone donation

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WEST HAVEN — Residents gained another layer of police and fire protection recently, as the West Haven Fire Department received donation of a state-of-the-art drone to be shared among the city’s three fire stations and Police Department.

PropelUAS, a division of Evan Consulting, and the National Public Safety Drone Donation Program partnered to provide free drones to departments in need, and the West Haven Fire Department submitted a successful proposal.

Center Fire Station Chief James P. O’Brien said the technology advances rapidly and it’s a “tremendous tool” for fire service and police.

“We see the potential,” and have a good foundation after working with late Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith, who spearheaded a program a few years ago for his and other area departments, he said.

O’Brien said drones are helpful along the shoreline for search and rescue, for documenting the shoreline before and after storms ( …

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Agility of bees could inspire drones that squeeze through tight spaces

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Over many thousands of years, evolution has bestowed certain animals with some very clever capabilities, and robotics researchers are endlessly turning to these creatures as sources of inspiration. Of particular interest to scientists working on small, next-generation drones are flying insects such as bees, and a new understanding of the way these critters squeeze through tight spaces has one team from Australia’s University of New South Wales (UNSW) imagining how flying robots could be made to do the same thing.Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of interesting advances in drone research that have used bees as a starting point. Harvard’s RoboBee was the world’s first insect-sized winged robot to demonstrate controlled flight back in 2013, but recently learnt how to dive underwater and even blast its way out again. We’ve also seen researchers look to bees to improve obstacle avoidance in drones, and enable drones to assist with pollination efforts by covering them in sticky gel.The focus of the research from UNSW lies in the self-awareness of bumblebees as they move through the air. The team was interested in the way the insects are able to change their posture to fly through tight spaces, and do so in a way that demonstrates supreme awareness of their body shape and size.“Previous research had indicated that complex processes, such as the perception of self-size, were cognitively driven and present only in animals with large brains,” says Dr Sridhar Ravi, lead author of the research. “However, our research …

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Walmart, Intel to light up the sky with holiday drone light shows

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Retail giant Walmart has partnered with Intel to bring drone light shows to eight locations around the US after a very tough year. The drone light shows will be holiday-themed and will allow up to five people per car to attend.

The Walmart Holiday Drone Light Show is the latest way the company is working with drones to light up the lives of viewers. This year, Walmart has made the drone shows free, and as well as being live-streamed for those that don’t live nearby.
The drone shows will consist of 1,000 Intel drones flying around the sky in formation, creating holiday objects and shapes to classic Christmas soundtracks, including “Frosty the Snowman” by Bing Crosby and “Run Run Rudolph” by Kelly Clarkson.
William White, chief marketing officer at Walmart, said:

After a particularly tough year, we want to help families end the year looking up. We want customers and communities to enjoy a moment of rest, peace, and hope. From our summer movie drive-in to our fall gameday and Halloween experiences, we’ve been finding ways to help families enjoy seasonal traditions in a year when they thought it might not be possible.

Before the drones take flight, there will be various local DJs performing at each show, along with a short holiday special viewing of DreamWorks’ “Trolls Holiday.” Tickets are available to claim right now via the Walmart drone light show website and are expected to run out fast due to the free price tag. If you cannot …

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Biden’s pick for US spy chief played a central role in Obama’s secretive drone war that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths

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Human rights groups and progressives have expressed concern about President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.
Haines played a key role in the Obama administration’s controversial drone program, and critics have also zeroed in on her actions related to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. 
David Segal, executive director at Demand Progress, told Insider that Haines’ record is “incredibly concerning” and “must be reckoned with during the confirmation process.”
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden has received applause across the political spectrum over his picks for top foreign policy and national security roles in his incoming administration. But human rights groups and progressives have expressed concern about his choice for director of national intelligence (DNI), Avril Haines. Haines, a former deputy CIA director who would be the first woman to serve as the top US spy chief if confirmed, played a central role in crafting the legal framework surrounding the Obama administration’s controversial, secretive drone war.As a widely-cited 2013 Newsweek profile put it: “Haines was sometimes summoned in the middle of the night to weigh in on whether a suspected terrorist could be lawfully incinerated by a drone strike.””My concerns about her are more my concerns about the Obama administration,” Andrea J. Prasow, the deputy Washington director of Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times. “With these cabinet picks, we are returning to the previous administration instead of making bold and forward-leaning picks.”

But Prasow also praised Haines’ collegiality, saying …

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La Crosse Civil Air Patrol boasts first two CAP search and rescue drone pilots in state

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November 24, 2020 6:58 PM

Mike Tighe

Posted: November 24, 2020 6:58 PM

After extensive training, First Lt. Scott Munns and Capt. Roxanne Munns are qualified to use drones during search missions and disaster relief activities. (CAP photo)LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Two members of the La Crosse Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol may not be able to “touch the face of God,” as the poem goes, but they are flying high as the first two CAP search and rescue crone pilots in the state.Capt. Roxanne Munns and First Lt. Scott Munns now are qualified to use drones during search missions and disaster relief activities.Their training required many hours of study and practice to master the techniques of flying drones and how to deploy them to support search efforts and disaster relief operations. The Civil Air Patrol has begun using drones only within the past few years.“CAP has always provided state and local emergency managers with low-cost aerial search through our fixed-wing aircraft, and this is just another way we can continue to serve and help our local communities,” said Maj. Linda Zimmerman, commander of the squadron.The Munnses had to demonstrate that they can fly assigned missions to be certified as advanced drone pilots.The local squadron has a goal of having five trained drone search operators and acquiring drones for use in search and rescue. CAP’s national headquarters provides drones once enough pilots are trained, but units also can buy drones with donated funds.Anyone 16 or older can …

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Insane drone video reveals huge hammerhead shark circling clueless swimmer in Florida

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Everyone knows sharks fill the water off Florida’s coast and many choose to get in the water anyway.What you might not expect to find though is a 10-foot long hammerhead shark circling an unsuspecting swimmer.A drone video taken by Jason McIntosh on Nov. 15 in Miami Beach, Florida shows just that.[TRENDING: Hundreds line up for free turkeys | COVID-19 vaccine FAQs | 11 things to be thankful for during pandemic]If you were already afraid of going into the ocean you really won’t want to get in after watching this video.The terrifying video captured the giant creature circling in shallow water just below a man that is clueless about what’s happening below him.McIntosh who said he had no way to warn the swimmer told Jam Press, “I’ve seen hammerheads out there in the shoreline before. But my eyes lit up when I saw the guy floating backwards swimming with the shark starting to circle him.”According to McIntosh, the shark swam off eventually and the swimmer was unharmed.Who’s ready to take a dip?

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How Verge Aero’s drones pulled off an Election Day win as big as Biden’s

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Carlye Wisel
Contributor

Carlye Wisel is a theme park journalist reporting on everything from Mickey Mouse weddings to mid-pandemic roller coaster rides. Her podcast, Very Amusing with Carlye Wisel, explores untold stories and secrets behind how experiences are created at Disney and Universal theme park resorts.

2020 has felt excessively long, and Election Day was no different. A drawn-out, five-day statistics exam for the nation, the process of naming our 46th president was met with exhaustion and, for many, elation when Joe Biden finally took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, to deliver his acceptance speech. The speech would have been the most noteworthy moment of the evening if only there hadn’t been that drone show, wowing both America and Biden himself, whose wide-eyed look of awe was immediately meme-ified.
The patriotic display was the work of Verge Aero, a small Philadelphia-based startup with six employees that’s pulled in pretty big clients, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Microsoft and, now, the crowning achievement for President-elect Biden’s campaign. With software and drones designed in-house specifically for light-show entertainment purposes, Verge Aero not only cornered the market on making impressive displays more accessible, but gave many who watched at home their first look at the precision of modern aerial imagery.
Verge Aero CEO Nils Thorjussen, an industry leader with a background in developing lighting solutions, led his team on three years of research and development to simplify and perfect the drone light show process. By building everything in-house, the company emerged with …

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10 Drone Companies Receive Airworthiness Criteria from FAA

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Ten unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) received airworthiness criteria for certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the next step towards integrating small UAS into the national airspace.

Ten unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) received airworthiness criteria for certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the next step towards integrating small UAS into the national airspace, according to a Nov. 23 press release.
The UAS given special class aircraft criteria for airworthiness certification are all electric, range from five to 89 pounds, and include fixed-wing and rotorcraft. The 10 applicants recognized by the FAA include 3D Robotics, Airobotics, Amazon, Flirtey, Flytrex, Matternet, Percepto, Telegrid, Wingcopter, and Zipline.

“The development of airworthy, durable, and reliable unmanned aircraft is a crucial step forward for this innovative sector,” Dr. Michael C. Romanowski, director of Aircraft Certification Service Policy and Innovation, said in a press statement. “Type certification will help increase both public and regulatory confidence in drone technology as operations become more advanced.”
The criteria released by the FAA for UAS is unlike traditional type certification because it certifies the system by looking at performance and risk calibration, Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, told Avionics International.
“What it really means is rather than certifying every nut and bolt and component, let’s just treat the system as a system and say look if you say the system does X, prove it does X, build up enough statistical power over thousands of flights that we’re confident that it really does X, then we don’t really care what’s …

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UK Military Could Have ‘Drone Swarms’ Ready by Middle of Next Year

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The UK military could have “drone swarm” units by the middle of next year to perform tasks including suicide missions inside enemy lines and overwhelming adversary air defenses, Ian Williams-Wynn, Managing Director of drone manufacturer Blue Bear, revealed to the Telegraph.
The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) has invested 4 million pounds ($5.3 million) in the Bedfordshire drone manufacturer for the project, William-Wynn told the paper.
The company has matched the MoD’s funding and the UK military could now get a battery of 20 network-enabled drones for around 5 million pounds ($6.6 million) in six months, he explained.
The concept of “swarm drones” includes the deployment of multiple units of small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to overwhelm enemy air defenses, conduct cyber-attacks, and provide live images to control centers located thousands of miles away from the operational area.
Former Defense Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced in February last year that the “drone swarm” units would be deployed in the armed forces by the end of 2019.
Pandemic Delayed Project
The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) 216 squadron based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire was reportedly reactivated in April with the task of testing future “drone swarm” capability.
The task, however, reportedly got overshadowed by the MoD’s changed priorities in the light of the pandemic.
The squadron is now working with the RAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office to bring experimental concepts into military service as quickly as possible.
Fighter Jet Mission Assistance
The primary task of the swarm capability is to confuse enemy air defenses and infrastructure …

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