HuffPost reports on the growing use of drones by police departments to investigate car accidents. "For decades, police investigators at crash scenes used chalk marks, tape measures and roller-wheels to record measurements and skid marks to help them assess what happened. More recently, many have used a laser scanning tool to map the scene. But often, those measurements can take hours, during which lanes may need to be shut down or the road closed entirely, putting emergency responders and crash investigators in harm’s way near traffic whizzing past. Now, more police agencies are turning to drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, to do that work. Remote pilots send up the drones, which take high-resolution photos that are fed into a computer and run through software. That creates 3D models that piece everything together for investigators."
In a new report this week from the U.S. Department of Interior the Office of Aviation Services (OAS) announced a 25 percent reduction in drone incursions on wildfires as of last month. “Working closely together since 2015, the interagency community has created an effective public awareness campaign to educate the public about the dangers to firefighters and communities when civilian drones fly into wildfires,” said ADI Executive Director Jenny Rosenberg. The OAS has established notification protocols to ensure that sightings of drones near wildfires can easily be reported and thoroughly vetted once reported. The department has also established protocols to work with law enforcement to manage operators who continue to fly drones near wildfires.
WTKR reports on the potential of underwater drones. "The Navy's fleet of underwater ocean gliders is increasing, and the data they're collecting is critical for underwater forecasts that help with everything from diver safety to hurricane prediction. The Littoral Battlespace Sensing gliders are underwater unmanned systems that the Naval Oceanographic Office uses to collect environmental data like temperature, salinity, water clarity, and depth. In April of this year, the Naval Oceanographic Office had 50 ocean gliders patrolling at once, all under the command of military and civilian glider pilots at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi."
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on how police and fire departments are utilizing drone technology. "It provided an aerial view of the blaze, allowing firefighters to determine the most direct route to reach it, Sullivan said. A large TV monitor can broadcast the footage captured by the drones, allowing others to see the vantage point the pilot can see on a smaller monitor attached to the remote. The battalion chief was able to assess the fire and communicate with firefighters to 'put them right where they needed to be to make sure that fire was contained,' the sergeant said. Officials anticipate the drones will be used in other scenarios, such as crime scenes, search-and-rescue missions and SWAT incidents. The drones can be especially helpful when it is less practical or not possible to request the assistance of a sheriff’s helicopter crew, Sullivan said."
PBS News Hour highlights five drone projects that have positive impacts on society. "When we think of drones, we often first think of the military. Last month, Google decided to not renew a Pentagon contract for an artificial intelligence program that aims to categorize drone strike targets, under pressure from employees who found it unethical. But a report released by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics in June, called 'Drones in the Service of Society,' offers a closer look at the potential of drone use in humanitarian aid efforts. 'When we have natural disasters, starving people in conflict, or emergency need for medicines, drones can come to the rescue,' said co-author Noel Sharkey. Drones are being used to deliver blood to hospitals in Rwanda, monitor oil pipelines and fight wildfires in California."
The Times-Tribune highlights a local drone-photography company called Access Aerial. "On average, Deangelis estimates that Access Aerial services between 20 to 30 clients a year, some big and some small. His aerial photography packages start at about $150 and increase in price based on the scope of the project. Certain projects have gone on for years, with some of those larger undertakings creeping into the $15,000-plus price range. 'The barrier to entry has dropped, but I believe the quality of our work speaks for itself,' Deangelis said. 'At the end of the day, business is about client relationships. We’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years now. They come back to us when they need stuff and word of mouth spreads, and business grows.'"
CNBC reports on the growing use of drone technology in construction work. "Drones have taken over the role of cumbersome and expensive planes that previously handled on-site aerial photography. While the devices can be outfitted to handle more advanced jobs like mapping and thermal heat imaging, Moret said the majority of drone work is to take aerial site photographs. 'When trouble arises, something got covered up, or when conditions change and we have to look at where something was, picture is worth a thousand words--and a thousand dollars,' he added."
The Wall Street Journal published an article that highlights Cleveland Indians Pitcher Trevor Bauer's use of drone technology to help his pitching routine. "The idea behind my pitching repertoire is that I want to be able to attack batters on three different levels and I want every one of those pitches to look the exact same coming out of my hand before they all end up scattering to different parts of the strike zone. So I use an Edgertronic SC1 camera, which films up to 22,336 frames per second, to analyze how I release each pitch. I designed my two-seam, slider and change-up with it and I improved my curveball with it."
Ahead of Independence Day, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a safety reminder for drone operators. "As you celebrate the Independence Day holiday, keep safety in mind. Know the aviation safety rules while flying your drones and celebrating the 4th."
The Tampa Bay Times highlights a new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine that states safety regulators are hindering the spread of commericial drones by being too cautious about the risks. "The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine said in a report Monday that federal safety regulators need to balance the overall benefits of drones instead of treating them the same way that they oversee airliners. Academy experts said in a strongly worded report that the Federal Aviation Administration tilts against proposals for commercial uses of unmanned aircraft without considering their potential to reduce other risks and save lives. For example, they said, when drones are used to inspect cell-phone towers, it reduces the risk of making workers climb up the towers. The study on the FAA's work on integrating drones into the nation's airspace was requested by Congress last year."