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Inspection drones buzz this airport (and the FAA is cool with it)

ZDNet

Since September 2018, FedEx has been inspecting its aircraft at a busy international airport using drones that normally wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the facility. Strict regulations prohibit drones from sharing airspace with planes, but a novel FAA pilot that includes FedEx, as well as drone companies such as DJI and Asylon, could change that in the future. Drone inspection has long been a hot area for enterprise drones, including in unexpected spaces, but this program is a real watershed in the FAA's evolving approach to drone regulation. I reached out to Joel Murdock, managing director at FedEx Express, for insights about the company's airport drone operations and what it means for the future of enterprise drones in sensitive areas, and he's optimistic. "We believe drones could help improve efficiencies around aircraft inspections and maintenance at our World Hub at Memphis International Airport," says Murdock, "and other airports around the country. We also believe drones can be used to supplement our existing airport perimeter surveillance and runway/taxiway FOD detection activities."


Avius Launches Gestures – Touchless Customer Feedback Technology

#artificialintelligence

Customers who wish to provide feedback at business no longer need to physically touch a survey screen. Avius, a leading tech company that provides real-time customer feedback solutions, launched Gestures, a touchless AI-powered thumbs up/thumbs down survey experience. The innovative technology has launched at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), the busiest airport in the world, and at LEGOLAND Florida. The pandemic has quickly created a new operating environment for businesses who are now more than ever embracing touchless technology. Avius predicted early on during the pandemic that touchless would play an important role in society moving forward.


Airlines look to help ailing industry with coronavirus testing at airports (but it's not a cure-all)

Los Angeles Times

Financially strapped airlines are pushing an idea intended to breathe new life into the travel industry: coronavirus tests that passengers can take before boarding a flight. Several airlines, including United, American, Hawaiian, JetBlue and Alaska, have announced plans to begin offering testing -- either kits mailed to a passenger's home or rapid tests taken at or near airports -- that would allow travelers to enter specific states and countries without having to quarantine. The tests will cost fliers $90 to $250, depending on the airline and the type of test. At Los Angeles International Airport, a design company has announced plans to convert cargo containers into a coronavirus testing facility with an on-site lab that can produce results in about two hours. On Thursday, Tampa International Airport began offering testing to all arriving and departing passengers on a walk-in basis. It's an idea that has gone global, with a trade group for the world's airlines calling on governments to create a testing standard for airline passengers as a way to fight the COVID-19 pandemic instead of using travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines.


Heathrow Airport brings in robots to fight coronavirus

BBC News

Previously used to tackle hospital acquired infections, the machines move through the airport terminals disinfecting high risk touch points like bathrooms and lifts.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


Researchers Use AI to Spot Drone Pilots

#artificialintelligence

Law enforcement and military personnel might finally have a way to track malicious drones and prevent millions of dollars in damage thanks to new artificial intelligence research. Academics at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a way to locate the operator of a drone by looking at how the airborne vehicle moves. Locating the pilots of malicious drones is a pressing issue. In December 2018, Gatwick Airport had to close its runways to avoid drones flying dangerously close. Officers believed that it was a deliberate attack on the airport.


US killing of Iran's Qassem Soleimani 'unlawful': UN expert

Al Jazeera

The US drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani was "unlawful", the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport. Soleimani was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago", Trump said at the time. Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. Callamard concluded that it was an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter.


Researchers learn how to pinpoint malicious drone operators

ZDNet

Researchers have come up with a way to pinpoint the location of drone operators seeking to cause harm or disruption in protected airspace. Simple steps can make the difference between losing your online accounts or maintaining what is now a precious commodity: Your privacy. In 2018, the chaos that can be caused by drone operators near sensitive areas -- such as military bases or airports -- was highlighted by the Gatwick drone incident, in which the UK airport was forced to close for 33 hours between December 19 and 21. The airport was inundated with passengers attempting to fly, made busier due to the Christmas rush, and had to cancel flight after flight due to a rogue unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In total, 140,000 passengers were impacted by a drone, or several, that were spotted at various locations including runways.


Artificial intelligence to be a seismic technology for aviation

#artificialintelligence

In all areas – efficiency and effectiveness, revenue generation, safety and security – AI has tremendous potential to deliver positive change if used correctly, details Ian Law, Chief Information Officer of San Francisco International Airport. As hubs of intense operational activity involving thousands of inter-dependent tasks, airports are ideal candidates for new technologies that improve the smooth flow of people, planes and bags. Artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game-changer for airports. However, without some (human) intelligent forethought, it also risks being a costly disappointment. The real value of AI will only come from a sector-wide focused collaboration, from which AI's cornerstone role tackling the sector's most intractable issues is evolved.


Tesla may build 12-seat electric VANS that zip passengers at 127 mph through an underground tunnel

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Tesla is developing its own electric van for zipping passengers through its underground'boring' tunnels. According to a report from The Mercury News, San Bernardino County Transportation Authority will work with Tesla - and its sister drilling company Boring Company - to develop a 12-seat electric van for transporting passengers through a nearly 3-mile tunnel. The vans will be used in a recently approved connector line between Rancho Cucamonga and the Ontario International Airport. Tesla may develop an electric van capable of caring passengers between a 3-mile underground tunnel connecting Rancho Cucamonga and the Ontario International Airport. in San Bernardino County. While plans originally called for specially designed cars, the $60 million project will use the vans instead to eventually carry 1,200 passengers per day or about 10 million per year according to The Mercury News.