Railway operators are concerned about the rail tracks, trains and are using UAV's to create an aerial plan of all trees within 60 meters of track, comprising hotspots which include mature trees. Earlier to keep the track and lines clear, a number of branches leaves and trees have already been cleared off. But if the trains are at an imminent risk, then clearing off the trees would take place. "Tree pruning and felling should be avoided at this time of year to avoid harming birds, and if it's emergency work for urgent safety reasons, then, of course, it needs to be done. Getting everyone home safe every day is our top priority," says one of the RSPB's spokesmen.
With backing from big broadcasters like ESPN and Sky Sports, drone racing is already making its mark on TV. The Drone Racing League's (DRL) inaugural five race season is now two races deep, having visited Miami and Los Angeles, but the company is already thinking ahead to next year's championship. After revealing that the UK would host its first professional drone race in 2017 back in September, the DRL today confirmed that the winner-takes-all season finale will be hosted at London's iconic Alexandra Palace on June 13th. Professional drone racing, if you're not aware, sees pilots compete in four "level" events that they hope will earn them enough points to qualify for the World Championship. Each racer is given a selection of custom-designed drones, which are crafted by DRL to ensure races focus on skill and not construction smarts, which beam back a first-person live feed to a VR-style headset.
Dubai has announced the first test flight for its taxi drone, which saw the driverless flying transport service hover around 200 metres above the ground during a five-minute flight. The taxi drone was designed by German company Volocopter, and resembles a two-seater helicopter topped by a hoop equipped with 18 propellers, designed for 30-minute flights at maximum. The drone also comes with back-up batteries, rotors, and two parachutes in case of flight failures, and would involve building "voloports" from where passengers would embark and disembark the service. The test flight took place as part of a ceremony for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Following the trial, Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter said the company plans to launch the flying taxi service within five years.
Verity Studios' Lucie drones alone completed more than 20,000 autonomous flights. A Synthetic Swarm of 99 Lucie micro drones started touring with Metallica (the tour is ongoing and was just announced the 5th highest grossing tour worldwide for 2017). Micro drones are now performing at Madison Square Garden as part of each New York Knicks home game -- the first resident drone show in a full-scale arena setting. Since early 2017, a drone swarm has been performing weekly on a first cruise ship. And micro drones performed thousands of flights at Changi Airport Singapore as part of its 2017 Christmas show.
A drone that can carry people will begin "regular operations" in Dubai from July, the head of the city's Roads and Transportation Agency has announced at the World Government Summit. The Chinese model eHang 184 has already had test flights, said Matt al-Tayer. The drone can carry one passenger weighing up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and has a 30 minute flight time. The passenger uses a touch screen to select a destination. There are no other controls inside the craft.