Former NASA engineer Mark Moore will now be working on Uber's flying car project, Uber Elevate. SAN FRANCISCO -- George Jetson, your ride is on its way. Uber has just hired a NASA expert to build out its vision for flying cars Monday. Mark Moore, a 30-year veteran of the space agency with expertise in using electric motors to get a vehicle airborne, will help the ride-hailing giant execute on an expansive white paper it released last fall on developing VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) vehicles. "Uber continues to see its role as a catalyst to the growing developing VTOL ecosystem," Nikhil Goel, Uber's head of product for advanced programs, said in a statement.
Some judges might think you're allowed to shoot down drones that encroach on your turf, but don't tell that to the Federal Aviation Administration. In response to Forbes' questions, the agency says that shooting down a drone is a federal crime. You're still damaging an aircraft, according to the FAA -- it's just that this one doesn't have a pilot onboard. You could face up to 20 years in prison as a result, which is bound to make you think twice about blasting that drone peeping at your backyard.
New rules governing the operation of drones, or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as they are formally called, in United States airspace came into effect Monday. Called Small UAS Rule (Part 107), they were finalized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June and cover operating rules for drones as well as regulations for their pilots, and apply to drones flown for both business and pleasure. Drones have been flying around even before Part 107 came into effect, with about 3,000 exemptions already handed out to businesses, but the new rules simplify the process of flying UAS legally. If your UAS weighs under 0.55 pounds or if you are flying it indoors only, you don't require any registration. If your drone is under 55 pounds in weight and you don't fly it at night or above 400 feet and you always keep it within line of sight, you have it simple.
The last time state lawmakers tried to place limits on drones in the skies above California, they were met with the veto of Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he did not want to create new crimes to enforce bans on the use of such devices. This year, the pushback to new rules is coming not from the governor but through the lobbying efforts of a budding industry that hopes to influence policy at the state Capitol and nationwide. As drones multiply in number and category, cities and states want to set boundaries. But drone manufacturers and associations this legislative session boosted their politicking, successfully beating back several bills they said would create a patchwork of laws that vary by state and hinder innovation. "We want to solve problems and address concerns, but to do it in a way that is constantly clear across the country," said Brendan Schulman, vice president of policy and legal affairs for DJI Technology Co., the world's largest drone maker.
In April, a group of Finnish farmers outfitted a spindly black drone with a remote-controlled chainsaw and filmed it decapitating snowmen. They called it "Killer Drone." More formally, it was a DJI S1000. This spring, marine biologists flew a drone over the Sea of Cortez to capture samples of the fluid sprayed from the blowholes of blue whales. It was a DJI Inspire 1.