US will test expanded drone use in 10 states

Engadget

The US government is making good on its promise to expand the use of drones. The Department of Transportation has named the 10 projects that will participate in its Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program, and they represent a wide swath of the country. Most of them are municipal or state government bodies, including the cities of Reno and San Diego, Memphis' County Airport Authority and the Transportation Departments for Kansas, North Carolina and North Dakota. However, the rest are notable: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma will be part of the program, as will the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Virginia Tech. Notably, Virginia Tech is working with Google's Project Wing drone delivery initiative as well as transportation and tech giants like Airbus, AT&T and Intel.


Drone Comes Within 200 Feet Of Passenger Jet Coming In To Land At LAX

Huffington Post - Tech news and opinion

"This is one more incident that could have brought down an airliner, and it's completely unacceptable," she said in a statement. Operators also must keep their drones away from other aircraft and groups of people. The FAA has received at least 42 reports of drones flying unsafely near LAX, the nation's second-busiest airport, since April 2014, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis last fall of federal data released by Feinstein. The data shows nearly 200 pilot reports of close encounters involving drones in California alone during the past two years, the most of any state, according to the Times. In a 2014 letter to the FAA, Feinstein cited three instances in which drones flew dangerously close to passenger planes near major airports -- two on the same day in May of that year at New York City's LaGuardia Airport and LAX, and another at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in March 2013.


Apple, Microsoft and Uber test drones approved but Amazon left out in cold

The Guardian

Apple, Intel, Microsoft and Uber will soon start flying drones for a range of tasks including food and package delivery, digital mapping and conducting surveillance as part of 10 pilot programmes approved Wednesday by the US government. The drone-testing projects have been given waivers for regulations that currently ban their use in the US and will be used to help the Federal Aviation Authority draw up suitable laws to govern the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for myriad tasks. "The enthusiastic response to our request for applications demonstrated the many innovative technological and operational solutions already on the horizon," said US transportation secretary Elaine Chao. Apple will be using drones to capture images of North Carolina with the state's Department of Transportation. Uber is working on air-taxi technology and will deliver food by drone in San Diego, California, because "we need flying burgers" said the company's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.


Maybe Drone Privacy Shouldn't Be a Federal Case

#artificialintelligence

Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's new drone rules went into effect. While many drone enthusiasts were pleased to see some long-awaited progress on this front, the folks at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., don't count in that group. They've been wrangling in court with the FAA over the lack of privacy safeguards in the new regulations--an issue that has dogged drone regulation for years. EPIC's lawyers contend that the FAA hasn't lived up to the mandate Congress set for it back in 2012 to create "comprehensive" regulations for the use of small drones. After all, how comprehensive can any set of drone regulations be if they ignore privacy issues?


Maybe Drone Privacy Shouldn't Be a Federal Case

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's new drone rules went into effect. While many drone enthusiasts were pleased to see some long-awaited progress on this front, the folks at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., don't count in that group. They've been wrangling in court with the FAA over the lack of privacy safeguards in the new regulations--an issue that has dogged drone regulation for years. EPIC's lawyers contend that the FAA hasn't lived up to the mandate Congress set for it back in 2012 to create "comprehensive" regulations for the use of small drones. After all, how comprehensive can any set of drone regulations be if they ignore privacy issues?