Drones: AI-Alerts


UPS has won approval to run the first drone delivery airline in the US

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It will still be a while before you are able to order drone-delivered packages, however. The news: The Federal Aviation Administration has granted UPS's drone business a Part 135 certification, meaning it is treated as a full-fledged airline, able to operate as many drones in as many locations as it wishes (although there are a lot of obstacles and caveats before that can happen in reality). UPS has dubbed its new drone airline "UPS Flight Forward," and it's the first in the US to gain official recognition. Currently: UPS has been providing a drone delivery service at the WakeMed hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, since March, moving medical samples around the site about 10 times a day. This new certification means UPS can expand beyond this site.


India To Create A Country-Wide Digital Map Using Drones, AI and Big Data Analytics Insight

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India has commenced the project to map the country digitally with a resolution of 10cm via drones and disruptive technologies including AI and big data. The massive task was taken up by the Survey of India a few months ago. The Survey of India is a part of the Department of Science and Technology and has planned to complete the project in two years as stated by Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Department's Secretary. He also revealed that the Survey of India has been equipped with the latest technologies like drones, AI, big data analytics, image processing, and continuously operating reference system. After the completion of the project, the data will be made available to citizens and Gram Panchayats/local bodies.


Ex-Google worker fears 'killer robots' could cause mass atrocities

The Guardian

A new generation of autonomous weapons or "killer robots" could accidentally start a war or cause mass atrocities, a former top Google software engineer has warned. Laura Nolan, who resigned from Google last year in protest at being sent to work on a project to dramatically enhance US military drone technology, has called for all AI killing machines not operated by humans to be banned. Nolan said killer robots not guided by human remote control should be outlawed by the same type of international treaty that bans chemical weapons. Unlike drones, which are controlled by military teams often thousands of miles away from where the flying weapon is being deployed, Nolan said killer robots have the potential to do "calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for". Nolan, who has joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and has briefed UN diplomats in New York and Geneva over the dangers posed by autonomous weapons, said: "The likelihood of a disaster is in proportion to how many of these machines will be in a particular area at once. What you are looking at are possible atrocities and unlawful killings even under laws of warfare, especially if hundreds or thousands of these machines are deployed. "There could be large-scale accidents because these things will start to behave in unexpected ways.


Two Major Saudi Oil Installations Hit by Drone Strike, and U.S. Blames Iran

NYT > Middle East

Drone attacks claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels struck two key oil installations inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday, damaging facilities that process the vast majority of the country's crude output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies. The attacks immediately escalated tensions in the Persian Gulf amid a standoff between the United States and Iran, even as key questions remained unanswered -- where the drones were launched from, and how the Houthis managed to hit facilities deep in Saudi territory, some 500 miles from Yemeni soil. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind what he called "an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply" and asserted that there was "no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." He did not, however, specify an alternative launch site, and the Saudis themselves refrained from pointing the finger directly at Iran. President Trump condemned the attack in a phone call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and offered support for "Saudi Arabia's self defense," the White House said in a statement, adding that the United States "remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied."


Israel's shadow war with Iran bursts into the open

The Japan Times

JERUSALEM – The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Hezbollah-dominated southern Beirut. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to project strength three weeks before national elections, while Iran has taken a series of provocative actions in recent months aimed at pressuring European nations to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, vowed to retaliate after a drone crashed on the militant group's Beirut media office and another exploded midair early Sunday. Israeli forces along the border with Lebanon are on high alert, raising fears of a repeat of the 2006 war.


Amazon's self-driving delivery robots are coming to California

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

This undated photo provided by Amazon shows a self-driving delivery robot that Amazon is calling Scout. Amazon is expanding the use of its self-driving delivery robots to a second state. NEW YORK – Amazon's self-driving robots will be roaming the streets of another neighborhood. The online shopping giant said Tuesday that the six-wheeled robots, about the size of a smaller cooler, will begin delivering packages to customers in Irvine, California. It comes after Amazon began testing them in a suburb of Seattle at the beginning of the year.


The Skinny on Drones in Construction - Constructech

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Often construction CIOs and executives are leery of "shiny" toys that offer glitz, glam, and a lot of hype, but little tangible benefits and ROI (return on investment). Do drones fall in this category, or are they beginning to offer true benefits to construction beyond the cool factor? Certainly, the forecast for commercial-drones market is on the rise, with many analysts predicting further growth. Technavio, for instance, predicts the global commercial drones market is anticipated to grow 36% between 2018 and 2022. Reasons for this include increased applicability of commercial drones in various verticals and access to better data insights using commercial drones.


Trump says American warship destroyed 'hostile' Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - A U.S. warship on Thursday destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the ship, President Donald Trump said. The incident marked a new escalation of tensions between the countries less than one month after Iran downed an American drone in the same waterway and Trump came close to retaliating with a military strike. In remarks at the White House, Trump blamed Iran for a "provocative and hostile" action and said the U.S. responded in self-defense. He said the Navy's USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, took defensive action after the Iranian aircraft closed to within 1,000 yards of the ship and ignored multiple calls to stand down. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce," Trump said.


Amazon Explores Having Its Drones Provide 'Home Surveillance' For Customers

NPR Technology

Gur Kimchi, vice president of Prime Air, talks about Amazon's drone delivery service. Federal officials recently approved a patent for the company to explore allowing its drones to provide "home surveillance" for its customers. Gur Kimchi, vice president of Prime Air, talks about Amazon's drone delivery service. Federal officials recently approved a patent for the company to explore allowing its drones to provide "home surveillance" for its customers. Going on vacation and want some extra security around your home?


Airlines Divert Flights Around Iran After U.S. Drone Is Shot Down

NYT > Middle East

Several international airlines were diverting planes from flying over the Strait of Hormuz and parts of Iran on Friday, a day after the Iranian military shot down an American surveillance drone and the United States went to the brink of launching a retaliatory strike. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday that prohibited all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of "heightened military activities and increased political tensions." The agency said that flight operations in the area were prohibited "until further notice." United Airlines said in a statement that after a security assessment, it had suspended flights between Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and Mumbai, India, that typically fly through Iranian airspace. The German airline Lufthansa said in an emailed statement that its planes would not fly over the Strait of Hormuz and that the diversion area was likely to expand.