The 100 greatest innovations of 2017


We could say our 30th annual list of the most transformative products and discoveries required trucks full of experts, hours of toil, and countless friendship-ending debates. That's true, but you just want the good stuff. A robot just made me french fries. Delicious, they cooked for four minutes less than the instructions dictated. One minute less, they'd've been soggy.

Niger ambush details scarce as McCain suggests need for subpoena

FOX News

The ambush in Niger earlier this month that left four U.S. troops dead has been the subject of immense speculation, not only concerning President Trump's public response to the tragedy but also about what actually happened on the ground that day. Asked by Fox News on Capitol Hill if the administration has been forthcoming about the attack, Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., replied, "of course not" and added, "it may require a subpoena." Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the attack is under investigation. A dozen U.S. Army soldiers, mostly Green Berets, along with 30 Nigerians, traveled 125 miles north of Niger's capital, Niamey, in unarmored trucks on a routine mission and to meet with local village elders in Tonga Tonga, near the border with Mali, on Oct. 4. U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson was killed when his patrol was ambushed in Niger.

CNN Uses Vantage Robotics' Snap Drone to Win FAA Fly-Over-People Waiver

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's Small UAS Rule (also known as Part 107) has provisions to obtaining waivers to the usual requirements for flying drones in the United States. For example, you're not generally allowed to fly drones at night, although the FAA has granted quite a few waivers allowing flight after dark. But another rule is that you can't fly drones over people who are not part of your operations, and until about a week ago, the FAA hadn't waived that rule for anybody. Now it has, for CNN. The FAA is allowing the cable news network to use a drone to obtain video over uninvolved people, even crowds assembled at places like sporting events.

Amazon patents drone that can land on car to recharge it

Daily Mail

Are you considering buying an electric car, but have concerns about how you'll charge it while on the go? A new patent granted to Amazon might have the answer to this problem. The patent details a drone that can dock into electronic vehicles while they're moving to charge them. Pictured is an illustration from the patent file, showing an example of the drone docking system. The system would work by deploying a drone to connect to the docking mechanism, thereby allowing it to charge the vehicle while it's moving or stationary A new patent granted to Amazon details a system that would allow a drone to dock into electronic vehicles while they're moving in order to charge them.

What it takes to be a drone racer


One cold, dreary afternoon in 2014, Jordan Temkin took his drone to Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. He put on a pair of goggles that filled his view with the live video feed from the drone's tiny camera. He'd built the drone frame from scratch using a 3D printer, finishing it with parts he'd bought online. It took about a month for it to take off straight. Eventually, it could hover around his backyard, so one day he took it to the park and began gingerly flying around.

How researchers are using a drone to discover connected devices in Austin


Given the explosion of connected devices, also known as the Internet-of-things, it's natural that people would want to know just how many such devices are out there. But how do you go about figuring out just how many of these devices--like thermometers or light bulbs hooked to the Internet--are being used in a given city? The answer is apparently to enlist the services of a drone that can fly above the city proper and gather tons of data pertaining to the connected gadgets and appliances. A team of researchers at security company Praetorian wanted to discover how many IOT-friendly devices were being used in Austin, TX, and found that the best way to do so would be to outfit a drone with the company's custom built connected-device tracking appliance and have it fly over the city, Praetorian vice president of marketing Paul Jauregui told Fortune. Full how-to build guide coming soon!

IoT, Drones And AI: How Technology Can Help In Disaster Situations


The spate of natural disasters which have hit the U.S. has demonstrated that there is much that needs to be done when it comes to rescuing efforts, preventive measures, and other associated issues. Many tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have put in large-scale efforts in order to help people be safe during natural disasters, but the relevance of technology in such situations has been rapidly increasing. Technology can play a large role during natural disasters as has been demonstrated in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Experts from IEEE, the world's biggest technical professional organizations have in an email to the International Business Times, provided their opinions on the use of technology in natural disasters. Dr. Massoud Amin, IEEE fellow and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Minnesota, provided IBT with his take on one of the most important aspects of technology during natural disasters, stating that,"It [technology] enables better proactive planning, prepositioning of the assets and assists with more real-time recovery and restoration.

The LAPD will use drones—and people are pissed


Los Angeles' Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in "tactical missions" conducted by SWAT. The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement. As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.

CNN first to get FAA waiver to fly drones over crowds

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – CNN received a waiver allowing routine drone flights above crowds, a milestone for the industry seeking greater use of the remote-controlled devices for everything from insurance inspections to covering news. The approval is the first time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has granted a waiver for unlimited flights over people, the news network said in an emailed statement. The standards used in the application can be applied to other applicants, potentially opening vast new uses by the media and other industries for so-called unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. "This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN's UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large," said David Vigilante, senior vice president of legal affairs for CNN. The FAA currently prohibits drone flights overhead, although its regulations allow for waivers if applicants can show there's no risk of injury.

CNN gets the first FAA waiver to fly drones over crowds


The FAA finally passed a set of rules for commercial drone aviators back in August 2016, which included a formal restriction from flying over crowds of people. Given how valuable aerial footage from UAVs is, that's been a difficult regulation for news outlets to stomach. But today, the agency granted CNN the first waiver to these rules, allowing it to fly its drones over people. But they can't just fly any drone over crowds. The waiver applies only to a specific micro-vehicle, the 1.37-pound Snap UAS, which is'deformable' with enclosed rotors.