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What if Amazon's delivery drones also provided security?


So imagine getting an alert that your Amazon package was just delivered -- by drone -- and that oh hey, by the way, it looks like someone broke into your house while you were gone, too. The company doesn’t have any drones dropping packages quite yet, but they outlined this idea of also providing “surveillance as a service” in a recently granted patent. But what about my privacy, you say? Yeah, they’ve got some provisions in there about editing images after the fact and using geo-fencing to keep their cameras off other houses. The idea seems to be that you’d pay for drone visits from their security service hourly, daily or weekly. Of course just because it’s in a patent doesn’t mean it’ll ever happen. But say it does… would you sign up?!

What you need to know:

  1. Amazon was recently granted a patent that included “surveillance as a service” when it comes to its drone program.

  2. They say their drones would keep an eye out for break-ins using night vision and microphones.

  3. Amazon wants to launch its Prime Air delivery drone service in the coming months.

Why should you care?

If this ever does come to fruition someday, maybe we would start subpoenaing drone footage from Amazon to help with a case!?





Military drones helping fight wildfires in California 


California state officials are trying to avoid another deadly and destructive fire season and they’re getting a lot of help from our favorite tool -- drones. We’re not talking about a DJI Phantom here but an MQ-9 Reaper, which is about the size of a small airplane. They can fly for about 22 hours and help fire managers quickly figure out where a fire is spreading and who needs to be evacuated. Pretty cool, right? Here’s the catch, though: Every time they’ve wanted to use the drones, state officials had to get special clearance from the Department of Defense, which could take several days. Now use of the drones is basically part of their standard operating procedure!

What you need to know:

  1. California state officials have been using military-style drones to help map fires and figure out how who needs to get evacuated.

  2. It could take several days to get permission from the Department of Defense every time they wanted to use one of the unmanned aircraft.

  3. Now they have blanket approval to use drones through the end of the year.

Why should you care?

Remember the 85 lives last year when the town of Paradise, California, was destroyed by wildfire? It was devastating and any step toward using technology to save more lives is a win in our book!





A cost-effective anti-drone technology for prisons?!


We all know the unmistakable sound of a drone as it approaches -- it’s like a swarm of a thousand bees hovering overhead and it’s that signature noise that is helping researchers develop new anti-drone tech. The setup’s pretty simple: a computer loaded with a learning algorithm and a microphone isolates the sound of a drone from background noise and sends an alert to an app, letting the user know that a drone is flying nearby. Researchers at Duke University are working with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and hope the tech will help crack down on contraband flying over prison walls. And get this -- The whole thing costs less than $1,000!

What you need to know:

  1. Researchers at Duke University are developing a system that will help prisons detect drones flying nearby.

  2. Prisoners have been using drones to smuggle in contraband for years now.

  3. The system uses a simple computer and microphone to isolate the sound a drone makes from background noise. It then sends an alert to officials using an app.

Why should you care?

This system would cost a fraction of the current anti-drone technology currently available on the market. This, of course, means even more agencies could have access to drone detection tech!






July 22-26

Integration of UAS into Law Enforcement Field Operations


Drone helps in the rescue of stranded kayakers


What used to take them up to two or three hours now only takes them a matter of minutes -- how cool is that?! A shoutout to our buddy Zach Kerndt with the Decorah Volunteer Fire Department. We spotted him in the news talking about how they use drones to rescue stranded kayakers on the river. This particular family -- ranging in age from 6 to 71 -- got stuck in a tree. It only took rescuers a couple of minutes to find them using their drone. Keep up the great work, guys!


Alright, folks -- that’s it! Hope you have a great week!

P.S. You digging Propellerheads? Yeah? Us, too! Why don't you forward it over to a buddy or encourage them to sign up here. We have a blast putting it together each week and the more the merrier!