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Drone News Roundup: Drone Dogfights, Shark-Spotting Drones, Enhanced Search and Rescue Operations, and More

BY Tres Crow
12 June 2020

If you thought FPV racing was cool, wait until you get a load of FPV aerial drone battles! This week sees researchers, hobbyists, and deep thinkers finding unique ways for drones to be used in the field. Whether it’s strapping a NERF disc launcher onto a drone, or using AI to identify dangerous sharks in the Australian waters, drones are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and we’ve rounded up all these great stories for your weekend enjoyment.

Now, let’s start linking!

Drone Battles Could be the Next Big Thing

NERF drone

Image credit SHOUTS

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. As FPV racing continues to expand in popularity, VICE news caught up with a few friends in Brooklyn who have created custom nerf-disc-launching FPV drones that are capable of engaging in drone dogfights. Yes, aerial drone battles are now a thing, and the results are…pretty darn cool, honestly. While the current dogfight models are bespoke machines, NERF is already messing around with “armed” drones, so it looks like drone battles could be the next frontier of drone sports.

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Drones Starting to Identify Shark Species

UAV pilot looking for sharks in Australia

Image credit Manning River Times

Along with venomous snakes and gigantic, bird-eating spiders, sharks are kind of a problem in Australia. But the lifeguard company, Surf Life Saving NSW, in conjunction with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI), have just completed a 3-year trial run of AI-equipped drones designed to identify shark species in real-time. According to Surf Life Saving Chief Drone Pilot:

For the past three years, drone-based shark surveillance has been trialled to manually monitor NSW beaches. While research by DPI has found that drone surveillance is one of the most effective shark detection techniques, it is currently labour intensive and relies heavily on pilot skill and sometimes additional observers, to detect and identify species of marine life.

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FLIR DELTA Thermal Drone Scavenger Hunt

FLIR thermal imaging

Image credit Shutterstock

The thermal imaging leader, FLIR, has just started what they’re calling the FLIR Thermal Drone Scavenger Hunt quickfire event. Ending on July 6th, 2020, the scavenger hunt gives drone pilots with a FLIR camera the chance to win a free ITC sUAS Level I Class, a FLIR DELTA Challenge Coin, or a FLIR ONE Pro. And all you have to do is snap some pics and submit them. Check out the rules at the link below if you’d like to try your hand.

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Putting Drones to the 5G Test

Drones and 5G

Image credit IMT

A collection of industrialists, network operators, and research centers are starting the second year of 5G!Drones, a research project designed to test the efficacy of 5G for drone delivery services. IMT has a good interview with Adlen Ksentini, a researcher at one of the key project partners, EURECOM. Here Adlen explains the purpose of the project:

The aim is twofold. First, to test eight use cases for UAV services on 5G platforms located in Sophia Antipolis, Athens (Greece), Espoo and Oulu (Finland) to collect information that will allow us to validate the use of 5G for a wider roll-out of UAV services. And second, the project seeks to highlight the ways in which 5G must be improved to guarantee these services.

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AI and Drones Enhance Canadian Search and Rescue Operations

Search and Rescue drone usage

Image credit Kongsberg Geospatial

Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) are working with Kongsberg Geospatial and Larus Technologies on a new project funded by Public Safety Canada to develop new procedures for using Artificial Intelligence and drones to assist Search and Rescue efforts in remote communities in Canada.

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