Dave Giles's Posts (11)

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A $50 Syma X5C toy quadcopter meets a homeowner's shotgun.

From Inside Edition (You must visit the Inside Edition link for the video which is only a viewable after being forced to watch a horror movie trailer.)

One video shows a drone hovering over a beautiful home in Southern California and you won't believe what happened!

The homeowner ran out of his front door with a shotgun!

The drone flew away with the guy in hot pursuit. His friend was recording cell phone video of the wild chase.

The homeowner ran around his house, spotted the drone again, took aim, and fired. 

Larry Breaux of Valencia, California, is the homeowner who shot down the drone. He told INSIDE EDITION he believes the drone was sent over his house in a deliberate act of harassment. 

He told INSIDE EDITION, "I get an anonymous phone call on my answering machine, 'Hey, get rid of your eyesore sign or you won't have any privacy.'"

The sign is at the entrance of his property and it advertises a Kickstarter campaign to save money for an organic lemon business he wants to start. 

INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret asked Breaux, "Do you believe that your neighbors are upset because you have that sign out there?"

He responded, "I believe one of them is."

Breaux showed us how he was sitting next to a shotgun he uses to scare off coyotes when he saw the drone hovering outside his window. 

Breaux told INSIDE EDITION, "I throw my cell phone to my friend, 'Hey, videotape me.'"

He said he couldn't get a shot off at first because the shotgun was on safety, but when he turned the corner, he managed to bring down the drone with a single shot.

Somehow Larry's shot missed the computer chip that was recording video. 

Breaux believes the person controlling the drone was standing on top of the hill which is on Larry's property, and when he shot the drone out of the sky, he heard that person start to yell. 

He showed us what could be a figure in the distance, but it's impossible to tell for sure. 

Breaux says he never found the owner of the drone and hasn't reported the incident to the police. 

The video is dramatic for sure, maybe almost too dramatic, and now we wonder if it was a set up for his Kickstarter campaign, which is soliciting donations online for his organic lemon business.

So, we had to ask, "What do you want to say to those folks who think you did this for publicity?"

He responded, "All I can say is its a true story and I've got the raw video on my phone but not on the drone, and it's just a freak thing that the chips survived."

Breaux has a Kickstarter page, showing he has raised a little over 400 dollars of the 60,000 he needs to start his organic lemon business. 

His Kickstarter campaign utilizes drone video that looks awfully familiar to the video in question.

Jim Moret asked, "You don't own your own drone?"

He replied, "No, never have."

So, you be the judge. Is this a case of man versus drone - or something else?

Jim Moret concluded by asking, "Just for the record, you did not shoot your own drone out of the sky?"

He said, "I did not shoot my own drone out of the sky."

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drone-carrying-asparagus-netherlands.jpg?width=736April 14, 2015 From International Business Times

A publicity stunt that involved using a consumer quadcopter drone to deliver vegetables to a restaurant in the Netherlands has literally crashed and burned.

The De Zwann Michelin-starred restaurant in Etten-Leur, North Brabant in the Netherlands always puts on an exciting publicity stunt to mark the beginning of the asparagus season.

In previous years, owner Ronald Peijenburg has used everything from a Formula 1 racing car to a hot air balloon and a helicopter to deliver the very first asparagus of the season, and this year he wanted to try flying a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Initially the journey from the asparagus farm started well, with the drone taking off carrying a metal can consisting of several asparagus stalks. In the interest of safety, the pilot followed in the back of a small pick-up truck, so the drone was always in line-of-sight, with the stunt being filmed by a local TV channel.

The drone landed safely during the journey to get its battery changed before taking off again, however, on the second take off, the drone crashed onto a thankfully quiet country road, and both the drone and the asparagus it was carrying went up in flames.

"Yeah, that wasn't funny. You think you have a cool idea – with a drone – how original can you be? Picking up asparagus with a drone," Peijenburg told Netherlands regional broadcaster Omroep Brabant after the drone crashed.

"This is very, very sad because it was an amateur pilot, the owner of the drone, who organised this especially for me and brings his own toys. So this wasn't supposed to happen of course."

Nevertheless, the first asparagus of the season was still delivered by more traditional methods to the restaurant and is now on the menu.

People in various fields have been trying out many different use cases for drones – some that work, and some not so much. In July 2014, a drone operator lent his UAV to the hunt for a missing elderly man in Wisconsin and was able to find him within 20 minutes after an unsuccessful three-day police hunt.

Meanwhile in February, a restaurant chain in Singapore announced that it will be using drones to ease the load on its waiters by getting the UAVs to deliver food and drink from the kitchen and bar to the seating areas.

However, a stunt in December where TGI Friday wanted to have drones carrying sprigs of mistletoe hovering over customers at its restaurants in New York failed spectacularly, with thedrone crashing into a woman's face and cutting open her nose.

Back in Amsterdam, an event organiser has announced AIR 2015, the first ever live entertainment show featuring UAVs, that will take place later this year, working together with the Royal Netherlands Air Force. 

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Auburn University has received the nation's first FAA approval to operate a new Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight School as part of the Auburn University Aviation Center.

"This is an honor for Auburn University," said Bill Hutto, director of the Auburn University Aviation Center. "We will conduct commercial flight training for operators of unmanned aircraft systems outdoors and untethered. We will have the ability to offer training courses at different locations here and around the state for Auburn students, faculty, members of other public agencies and the general public."

Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, are expected to be a key component of the state's and nation's economy as opportunities continue to arise in business and industry, as well as in research areas such as engineering, building science and agriculture.

"It's a major win for the state," Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said. "We're building off Alabama's already rich history and robust industry in aerospace and aviation and now leading the nation in an area of emerging technology that's critical to our success in future economic opportunities."

The FAA approval requires that operators of unmanned aircraft pass a written exam and a flying test, both of which Auburn will administer. "It ensures that the operators have a good understanding of how to safely and properly operate an unmanned aircraft system," Hutto said.

Auburn University has been involved in aviation education for more than 80 years and has been providing fight training for pilots for nearly 75 years. Auburn offers three aviation/aerospace degrees:  aviation management, professional flight management and aerospace engineering.

"I commend Auburn University on obtaining the new FAA approval," said Seth Hammett, a member of the Auburn University Aviation Center Steering Committee. "It is another step in continuing the long-time educational excellence in aviation and aerospace at the university. Our state will benefit by having unmanned aircraft system operators trained in the safe, effective use of these aircraft."

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This sheet of cheap “metamaterial” can be used to steer radar beams around.

From MIT Technology Review

Powerful radar, mostly limited to the military, could soon be cheap enough for cars and consumer drones to use.

Plenty of people play with small drone aircraft in their backyards these days. Tom Driscoll, cofounder and chief technology officer of a startup called Echodyne may be the only one whose quadcopter packs the kind of sophisticated radar used on fighter jets. “We flew it around, did some collision avoidance, and locked onto one of our engineers and followed him around my backyard,” says Driscoll.

Radar instruments that can be used that way are normally bulky and extremely expensive. Echodyne is working on a device that is compact and cheap enough to be used widely.

Radar systems work by sending out radio waves and using the echoes that bounce back to create an image of an object. Some radar systems use electronics to actively steer their outgoing radio waves, instead of just mechanically sweeping a beam in a fixed pattern. This lets them simultaneously scan the sky for objects and track specific ones with high accuracy. But the complex devices normally needed to steer radio waves around, known as phase shifters, make such electronically scanning radar expensive and bulky.

Driscoll’s drone carries an electronically scanning radar instrument that doesn’t have a conventional phase shifter. The outgoing radio waves are steered with a much simpler device, built using techniques borrowed from a relatively new area of research on what are known as metamaterials.


This drone has an advanced electronically scanning radar on board, equipment usually much too bulky and expensive for such small craft.

Metamaterials provide a way to get around many of the physical limitations that have previously defined how engineers could control radio, light, and sound waves. For example, while conventional lenses need their characteristic shape to bend light rays into focus, a metamaterial lens can bend light the same way while being perfectly flat.

Metamaterials are made from repeating structures that are smaller than the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation being manipulated. Echodyne makes its metamaterials by tracing out repeating patterns of copper wiring on an ordinary circuit board.

A board with multiple layers of such wiring can direct radar beams. And applying different voltages to some parts of the wiring makes it possible to actively control the beam as a phase shifter would. “Any printed circuit board manufacturer could produce these,” says Driscoll.

The radar systems used by the military typically start at around $100,000, says Eben Frankenberg, CEO and another cofounder of Echodyne. He says his company hopes to mass produce compact radar systems that cost only hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Driscoll says that could make scanning radar become a standard sensor for vehicles and robots. Some prototype autonomous cars, including Google’s, use spinning laser sensors to watch the world around them in 3-D. That technique can map the world in very high resolution, but its range decreases in fog or snow. Radar doesn’t have that limitation, says Driscoll.

Echodyne also plans to offer its systems to the military, and to replace the radar already in use commercially: the spinning dishes seen on ferries and other boats that create simple maps by sweeping a beam around, for example, or the small fixed sensors in some cars that allow an adaptive cruise control system to keep a safe distance from the car ahead.

Echodyne was created by the patent licensing company Intellectual Ventures. In 2013, Intellectual Ventures set up a unit dedicated to building a portfolio of patents for metamaterials, and to figuring out how to commercialize them. Echodyne has also received investment funding from Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, and venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group.

David Smith, a professor at Duke University who researches metamaterials and has worked with Intellectual Ventures, says that Echodyne’s approach provides very flexible ways to control radio waves. The company’s biggest challenge, he says, is to craft complete radar systems that can compete in the market. That means matching the performance of very high-end systems used by the military today to succeed in the defense market, and carefully controlling costs for applications in the car industry.


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Unique frame with DMT (Dynamic Motor Tilting) capabilities from AliShanMao of OnlyFlyingMachines

OFM Hyper 330 FPV Pod Racing Quadcopter Hardcore Testing


Thrilling Fast FPV Proximity flights and a Rugged Bulletproof frame, this is what OFM Hyper 330 FPV Pod racing Quadcopter is going to offer you and much more. When it comes to FPV racing, and pod racing you need a Quadcopters that will zoom around track with jaw dropping speeds, cut sharp corners with clear precision, shoot out with perfect and instant speed, offer instant air brakes, a Quadcopter that is super agile, and totally rugged and bulletproof, a Quadcopter that is easier to carry and store, A Quadcopter that is not going to look like an ugly experiment in the air. If you want all this, then look no more. OFM Hyper 330 FPV Pod Racing Quadcopter is specially designed by professional FPV racing pilot, well tested (constantly undergoing hardcore flight testing) and well equipped with ultimate power combo that will give you a winner on the FPV Pod racing track. No matter it’s an open field, a forest Pod Racing Track, or a competition FPV obstacle course Pod racing Track, OFM Hyper 330 is designed to cope with all kinds of racing tracks and flying styles. In general, OFM Hyper 330 is designed to win and leave every other copter behind on the track. 

With our hard work, long term research and together with a professional designer, OnlyFlyingMachines.com finally brings you that Ultimate FPV Racing Machine you have always dreamed of. This is the FPV Super Copter, this is the Ultimate FPV Pod Racer that will make pilots on the field eat your Hyper 330 wind wash only. All other pilots will see, would be your Hyper 330 Tail lights on the track. 

Hyper 330 features a very unique frame with a unique DMT (Dynamic Motor Tilting) capabilities never seen in any of the FPV Racing quads before. What makes Hyper 330 a winner on the track? Let us enlighten you all

• Carefully thought out beautiful new frame design with Clean and dirty sections. Do not worry about those lousy vibrations anymore. Jello Free video, Clear FPV View and Vibration free Flight controller installation.
• Well thought out frame design for easy access to install or work on your Power distribution, Speed controllers and Flight controller installation
• Folding and easy replaceable arms with DMT (Dynamic Motor tilting) Mechanism. Fits in your back pack. Hey wait a minute, it will come with a back pack too.
• DMT (Dynamic Motor Tilting) with your elevator controls offers instant high speed shoot out and solid Air braking to dodge that fast moving tree that has always slapped you down.
• DMT (Dynamic Motor Tilting) offering instant and clear cornering. You can clear sharpest corners easily with tight solid turns that will surely leave your competitors behind on the track.
• DMT gives you more forward view without tilting your camera up, without having to tilt your whole quad forward at steep angles. When motors tilt, you get instant speed with little tilting and you retain much more forward view at higher speeds. Comparatively at same speeds, other pilots will be looking at grounds only and getting slapped by them trees, while OFM Hyper 330 pilot will dodge everything with a beautiful precision due to better forward views. 
• Sleek, and aerodynamic Canopy for those sexy looks to make your Quad stand out in the crowd and to give you additional speed by reducing the drag during flight.
• Modular design high quality Metal and carbon fiber components
• Stick and fly FPV Module that you can stick to two different places on Canopy. Rear section to see your quad center and front in the view for beginner’s pilots to keep their orientation during FPV flight and front mounting section for clear FPV view without any obstructions for advanced Pilots.
• GoPro ready, a special GoPro 4 mount under that sleek and sexy canopy so you will never disturb your aerodynamics during flight due to GoPro Brick shape.
• And Much more.

Enjoy this Hardcore testing video of finished version of OFM Hyper 330 Quadcopter and stay tuned for more detailed videos. Get your beloved cash ready because pre orders are starting soon and we will have only 50 of these Super Pod Racers OFM Hyper 330 made for first 50 lucky pilots to own these beasts. 

More details and updates will be posted here, so be sure to bookmark this page

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Comments and feedback welcome at alishanmao@gmail.com , info@onlyflyingmachines.com and alishanmaolife@gmail.com

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From The Times of India

Apr 3, 2015

LUCKNOW: Drones will soon perform a special task in the state capital apart from functioning as eyes in the sky with the Lucknow Police planning to use them for dispersing mobs. 

These little unmanned mini-choppers are already in use in various sensitive parts of Uttar Pradesh for taking aerial snaps, but for the first time the hi-tech gadget will be used to control unruly crowds.

"We have purchased five drone cameras with capacity of lifting two kg weight. They can be used to shower pepper powder on an unruly mob in case of any trouble," Senior Superintendent of Police Yashasvi Yadav told PTI here today. 

The drone camera, he said, made its debut in the city when the district administration deployed the device for surveillance last year during Muharram and also during the Lucknow Mahotsav and Republic Day parade.

"We had used drone cameras and they were so effective that we have decided to purchase them instead of hiring them. They will be used throughout the city for aerial surveillance," the SSP said. 

Lucknow Police will probably be the first in the country to have such hi-tech surveillance gadget, he said, adding drones will assist not only in checking crimes but also in keeping a track of criminals. 

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones, are aircraft either controlled by 'pilots' from the ground or follow a pre-programmed mission. The UAVs have propellers spinning at the end of its eight spidery arms. 

The drones, which can cost up to Rs 6 lakh each, can fly up to 600 metre in a one-kilometre radius, Yadav said, adding that the drone surveillance will be formally launched by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav later this month. 

These sentinels in the sky have been seen buzzing in several Hollywood movies. No wonder, some cine stars have evinced interest in the launch of the system here and are likely to be present at the launch event, the SSP said. 

Uttar Pradesh Police had recently used drone cameras in Ayodhya to monitor Vishwa Hindu Parishad's 'Ram Mahotsava' on the occasion of Ram Navami. 

Drone cameras were used for crowd management and also to monitor activities of people there. 

Under the police modernisation initiative, a modern control room that manages the 'Dial 100' helpline in the city, has already been set up here. This control room will monitor the drones, the SSP added.

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Worlds first Drone Sheepdog


SHEP the Drone - Worlds first Drone Sheepdog

Farmers test out 'flying sheepdog'


30 March 2015

It doesn't bark, and it doesn't bite, it doesn't need feeding - three of the benefits, says Paul Brennan, of using a drone as a sheepdog.

His video showing the shepherding of a flock of his brother's sheep has gone viral.

He told the BBC it worked "perfectly" in rounding up the animals on the farm near Dublin, Ireland.

The National Farmers' Union said it didn't think the idea would "take off".

"There may be a use to check-in on animals grazing on common land or in the hills but that's about the limit.

"The primary use will be in the arable sector rather than livestock at the moment.

"The reality is that a good sheepdog is a far better way to go about the job."

(Now, how to teach it to close the gate?)

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3689640997?profile=originalFrom motherboard.vice.com 

(Note: Update at the end of the article and link to a PDF copy of the intimidating FAA letter.)

If you fly a drone and post footage on YouTube, you could end up with a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Earlier this week, the agency sent a legal notice to Jayson Hanes, a Tampa-based drone hobbyist who has been posting drone-shot videos online for roughly the last year. 

The FAA said that, because there are ads on YouTube, Hanes's flights constituted a commercial use of the technology subject to stricter regulations and enforcement action from the agency. It said that if he did not stop flying “commercially,” he could be subject to fines or sanctions.

"This office has received a complaint regarding your use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone) for commercial purposes referencing your video on the website youtube.com as evidence," the letter reads. "After a review of your website, it does appear that the complaint is valid."

"This office has received a complaint regarding your use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (aka drone) for commercial purposes referencing your video on the website youtube.com as evidence," the letter reads. "After a review of your website, it does appear that the complaint is valid."

The hobby use of drones and other model aircraft has never been regulated by the FAA, but the agency has been adamant about making a distinction between hobby and commercial use, which has led to much confusion over the last couple years.

Where, exactly, does commercial use begin and hobby use end, for instance? If you fly for fun, but happen to sell your footage later, were you flying for a "commercial purpose?" What if you give it to a news organization that runs it on a television station that has ads on it? What if you upload it to YouTube and Google happens to put an ad on it? What if you decide to put an ad on it?

The letter makes clear that at least some in the FAA (this one was sent by Michael Singleton, an aviation safety inspector in the FAA's Tampa office) take a very wide view of what is "commercial."

"With this letter the FAA is claiming that drone-obtained art created by a hobbyist becomes retroactively 'commercial' if it is ever sold, or if, as here, it is displayed on a website that offers monetization in the form of advertising," Peter Sachs, a Connecticut-based attorney specializing in drone issues told me. "Selling art is unquestionably one's right, and the government is forbidden from infringing upon that right."

Hanes told me that his videos are technically "monetized" on YouTube but that he has never received a payment from Google and the revenue he's technically earned from Google’s ads is less than a dollar.

"I've been flying only for fun, as a hobby," he told me.

FAA spokesperson Les Dorr told me he is looking into specifics of the case, but said that, often, competitors will alert local enforcement offices about drone use. The question then, is can someone really have a "competitor" if they're not flying commercially?

"In general, whenever we receive a complaint about an unauthorized UAS operation, we contact the operator and educate them about the regulations so they can comply," Dorr said. "It’s not uncommon for a competitor who is not flying a UAS to alert us to such operations. I don’t know if that was the case here."

Hanes's case is without precedent. The FAA ​has sent many cease-and-desist letters to commercial drone operators, but those letters have mainly been in response to registered businesses that advertise drone-for-hire services on their websites. To my knowledge, the agency hasn’t sent letters like this to hobbyists. Hanes's website redirects to his YouTube page, and he offers no traditional commercial services.

The FAA has said it ​has the ability to fine or otherwise enforce certain restrictions on drones (which have not yet been tested in court). In the past, those fines ​have been as much as $10,000. Those restrictions are supposed to stop pilots from flying over people and from flying above 500 feet. Some of Hanes's videos show him flying in ways that could potentially run afoul of those restrictions.

Dorr, who was not involved in sending the letter to Hanes, reviewed some of his videos in response to my inquiry. He says it's possible the letter was sent because of those potential safety violations. It's worth mentioning that the FAA's drone enforcement strategy is a bit of a mess. Regional safety offices decide initial enforcement, often without contacting FAA headquarters or ​considering things such as the First Amendment.

"It would behoove the FAA Office of Chief Counsel to make it abundantly clear to all aviation safety inspectors that the First Amendment is alive and well," Sachs said.

The fact that Hanes received a letter or was contacted by the FAA, then, isn't nuts. The FAA is well within its rights to at least tell a drone operator to not fly dangerously.

But why, then, is the FAA hiding behind the sham argument that he's flying "commercially"? And, if the agency decides that putting videos on YouTube is a business use of a drone, what does it mean for the thousands of other people who post drone videos online? 

Update: The FAA says it's now looking further into how its safety inspectors send letters like this. 

"The FAA’s goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws," the agency said. "The FAA’s guidance calls for inspectors to notify someone with a letter and then follow up. The guidance does not include language about advertising. The FAA will look into the matter."

A copy of the 4-page certified letter from  Michael Singleton, FAA Aviation Safety Inspector in Tampa, Florida, has been made available here:

FAADoc (2).pdf


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Via PetaPixel:

The woman who was captured in a viral video last year attacking a drone photographer and calling him a “pervert” may have her charges dropped and record cleared.

23-year-old Andrea Mears has appeared in a Connecticut court and applied for accelerated rehab, or a probationary period in which she must stay out of trouble. After the period is over, Mears may have her third degree assault charges dropped.

Mears became Internet famous last year after confronting 17-year-old Austin Haughwout while he was capturing aerial imagery of Hammonasset Beach State Park on May 12th. She accused Haughwout of being a “pervert” and using his quadcopter camera to shoot photographs of girls sunbathing in bikinis.

During the confrontation, Mears struck Haughwout, grabbed him, and ripped up his shirt. The encounter was captured by Haughwout using his cell phone camera.

Now it appears that Mears may walk away from the attack with what Haughwout believes is a slap on the wrist. A jury will determine if she qualifies for accelerated rehab, and her next court appearance is on July 9th.

“If it had been a male that had assaulted a female, the punishment would have been much more severe,” Haughwout tells FOX CT.

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Following up to a post here from July 23, 2014 regarding the development of privacy guidelines for commercial drones operating in U.S. airspace by the Obama administration. This is a "heads up" to the community. Those seeking to provide input on the RFC will have 45 days from March 4, 2015 (the date it was published in the Federal Register) to submit comments to NTIA. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

From PC World Mar 4, 2015

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration plans to host a series of meetings with interested people aimed at developing best practices for protecting privacy in the burgeoning aerial drone industry.

The NTIA will launch what it calls a “multistakeholder process” focused on drone privacy standards in the coming months, the agency said. The NTIA on Wednesday opened up a request for comments on discussions aimed at developing privacy best practices for both the commercial and private use of drones, sometimes called unmanned aircraft systems.

The NTIA-led discussions aim to address privacy concerns while ensuring the U.S. “maintains its leadership and promotes innovation in this growing industry,” NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling said in a statement.

In a February memorandum, President Barack Obama called on the NTIA to launch the discussion on drone privacy standards.

As drones move into the air space, the U.S. government will “take steps to ensure that the integration takes into account not only our economic competitiveness and public safety, but also the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties concerns these systems may raise,” the White House said in the memo.

The NTIA asked several questions in its request for public comments. Among them:

— Do commercial drone services raise unique or heightened privacy issues?

— What privacy practices would lessen privacy concerns while supporting innovation?

— What information should commercial drone operators make public?

Since 2012, the NTIA has hosted privacy discussions related to mobile apps and facial recognition technology. Some privacy groups have criticized those efforts, saying the discussions are dominated by industry representatives.

Separate from the NTIA discussions, the Federal Aviation Administration has begun issuing drone licenses, and the agency, in February, issued proposed rules for commercial drone flight.

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