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Monday, November 30, 2015

Amazon unveils new Prime Air drone prototypes

Amazon unveils new Prime Air drone prototypes
Brett Molina, USA TODAY11:09 p.m. EST November 29, 2015

(Photo: Amazon)

Amazon revealed the latest prototype of drones it will deploy as part of its Prime Air service using the unmanned aerial devices to deliver packages in under 30 minutes.

According to details released Sunday by the online retailing giant, Amazon says the drones weigh 55 pounds and can carry packages weighing up to 5 pounds. The drones fly under 400 feet and use "sense and avoid" technology to dodge potential obstacles en route to its delivery destination.

"We are testing many different vehicle designs and delivery mechanisms to discover how best to deliver packages in a variety of environments," reads a statement from Amazon. "We have more than a dozen prototypes that we’ve developed in our research and development labs. The look and characteristics of the vehicles will evolve over time."

A video released by Amazon shows the drone scanning an area near the delivery address to find a landing spot, followed by a hatch opening from the bottom to drop the package. Amazon says they are testing drones in "multiple international locations."

The company says the service will launch once the company has "the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision."

In March, the Federal Aviation Administration granted Amazon approval to fly drones for research into the Prime Air service after first revealing plans to work with drones for deliveries two years ago.

Other companies are also exploring drones as a new method of package delivery. Earlier this month, Walmart sought permission from the FAA to start drone testing,while Google reportedly revealed during an air traffic control convention in Washington, D.C., that it wants to launch a drone service in 2017.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Toddler loses eye after drone propeller sliced through it

Saturday 28 November 2015 | UK News feed

Toddler loses eye after drone propeller sliced through it
An 18-month-old boy was left blind in one eye when an out-of-control drone hit him in the face

Oscar Webb with his mum, Amy Roberts Photo: BBC

By Eleanor Steafel

12:42PM GMT 28 Nov 2015

An 18-month-old boy lost his left eye when he was hit in the face by an out-of-control drone.

Oscar Webb was left blind in one eye when a propeller sliced through his eyeball while he was playing in the garden.

Doctors fought desperately to save Oscar's eye but they were forced to remove it as the damage was too severe.

Speaking on Watchdog on Thursday, Oscar's mother told of the moment she realised how bad the accident had been, as she raced to hospital with her son.

Amy and Anita Roberts talking to the BBC's Watchdog programme Photo: BBC

Amy Roberts, from Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, said: "What I saw, I can still see it now, it was the bottom half of his eye and it's the worst thing I've ever seen.

"I just hoped and prayed all the way there that what I saw wasn't true and wasn't real.

"I can't really even remember what I was thinking at the time. I just remember waiting for someone to come and say it was OK.

"They (the doctors) did say that it was one of the worst eye incidents they'd seen. It was hard, I cried that much that even the consultant, it brought tears to her face."

Surgeons performed several emergency operations to try to save Oscar's eye but the drone had damaged it beyond repair and Oscar now faces having a series of further operations before he can have a prosthetic eye fitted.

The accident, which happened seven weeks ago, occurred when a drone being flown by family friend Simon Evans spiralled out of control.

One of Mr Evans' drones Photo: BBC

Mr Evans, who was an experienced drone operator before the accident, described the moment it hit Oscar.

He said: "It was up for about 60 seconds. As I brought it back down to land it just clipped the tree and span round.

"The next thing I know I've just heard my friend shriek and say 'Oh God no' and I turned around and just saw blood and his baby on the floor crying."

Mr Evans said he has not flown the gadget since the accident as the sight of one makes him feel "physically sick".

Oscar's mother said she wanted to warn others how dangerous drones can be.

"You don't realise the dangers, you don't expect something so severe to happen from what people call toys, I wouldn't class them as toys," she said.

Oscar's grandmother, Anita Roberts, who contacted the BBC after seeing a programme about the devices said it had been very upsetting.

"You can't take it in, the shock of it all, it's too much really," she said.

"You wish you could have been there instead of him, he's a baby."

The Civil Aviation Authority has released guidelines for how to fly drones safely and there will be a public consultation before a government strategy is published in 2016.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lunar Rover (LRV) on the Moon - Apollo 16 - HD Video Stabilized