Drone incidents involving airplanes rise ‘dramatically,’ FAA says

Drone Plane
Close encounters between manned aircraft and drones in U.S. airspace have risen “dramatically” recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed on Friday.

Data collected between August 2015 and January 2016 revealed near misses taking place on average 3.5 times a day, up from less than one a day in 2014.

While the FAA’s figures appear at first glance to mirror increasing ownership of the flying machine, it could also be that a number of the reported incidents have been caused by the same operators. If it’s the former, it’d be an even bigger worry for the FAA as most of its recent data was collected before the spike in new owners over the holiday season.

Earlier this month we learned of a near-miss incident involving a Lufthansa passenger plane coming into land at Los Angeles International Airport. The pilot of the Airbus 380, the largest passenger plane in the world, said the drone passed about 200 feet above the plane as it flew at 5,000 feet.

And it’s not just airplane pilots that need to keep their eyes peeled. A police helicopter flying near San Francisco last December was forced into making a sharp turn after its pilot spotted a drone close by while flying at 800 feet. While in most cases so far the drone operator has gotten away, in this particular case he was quickly apprehended.

The troubling data adds a sense of urgency to the government’s need to introduce an effective anti-drone system to deal with rogue UAVs spotted close to not only airports, but also busy public events, nuclear plants, prisons, and other restricted locations.

The search for a solution has resulted in the emergence of a new industry for anti-drone systems. Proposed technology has so far included anti-drone death rays, electromagnetic shields, and net-firing bazookas.

The FAA is also hoping its recently introduced drone registry will help foster a greater sense of responsibility among drone owners, while the agency has also been promoting use of its new B4UFLY app that offers tips on proper drone operation and up-to-date information on safe flying locations.

“We have a number of educational initiatives with our government and industry partners to teach drone operators how to fly safely, including the drone registry we launched last December,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a release. “But enforcement goes hand-in-hand with education, and we will take action against anyone who operates irresponsibly to the full extent of the law.”

Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Gaming

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.