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Question of the week

Last week the FAA announced that it would soon require all drones in the US to be registered. It’s still only half a story, though, because the agency is undecided where they’ll draw lines in terms of size, weight and type of use. The DoT did, however, invite several industry leaders, 3DR included, to advise them as they develop registration requirements.

We’re generally in favor of registration. It will, among other things, solve the problem of how to trace a rogue drone back to the user. But we don’t want registration to be a burden on our customers. We also believe there may exist acceptable technological alternatives to federal registration.

But the kicker: They only have one month to figure this out.

And the consequences for you? Apparently it will be up to a $27,000 civil fine and, if warranted, a criminal fine of up to $250,000 and/or three years in jail.

And for a short time, you too can speak up. The FAA has opened a fifteen-day window for public comments. That window now has about a week before it closes. So please make your voice heard, not in the comments section this time, but to the FAA through the portal you can access here.

Thanks in advance for your support. And now, the stories that mattered this week.

Headlines

The FAA will require federal registration for at least some US drones. (FAA)

The DoT names 3DR to the registration Task Force. (3DR)

AIG is looking to sell liability insurance to cover your drone. (Business Insider)

Walmart and drones: Together at last. Walmart plans to use drones for delivery. (Reuters)

Culture and commentary

Great long-form piece from Buzzfeed on the gender gap in the commercial drone industry.

A comprehensive breakdown of key players in the drone industry. (Drone Industry Insights)

Tech

After a reported 13 shark attacks in Australia, authorities plan to use drones and tracking apps to monitor sharks off the coast of the deceptively named New South Wales. (Punn.) (RT)

The Harvard Microbotics lab has developed the first insect-sized robot capable of both flying and swimming. “Through various theoretical, computational and experimental studies, we found that the mechanics of flapping propulsion are actually very similar in air and in water,” said Kevin Chen, a graduate student in the Harvard Microrobotics Lab at SEAS. “In both cases, the wing is moving back and forth. The only difference is the speed at which the wing flaps.” (phys.org)

Class clowns rejoice: Parrot, who brought us the Rolling Spider, has partnered with a Kickstarter project to develop and market paper plane drones you can control with your head. Parrot runs APM. Substitute teachers, we’re very, very sorry. (New York Daily News)

Video

Google released a video of test flights of its Project Wing drone delivery service. (The Verge)

Very cool drone hyperlapse video. (YouTube)

Josh Haner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for photography, used drones to visually, and beautifully, capture the melting of Greenland’s icecap. (New York Times)