The R-Bat. Image: Northrop GrummanManned agricultural aviation—crop dusting, essentially—is about to die as a profession. The industry is going down kicking and screaming, spending thousands lobbying against drones and filing court briefs trying to keep unmanned aircraft in a legal grey area.As we mentioned in December, it has become clear that drones are going to revolutionize agriculture—the only question is when the Federal Aviation Administration is going to allow it to. Crop duster airplanes are extremely dangerous, expensive, and are completely replaceable by drones

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A homemade Lithuanian drone was reportedly being used to smuggle cigarettes into Russia, meaning that organized crime has beaten Amazon to the punch in the quest to deliver desirable products to customers aerially. Russia has “detained” the drone, Oleg Dzhurayev, a spokesman with the Kaliningrad border department of the Russian Federal Security service, told one of Russia’s largest news organizations, ITAR-TASS, earlier this week.It’s not the first time drones have been used to smuggle products—back in November, people tried to smuggle drugs into a prison in Georgia; the same thing happened in Sao Paolo back in March and in Quebec last fall. Basically, people have learned that drones are good at carrying things (I, for one, am pretty into this miniature single cigarette pack-carrying drone you see in the video above—it’s pretty cute).But back to Russia: The reported scale of this operation is pretty impressive—according to ITAR-TASS, the drone had a wingspan of roughly 12 feet, and could carry 22 pounds of cigarettes, which is a whole lot of pounds of cigarettes

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An unmanned aerial drone may be the key to great photos from your next family vacation.

View original article at Wall Street Journal

Jenn Dyer

Russian border guards near Kaliningrad “detained” a low-flying drone entering the country from Lithuania last week. According to a spokesperson for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), it wasn’t on a spy mission—it was smuggling cigarettes.
The autonomous aircraft, which had a four-meter (13-foot) wingspan, flew close to the ground following GPS waypoints and released cigarette cartons from its cargo bay at designated drop zones. When captured, it was carrying 10 kilograms (about 22 pounds) of illicit cargo.
FSB press service chief Oleg Dzhurayev told the ITAR-TASS news service that the drone was built by a criminal organization operating in Russia and Lithuania, and it may have been used for other smuggling operations

View original article at Ars Technica

As kids we’ve all let a friend use a toy only to have it returned broken. That was such a bummer! At least that was years ago though…. well not for [Tom]. He had a Hubsan X4 mini quadcopter that he had crashed into all sorts of things. The little quad held up good against all of the beatings so [Tom] didn’t think too much about letting his pal take it for a test drive

View original article at Hack A Day