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   Technology StocksDrones, Autonomous Vehicles and Flying Cars

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From: Glenn Petersen12/26/2015 11:21:29 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1950
Home insurers rush to exclude drones as Christmas sees popularity soar

Canny underwriters have forseen the risk of drones falling into the hands of 'amateurs, fools and children'

A host of specialist insurance providers are rushing to cash in on the trend Photo: Rex ______________________________________________

By Camilla Turner
The Telegraph
9:54AM GMT 25 Dec 2015

Home insurers are rushing to exclude drones from their policies as experts warn that even those who buy them as gifts for others could be liable for privacy and personal injury claims.

Provisions to exclude “aircrafts” and “remote controlled vehicles” have been hastily added to policies, as underwriters refuse to risk footing the bill of potentially huge legal bills arising from the gadgets.

Originally designed for military use, the increasingly affordable unmanned aircrafts have soared in popularity among amateurs, and are expected to be bought in record numbers this Christmas.

Drone on your doorstep: drone delivery could become commonplace sooner than you think

“All insurance companies can see a risk, even with the toy drones,” said Frank Cannon, an expert in aviation law.

"There are specific exclusions that have emerged in the last couple of years to prohibit cover for drones.

“With drones being so prolific, and in the hands of so many amateurs, potential fools and children, a lot of insurance companies will have decided to simply exclude them while they see the risk developing.”

According to the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) guidelines, drones must never be flown out of eyesight of the person operating it.

An exhibitor presents the AR Drone, a remote-controlled quadrotor helicopter with buit in camera and WiFi and controlled by iPhone or iPod Touch Photo: AFP/GETTY

They must be flown at least 50m away from a person, vehicle or building, and they must not be flown within 150m of a large group of people, such as a football match or concert.

However, a simple malfunction, poor flight control or a flat battery could turn someone’s well-intentioned Christmas present into an airborne weapon and unwanted intruder on private property.

“Even one of these tiny toy drones could cause a serious accident,” Mr Cannon said.

“You could have one flying into a pram and injuring a baby, or breaking a window or car windscreen. There are lots of nasty things that could happen.”

If a child is at the helm, then the adult who bought it for them would be liable for any damage caused so long as the damage was foreseeable, Mr Cannon said.

Anders Nilsson, a spokesman for, a financial services comparison website, said insurers are also using existing provisions to exclude drones.

“Some policies explicitly state that they don’t cover motorised vehicles, aircraft or drones,” he said.

“Others say they won’t cover remote controlled vehicles, which includes flying ones.

“If it’s an expensive drone, say £1,000 or more, it will probably need to be added as a ‘specified item’ to your contents policy to avoid any single item limits that may apply.”

Amlin's policy specifically excludes “aircraft” both from the contents and legal liability policies.

Simon Goddard, senior underwriter at Amlin, said: "As such, we would not consider any loss or damage to the drone itself, nor any third party bodily injury or property damage under our policies."

Churchill home insurance only offer cover for drones under the contents policy, meaning they would pay for a replacement if it was stolen from your homes but there is no cover for the use of a drone outside the home.

Drones come with a wide range of capabilities

Marko Ninkovic, head of aviation claims at Brit Insurance, said the safest option for new drone owners would be to join a local flying or model aircraft club in order to learn about the regulations.

“Customers should be mindful that there is more possibility for a drone than an ordinary toy to cause damage if not used correctly,” he said.

While traditional home insurance policies are retreating from drone cover, a host of specialist insurance providers are rushing to cash in on the trend.

However, Aviva, the largest insurer provider in the UK, bucks the trend by classing drones as "toys" and including them in their cover.

"Accidental damage to third-party property or injury to another person caused by recreational use of a drone - not those used for business or professional purposes - would be covered," said Jonathan Cracknell, household underwriter at Aviva.

"However, it must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and in adherence to the law and certainly shouldn’t be flown anywhere near airports.”

Oliver Meakin, chief executive officer at Maplin, one of the UK’s biggest manufacturers of drones, said the company is expecting sales of up to 20,000 units, a 100 per cent increase in year on year sales.

Of the 30 varieties of drones they have on sale, the Glimpse XL drone for £349.99 and the Phantom 3 Professional for £1179.99 have been the most popular this year.

A CAA spokesperson said: "Anyone operating a drone must do so responsibly and observe all relevant rules and regulations.

"The rules for flying drones are designed to keep all air users safe and anyone flouting these rules can face severe penalties including imprisonment.”

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From: The Ox12/30/2015 7:08:10 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1950

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From: Glenn Petersen1/2/2016 11:03:53 AM
   of 1950
Meet the world's smallest camera-equipped droneIt's so tiny, users don't have to register it with the FAA.

Jessica Conditt , @JessConditt
January 2, 2016

The Axis Vidius is a quadcopter that fits in the palm of your hand -- it's roughly 1.5 inches square -- yet it's able to livestream and record video in 420p. Axis says its Vidius model is the smallest-ever camera-equipped drone, and it's so tiny that users don't have to register it with the Federal Aviation Administration (meaning it weighs less than .55 pounds).

The FAA launched its online drone-registration program in December. It requires all pilots, even hobbyists, to register their robots by February 19th -- it will generally cost $5 per registration, but the FAA is waiving this cost through January 20th. Information in the registry will be public record. In the program's first two days, the FAA collected 45,000 registrations.

The teensy Vidius drone may appeal to those who don't want to deal with federal paperwork before flying, though it does have limitations. Pilots can stream a live video feed from the 'copter via WiFi, though it has a flight time of just five to seven minutes on a 20-minute USB charge. Vidius comes with a 2.4 gHz controller, and users can pilot it with a smartphone or tablet, as well. Vidius is up for pre-order now with a ship date of January 29th at the latest. It's on sale for $75 before January 7th; afterwards, it'll be $95.

A tiny drone could be a nice way to have a little -- and we do mean little -- fun.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (921)1/2/2016 11:25:07 AM
From: Ahda
   of 1950
Pilots can stream a live video feed from the 'copter via WiFi, though it has a flight time of just five to seven minutes on a 20-minute USB charge

A tiny drone could be a nice way to have a little -- and we do mean little -- fun.

The big fun starts on the eighth minute and the following eight hours that are required to find where little guy landed.

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (921)1/2/2016 2:36:25 PM
From: SI Ron (Soup Nazi)
   of 1950
Those tiny ones are for indoor flying, they will not do well in the wind outside.

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To: Ahda who wrote (922)1/2/2016 2:47:34 PM
From: Savant
   of 1950
"The big fun starts on the eighth minute and the following eight hours that are required to find where little guy landed. "

If you're streaming video, you can see the crash landing....if not streaming, well, happy hunting.

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From: Ahda1/2/2016 4:25:18 PM
   of 1950
Happy New Years and Hunting 3 inch Indoor shag carpet with a red pepper tomato soup swirl.

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From: Ron1/3/2016 10:31:19 AM
   of 1950
As drones proliferate, watch for more discontent and regulation

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From: Savant1/4/2016 10:58:20 AM
   of 1950
Drone pics

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From: Savant1/6/2016 8:47:12 PM
   of 1950

*I expect someone would....

Will Anybody Buy a Drone Large Enough to Carry a Person? Chinese drone maker Ehang’s new 184 quadcopter is like a tiny, unregulated helicopter that can autonomously fly passengers anywhere—as long as the flight doesn’t take more than 23 minutes.

By Signe Brewster on January 6, 2016

The 184, pictured here as a rendering, has an enclosed cockpit to keep passengers cozy even when flying hundreds of feet in the air.

Attendees at the CES conference in Las Vegas will have an opportunity straight out of the Jetsons today: the chance to ride a quadcopter drone.

The 184, built by Chinese consumer drone maker Ehang, is a 440-pound quadcopter with an enclosed seating area for human passengers. It can carry a person up to 10 miles, or up to 23 minutes, at speeds around 60 miles per hour, according to Ehang cofounder and chief marketing officer Derrick Xiong. And just like a small drone, it is capable of flying at heights of up to 2.15 miles, though drone regulation would likely keep it at just several hundred feet.

If you are ready to race out and buy a 184, consider that they will likely cost between $200,000 and $300,000, keeping them out of reach of the average individual for now. Ehang does plan to ship them this year, and is preparing to begin accepting pre-orders.

“This is a commercialized product that comes with not only the body, but the failsafe system, even an air-conditioner system,” Xiong says.

The 184 can carry a person up to 10 miles, or up to 23 minutes, at speeds around 60 miles per hour.

Building a drone large enough to carry a person is not radically different from building a small consumer quadcopter. The 184 still flies with four arms and places the bulk of the weight at its center. Made of lightweight carbon fiber, the drone takes off and lands vertically and is battery-powered. According to Xiong, one of the largest changes comes into play in the software, where a fresh set of flight-control algorithms oversee the speed of the drone’s huge rotors.

The 184 is not the first rideable quadcopter. The 18-rotor Volocopter has been able to carry people since 2011, though it must be piloted manually. Lady Gaga once flew a few feet while suspended by a large drone at an album release party. In August, a Dutch engineer revealed an open-air quadcopter that could carry a person for up to 10 seconds.

Ehang expects the first adopters of the 184, which costs about the same as an entry-level helicopter, could use it as a tourist attraction or ferry between difficult-to-reach locations, such as islands. It could serve many of the same use cases as small consumer drones and helicopters, such as delivering people and supplies to remote locations or airlifting injured people to safety. Navigation is as simple as putting an address in Google Maps.

It is unclear exactly how a vehicle like the 184 would be regulated in China or elsewhere, but Xiong said Ehang is working with mayors of cities in several countries to consider the technology. Like self-driving cars and consumer drones, it would likely require fresh legislation.

Public trust is a major barrier to adoption of technology like the 184, according to Stanford Intelligent Systems Laboratory director Mykel Kochenderfer. Users need to be sure of the reliability of the vehicle’s frame, propulsion system, and resistance to hacking. Overall, it’s difficult to foresee every single possible failure.

“Nevertheless, I’m sure that there will be some enthusiastic early adopters; whether that will be sufficient to get the business off the ground remains to be seen,” Kochenderfer says. “NASA has been supporting research on future concepts for personal air vehicles and autonomy for some time now, but it will take time for this technology to catch on.”

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