A little-known but highly influential group of attorneys from across the country will soon meet in Detroit and could change our skies forever. They claim their draft model legislation concerning drones will help protect privacy. However, their actions could have far-reaching effects on innovation, safety and future drone operations.
The state-appointed members of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) aim to promote uniformity by proposing model legislation for consideration by legislatures across the country.
In Detroit, the ULC will continue work on a proposed “Tort Law Relating to Drones Act” drafted by commissioners who have no aviation or drone experience and without consulting the federal government, state legislators or the industry. Their subsequent proposal fails to recognize the federal government’s exclusive control of airspace regulation and runs counter to existing law.
The draft proposal draws an inflexible, arbitrary line 200 feet in the sky and, if enacted by the states, would establish a new aerial trespass law. It anoints private property owners as de facto air traffic controllers, giving them a right to establish no-fly zones and creating a maze of flight paths with differing rules that operators must navigate on a house-by-house basis. As the draft goes much further than any existing state or federal law, it’s likely to cause significant controversy and could create a complicated patchwork of differing state laws that erode, rather than enhance, aviation safety.
Creating roadblocks to drone use would stifle innovation, halt job creation and slow growth in this still-nascent industry. Consumer drones are one of the fastest growing products, with total sales expected to reach over $1 billion this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association. More than 110,000 commercial small drones are registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and it expects over 450,000 commercial drones to be flying by 2022.
The ULC’s proposal could prevent businesses and public service organizations from using drones. This could limit powerline and railroad inspections, prevent insurance companies from deploying drones to assess damage or ground drone search and rescue operations after natural disasters, like hurricanes Florence and Michael.
The ULC has essentially disregarded the concerns of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the FAA and the drone industry. Its proposal incorrectly states the DOT, FAA and others are supportive despite on-the-record letters opposing these efforts. The ULC has ignored attempts to correct these mischaracterizations.
This isn’t the first time the ULC has disregarded industry views. In 2014, it attempted to jam through model legislation that would have led to automatic disclosure of digital assets after death with little regard for privacy or whether the deceased consented. States rejected the proposal and the ULC was forced to revise it to require affirmative consent in wills before assets are disclosed — as the tech industry had originally proposed.
The ULC’s lack of inclusiveness sits in stark contrast to the FAA’s collaborative process to ensure the safe integration of drones into our skies. Its UAS Integration Pilot Program currently works with state, local and tribal governments across the country to conduct research that will shape a national drone policy framework in the coming years.
The program provides a mechanism for localities to provide input to the FAA without infringing on its jurisdiction over the airspace. The recently enacted FAA Reauthorization Act also mandates a study on the roles of different levels of government in drone regulations.
The ULC shouldn’t undo the tremendous progress we have made. Instead, it should abandon its severely flawed proposal and leave airspace regulation to the FAA so the drone industry, and American aviation as a whole, can continue to safely operate in our skies.
The iPhone Battery Percentage Is Back Where It Should Be In iOS 16 Beta 5
The iPhone battery percentage icon in the status bar has returned with the new release of iOS 16 beta 5. All iPhones leading up to the X display battery percentage in the status bar, but Apple sacrificed the convenience of the icon in favor of the then-groundbreaking notch design, which left little room for status bar data. Now, it looks like the company has figured out a way to do both.
On the models prior to the iPhone X, the battery percentage was displayed next to the battery icon. With the new design, the percentage is housed inside the battery icon, leaving space for other status bar data like Wi-Fi and cell signal information. Users no longer have to go through the hassle of opening the Control Center to check their battery level. When an iPhone running the latest iOS 16 beta is in Low Power Mode, the battery icon changes to yellow while still displaying the percentage. When charging, the battery icon turns green and shows a small charging icon next to the percentage.
The new indicator is available for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, excluding the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini, as well as on the iPhone X and the iPhone XS models. If you have an eligible model and you are already running iOS 16 beta, first update to beta 5, then go into Settings, Battery, and then Battery Percentage to enable the feature. According to CNBC, Apple hasn’t said whether the new feature will make it to the final cut of iOS 16, but our fingers are crossed hoping it does.
Can Your iPad Get A Virus From Safari? Here’s What We Know
As with any other source of access to the internet, it’s possible to get viruses depending on which websites you visit and what you do on them. There are many websites out there with less than good intentions, and from these, there is a potential for harm. Apple isn’t wrong about the extent of its security measures, though, when it comes to its devices. The iPhone, like the iPad, does have a layer of security already built in, with iOS keeping each app separated from the others. This makes it harder for viruses to infect the device and spread (via Apple.)
However, you do still need to be careful about what you do when you’re using the internet on your iPad. Although viruses are unlikely to happen, malware (or malicious software) is still possible. If you visit suspicious sites promising things too good to be true, don’t appear legitimate, and/or that prompt you to download files to your iPad, you’ll want to be very wary of the site and refrain from completing any download. If you have jailbroken your iPad, you’ll want to be even more careful, as this opens it up to security issues. In general, if a site is asking you to give up sensitive information such as bank information or your credit card, you’ll want to be extra careful. Only buy things from sources you trust.
DJI Avata Leak Teases A Drone You Can Fly Indoors
Leaks suggest that the Avata will rely on three-inch propellors with a ducted design, while the mounted camera’s movements will be limited to a single axis of rotation. Alleged images of the package also appear to confirm the DJI Avata branding. The leak also mentions the ability to shoot stabilized videos at 4K resolution, a built-in propellor guard, low-latency transmission for high-resolution visuals, and a palm-sized build.
The box of Avata!
It will be released shortly. pic.twitter.com/D4frzJCOHR
— OsitaLV (@OsitaLV) August 7, 2022
If the leaked retail box imagery is to believed, the next DJI offering will come bundled with accessories such as the Goggle 2, the new Motion Controller, flight battery, headband, spare propellors, USB-C cables, lanyard, screen protector, an eyeglasses frame, and a dual-band antenna to name a few. However, it must be noted that wearing the Goggles 2 will put the small drone out of the line of sight, which means you will need a spotter. It might also be a legal headache in some regions with strict drone regulations.
— Attacco dei Giganti (@AttaccoG) August 6, 2022
For folks only intending to use it for indoor video capture (or, perhaps, to participate in drone racing), the restrictions might be a tad easier. Unfortunately, DJI hasn’t shared any official details about the Avata FPV drone’s release. However, given the recent FCC appearance of the DJI Avata alongside the Goggles 2, it is quite evident that an official debut is likely just around the corner.
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