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13 things you need to know in tech today

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, June 6, 2019!

1. Amazon’s new drone: Part helicopter, part plane

Amazon delivering packages from drones has been talked about since Jeff Bezos revealed plans for “Amazon Prime Air” back in late 2013. Meanwhile, rival Alphabet’s Project Wing has been busy trialing deliveries in Finland and in Australia for some years.

Now Amazon looks to have a genuine game changer on its hands with its latest drone, described as “an ingenious hexagonal hybrid design” the size of a go-kart:

The new drone:

  • Amazon’s latest drone takes off vertically, then tilts to fly horizontally like a plane – see how it does it (YouTube).
  • It has a shroud protecting its blades, and takes off vertically like a traditional drone, but then tilts to fly across the ground like an aircraft.
  • It flies up to 15 miles or 24 kilometers, and can deliver packages up to 5 pounds within 30 minutes.
  • That weight-limit encompasses between 75-90% of what Amazon delivers to people.
  • Oh, and it doesn’t have a name just yet. Ideas: Jeff Buzzos, The Beezo, Prime Noise, Amazopter, hmm …I don’t know if Adam on the podcast will have better ideas? Adam?

Amazon Drone

Safety:

  • Amazon talked a big game on safety, as a core part of its offering.
  • Each drone packs sensors including vision, thermal, and ultrasonic to keep a drone out of various sorts of harm – wires, pets, people, and other aircraft – plus AI.
  • There’s also an automated drone management system between drones and aircraft, sophisticated controls, and FAA-approved parts.
  • Jeff Wilke, chief of Amazon’s global consumer business, said: “The tech industry is abuzz about drones, but not all drones are created equal,” with highlights from the presentation here (YouTube).

When?

  • Not soon.
  • Look, the easy part is the drone. Like building autonomous vehicles, it’s easy to have a nice car with a bunch of sensors. The hard part is creating a system that makes it all work without human input, 100% of the time – or at least 99.999% of the time.
  • Amazon is saying the drones will start making deliveries in the “coming months,” which means at some point at some time in the future, so don’t hold your breath just yet.
  • The FAA has given limited approval, though not for deliveries, issuing a statement saying it was granting a one-year approval to test the devices in a limited way.
  • More via Bloomberg.

One more thing from Amazon: it has launched an AI-powered ‘Shazam for clothes’ fashion search (The Verge).


2. Big leak: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 renders emerge, goodbye headphone jack, Bixby key? (Android Authority).


3. Google’s SOS alerts now let you see hurricane paths, flood trajectories, more (AA).


4. Global smartphone shipments might slip for the third year in a row – can 5G boost things again? (AA).


5. YouTube has another mess on its hands, first not doing anything about harassment videos, then flipping on that decision. Or as Gizmodo put it: “YouTube clarifies harassment policy by flailing around like a big, dumb noodle”.


6. In better news, YouTube later posted an unsigned blog noting it will “remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place” (youtube.googleblog.com).


7. Facebook’s cryptocurrency network is shaping up, and you can be in for $10m. Also, Facebook is creating an independent foundation to run it (CNET).


8. There’s a Ladybug swarm so huge it shows up on National Weather Service radar (CNET): 80 miles long and 80 miles wide, and is flying between 5,000 and 9,000 feet.


9. New mobile game Farm Punks is Alto’s Odyssey meets wacky farming sim (Android Authority).


10. Fox Sports will stream every Women’s World Cup game in 4K (Engadget).


11. How the Reddit Bureau of Investigation solves mysteries while avoiding witch hunts (Wired).


12. Here’s why that helicopter rescue with the spinning 74-year-old hiker (who is fine!!) went so nauseatingly wrong (Gizmodo).


13. “What’s an injury you sustained and lied about how it actually happened, because it was too embarrassing?” (r/askreddit)


DGiT Daily: Your Tech Resource

In case you don’t know, the DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun, and the daily fun element that you otherwise miss.

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