Stories by Kaveh Waddell

Under new bill, states and towns could set their own drone rules

Photo of a small drone flying near its operator
Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) plans to introduce a bill that would assign states, cities, and Native American tribes sweeping new powers to set rules for small, low-flying drones, and give property owners more control over what happens immediately over their land.

Why it matters: Lee's proposal would establish new clear rules for the first 200 feet above ground, and override Federal Aviation Administration concerns about a "patchwork quilt" of regulations that differ from one locale to another.

Artificial intelligence helps track sharks in the ocean

A computer vision system identifies a great white shark. Video courtesy Salesforce.

Turn AI cameras on your employees and you can measure their productivity. Fly them over the Pacific Ocean and you've got yourself an automated shark-warning system.

What's happening: UC Santa Barbara, with the help of a few AI experts from Salesforce, is using drones to monitor sharks near California beaches in real time.

Training real AI with fake data

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

AI systems have an endless appetite for data. For an autonomous car's camera to identify pedestrians every time — not just nearly every time — its software needs to have studied countless examples of people standing, walking and running near roads.

Yes, but: Gathering and labeling those images is expensive and time consuming, and in some cases impossible. (Imagine staging a huge car crash.) So companies are teaching AI systems with fake photos and videos, sometimes also generated by AI, that stand in for the real thing.