U.S. government proposal would loosen restrictions on drones
Companies such as Google and Amazon have been testing and developing drones for commercial use for a while now, but a major obstacle to these programs has been the restrictive regulations on flying drones, particularly those posed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, it seems that things have taken a more favorable turn.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently proposed a regulation that would allow routine drone flights over populated areas and at night, opening up more possibilities for companies planning to use drones for commercial purposes. The FAA has still suggested restrictions to this proposal that would help to mitigate risk “without inhibiting innovation”. For example, pilots would be able to operate unmanned aircraft weighing up to 0.55 pounds over populated areas without restriction. Larger aircrafts, however, would require proof from the manufacturer that injury from a possible drone collision with a human would “be below a certain severity threshold”. The FAA also suggests protective caging for drone propellers as a further safety measure.
The proposed regulation would end the requirement for drone operators to apply for waivers to fly at night. There are certain conditions that would still have to be met, for example, pilots would be required to complete special night flight training and drones must be equipped with a light that can be seen from at least three miles away.
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Ford launches Cobalt blockchain pilot
According to Morgan Stanley, demand for cobalt is expected to be eight times higher in 2026. With the current electrification trend, automakers are becoming increasingly dependent on the controversial cobalt material: The average electric car battery requires up to 20 pounds of cobalt, compared to the 1 pound of cobalt needed for a standard laptop battery. It is therefore in automakers best interests to bring more stability to the cobalt market, by increasing supplier transparency and ensuring responsible and ethical sourcing.
Ford Motor Company has joined forces with IBM, Hayou Cobalt, LG Chem and RCS Global to use blockchain technology to trace and validate ethically sourced minerals, starting with cobalt. The group’s efforts will begin with an IBM platform pilot focused on cobalt, which is expected to be complete by the middle of this year. Starting with its production at Hayou Cobalt in the DRC, the cobalt will be tracked to LG Chem’s cathode and battery plants in South Korea, and then all way to the assembly plant in the U.S.. Participants in the network will be validated against responsible standards developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The goal is to eventually extend this blockchain pilot to other battery metals and raw materials, including tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold.
You can read more about this project here.
Maersk tackles misdeclared cargoes with random box checks
Misdeclared cargo is such a simple and avoidable mistake that can potentially have devastating consequences. In light of recent container fires, such as the fire that broke out on Hapag Lloyd’s 7,500 teu Yantian Express earlier this month, Danish carrier Maersk is taking special measures to prevent misdeclaration and other safety risks.
Maersk has started conducting random container checks at ports across North America, inspecting import and export cargo at the ports of Newark Berth 88, Houston Bayport and Miami Pomtoc, among others. Maersk is currently paying the National Cargo Bureau to inspect the randomly selected containers. Shippers with containers that are found to be inadequately stuffed, lashed and secured, or found to contain cargo not matching its description, may be charged. The data that the company collects through pilot will be used to develop better procedure that ensure the accuracy of cargo descriptions, as well as to improve the use of the Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code).
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Have a great weekend.