All posts by Sally French

Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

Intel’s drone team has an extreme obsession with breaking drone swarm records, again, and again, and again.

Intel has its hands in a variety of aspects of the drone industry, ranging from providing software for Yuneec’s consumer drones to making its own enterprise-grade drones. But its most media-friendly vertical seems to be its drone light shows.

And Intel doesn’t just love to put on light shows. They seemingly love to make them bigger and bigger.

Intel just marked its 50th anniversary as a company, and to celebrate, launched 2,018 of its Shooting Star light show drones into the air above its campus in Folsom, Calif.

With 2,018 drones in the air at once, Intel set a new Guinness World Records title for the most unmanned aerial vehicles airborne simultaneously.

Intel’s first Guinness Book of World Records-approved drone swarm record was set at the end of 2015, when it sent 100 drones in the sky above Flugplatz Ahrenlohe, Tornesch, near Hamburg, Germany, syncopated to a live orchestra. Continue reading Intel is kind of obsessed with breaking drone swarm records (again, and again, and again)

DJI eases geofencing restrictions, allowing enterprise users to fly drones over sensitive areas

DJI just made a change to its software that eases geofencing restrictions it implemented years ago — now making it easier for drone pilots to fly over sensitive areas such as near prisons, power plants and airports.

The Chinese dronemaker this week overhauled its “Fly Safe GEO Unlock program” by now allowing pilots to request authorization to fly in sensitive areas through a streamlined application process, which would essentially allow them to receive a code unlocking their drone in less than 30 minutes.

DJI has had geofencing in some form as early as 2013. Geofencing is a software program that creates a virtual “fence” around a drone, preventing it from flying into certain areas. The geofencing limitations were broadly expanded in 2015 in response to the growing popularity of drones — and drone crashes.

Perhaps the most famous example of geofencing being implemented is in Jan. 28, when DJI forced its users to download a firmware update that would prevent drones from flying within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington, D.C. The firmware update was made in the wake of reports that a government employee in D.C. was flying a DJI Phantom at 3 a.m. on  and lost control of it, causing the drone to fly onto White House property and crash.

While the news was largely applauded by the drone industry as a means of preventing users from mistakenly breaking the law and getting their drone into a dangerous situation, it was troubling for users who need to fly in restricted areas for legitimate reasons, such as inspecting air craft or machinery. Continue reading DJI eases geofencing restrictions, allowing enterprise users to fly drones over sensitive areas

Take this drone research survey, and you could win a DJI Spark

Want to share your opinions and experiences on the drone industry? Want to win a DJI Spark in doing so?

Drone industry research firm Skylogic Research is in the midst of conducting its third annual Drone Market Sector drone research survey. The firm is seeking industry experts to participate in what it says will be a brief 10-minute survey.

As an incentive for participation in the survey, all respondents will receive a free summary report of the research results (a $95 value) and can enter to win a free DJI Spark mini drone package (a $425 value) or one of two $100 VISA gift cards.

The survey is intended to shed light on questions like “Who’s buying what types of drones from which makers at which prices and for what uses?” and “How much are service providers, business buyers, and public agencies using flight management and data analytic software for image-based projects?”

The survey will be in market for four weeks, and results will be available in September.

 

Take the survey here.

 

 

Amazon isn’t the only site running Prime Day 2018 drone deals — check out B&H too

Today may be Amazon Prime Day 2018, but Amazon isn’t the only site offering mega Prime Day 2018 drone deals today.

Amazon is running a slew of drone deals today, including $300 off the DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo ($999 after discount) and$50 off the Spark Fly More Combo ($499 after discount). But you can get those same deals directly from the DJI site, meaning you don’t need to pay the more than $100 for the Amazon Prime membership fee just to snag a great deal on drones.

And another online electronics rival retailer is also offering up a ton of great deals today. New York City-based B&H Photo is also running specials.Amazon Prime Day 2018 drone deals DJI Phantom 4

B&H is offering the Phantom 4 Pro Quadcopter for $1,399, an $100 savings. It is also selling the DJI Zenmuse X5 Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal for just $1,099, a $200 savings. Continue reading Amazon isn’t the only site running Prime Day 2018 drone deals — check out B&H too

All the 2018 Amazon Prime Day drone deals you need to know about

Amazon Prime Day is happening this Monday — and on deck are some solid Amazon Prime Day drone deals.

For the first time ever, DJI is getting in on the 2018 Amazon Prime Day drone discounts, offering up to $300 off the DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Pro on both Amazon and DJI’s own site.

Here are some of the deals:

The discounts start on July 16 at 9 a.m. PT and end 36 hours later.amazon prime day 2018 mavic pro

Related read: DJI Mavic Pro review: everything a perfect drone should be

Related read: Tello drone review: Ryze’s $99 drone that uses DJI and Intel Tech

Refurbished products will also be available at discounted prices through DJI’s official store on Amazon.com, starting July 17 at 9 p.m. PT. Those deals will run for 24 hours through July 18th with savings of up to $200.

Here are the refurbished prices: Continue reading All the 2018 Amazon Prime Day drone deals you need to know about

This is the biggest challenge for the drone industry in 2018, experts say

The biggest challenge for the drone industry in 2018 isn’t getting more funding or finding better employees. It’s not getting better drone hardware either.

Software product development is the  biggest challenge for the drone industry in 2018, according to a June 2018 study conducted by Drone Industry Insights, a Germany-based market research firm.

Drone Industry Insights asked 350 companies or groups about their drone industry applications, usage and experience. The survey responders were made up of 43% commercial drone users, 38% drone manufacturers and 19% research institutes or universities. All survey respondents resided or worked in any of the EU member states. Survey respondents were allowed to select multiple responses, which is why the percentages total up to more than 100%.

Software product development was rated the No. 1 priority over the next 12 months among drone users and service providers. 44% of respondents said software was the sector where they would pour the most resources in this year. Coming in at No. 2 was marketing and sales, picked as a top priority among 39% of drone users or service providers.

Software is imperative in making the drone industry actually work safely and efficiently, which could be why it’s such a priority.

“With UAVs—and in mobility more broadly—the software actually does have to be better when it’s released,” said Siggi Hindrichs, an early stage tech investor at Samsung NEXT, the venture capital arm of Samsung. “It’s likely “mission critical”. There could be real safety implications for payloads, passersby, or even passengers.” Continue reading This is the biggest challenge for the drone industry in 2018, experts say

Avoiding hostile drone takeover? Amazon has a patent for that

E-commerce giant Amazon.com isn’t just working on using drones for delivery. Amazon is working on beefing up security measures to prevent a potential hostile drone takeover.

Amazon last week was granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office titled “Hostile Takeover Avoidance of Unmanned Vehicles”,  an indication that the retailer is preparing for how it can prevent possible hostile drone takeovers — likely to prevent your expensive Amazon Prime Now orders from being overtaken en route and sent somewhere else instead — or simply to prevent hijackers from overtaking drones and crashing them intentionally.

The technology outlined in the patent theoretically equips drones with “techniques relating to detecting and recovering from hostile takeovers.”  Continue reading Avoiding hostile drone takeover? Amazon has a patent for that

How are drones most frequently used in Europe? You might be surprised

The buzz may be all about drone delivery, but the industry that is actually adopting drones the most is the surveying industry.

A whopping 79% of commercial drones in Europe are used for surveying and cartography, according to a June 2018 study conducted by Drone Industry Insights, a Germany-based market research firm.

That means about eight in ten drones flying in the skies above Europe for commercial use are carrying out surveying jobs. Continue reading How are drones most frequently used in Europe? You might be surprised