All posts by Sally French

FAA seeking more LAANC suppliers months after industry criticism about “ol’ boy’s club forming”

The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking more applicants to participate as a supplier in its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) drone program.

A month after announcing that it would  expand tests of its real-time approval processing program to 500 airports by the fall of this year, the FAA wants more companies to supply LAANC services.

The LAANC program allows drone operators to use an interface from one of four providers that were hand-picked by the FAA — AirMap, Project Wing (an entity of X, formerly known as Google), Rockwell Collins and Skyward — to request approval to fly in restricted airspace. Operators would then receive approval almost instantly.

That instantly speeds up the ability to legally fly in controlled airspace such as near airports — a cumbersome process that had required individual applications and took months. Continue reading FAA seeking more LAANC suppliers months after industry criticism about “ol’ boy’s club forming”

China’s second-largest courier just got permission for drone delivery

Drone delivery has arrived in China.

SF Express, a courier in China, announced that one of its subsidiaries received the first official permit to deliver packages via drones.

The courier is focused on delivering items via drones to more sparsely populated areas. The company said it intends to use a few types of drones. Traditional manned aircraft will delivery items at large scale to major warehouses, followed by big drones delivering items to local warehouses and small drones making the actual deliveries to customers. Continue reading China’s second-largest courier just got permission for drone delivery

Startup uses Reddit to announce blockchain-based DJI drone rental service

An Australian startup took to Reddit to unconventionally announce a partnership with DJI dealers — a blockchain-based drone rental service.

Sound like the most 2018 sentence ever? You’re not wrong.

The startup markets provide  asset-tracking and payments services to “sharing economy” providers worldwide — including drones. Sharering calls itself as the “Amazon of the sharing economy,” using a distributed recording system based on blockchain technology, and claims that it can’t be broken or hacked.

Sharering announced this week that it would be partnering with DJI distributors in Australia to provide an online service for them to rent their drones to governments, corporations, and for events.

Sharering is a small company launched in 2017 that raised a $3.8 million funding round last month, according to Crunchbase. Continue reading Startup uses Reddit to announce blockchain-based DJI drone rental service

You could win $1,000 — every week — for your awesome drone footage

Have an amazing drone video? You could get a huge payday for it.

AirVūz, a drone video sharing social network, is hosting a drone video contest every week, and $1,000 is up for grabs.

The contest is dubbed the “Drone Video of the Week” contest, where one video maker will be chosen each week to win $1,000.

All drone videos uploaded to AirVūz.com are eligible to win. The contest begins Monday, April 2, and the contest’s ending date is still indefinite.

Continue reading You could win $1,000 — every week — for your awesome drone footage

New DJI XT2 integrates thermal camera with enterprise drones, further proving integration is key to making drones useful

When it was released in 2013, the original DJI Phantom was a remarkable drone, except for one big problem: you couldn’t see what the drone’s camera was seeing in real-time, meaning you were flying blind until you landed, unmounted the GoPro and uploaded its SD card to your computer. It was an awkward and clunky process that made for lots of missed photo opportunities and cumbersome fiddling of gear.

When the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ came out, aerial photography changed. When the camera is seamlessly integrated into the drone so it can be controlled and viewed in real time, photos not only get better, but new applications come about: spotting poachers over wildlife reserves, rescuing lost hikers or detecting where flames are in a burning building.

Today, DJI is doing for thermal camera-toting, enterprise drones what it did for the DJI Phantom. The Chinese drone manufacturer on Tuesday released the Zenmuse XT2 thermal imaging camera created in partnership with thermal camera maker FLIR Systems. The Zenmuse XT2 improves upon the existing Zenmuse XT camera, which was an Infrared camera designed to be integrated with DJI’s line of drones, by including not just the infrared camera, but a dual sensor to show a traditional 4K video feed in real-time as well. Continue reading New DJI XT2 integrates thermal camera with enterprise drones, further proving integration is key to making drones useful

What does the inside of a drone look like? Here’s a dissection of a DJI Phantom

Ever wonder what the inside of a drone looks like?

Southern California-based retailer Dronefly did a virtual drone dissection to show exactly what’s inside (click to expand the image size).

The dissected drone is a DJI Phantom 4, which was released in 2016 and was revolutionary for being the first consumer-grade drone to have a sensor capable of detecting obstacles and making decisions to autonomously fly around them. The DJI Phantom 4 drone only had a forward obstacle avoidance sensor, though most DJI drones today, including the new DJI Mavic Air, have a rear obstacle avoidance sensor as well. Other consumer-grade drones on the market today have evolved to have closer to a dozen obstacle avoidance sensors.

 

Related read: DJI Phantom 4 review: a drone light years in the future Continue reading What does the inside of a drone look like? Here’s a dissection of a DJI Phantom

DJI just got its largest commercial order ever: 1,000 drones for a construction company

DJI just got a huge custom order — 1,000 drones to be exact — and they’re headed to the construction industry.

The drones were ordered by Komatsu Smart Construction, a division of Komatsu, which is a Japanese corporation that manufactures construction, mining, and military equipment, as well as industrial equipment like press machines, lasers and thermoelectric generators.

The custom ordered is being fulfilled in partnership with Skycatch, a San Francisco-based commercial drone data company that uses drone data to create 3D maps. The 1,000 drones are manufactured by DJI and outfitted with specialized Skycatch technology, where they will fly autonomously over Komatsu construction sites to  come up with maps and models.

The data is intended to augment Komatsu Smart Construction’s new data service that enables robotic earth moving equipment to dig, bulldoze, and grade land autonomously. Continue reading DJI just got its largest commercial order ever: 1,000 drones for a construction company

Nominate the top leaders in the drone industry for the Women and Drones second annual award

Do you know of an incredible leader in the drone industry? The Women and Drones organization is now accepting submissions for their 2018 Women to Watch award.

Whether she’s a leader in technology, business, government relations, advocacy, research, journalism, education or agriculture, as long as she has made an impact in drones, then the judges want to know who she is! Nominations are being taken between now and Thursday, April 19 at 5 p.m. CT.

Any woman working in the drone industry is eligible to win, and you CAN nominate yourself. To enter, fill out the form here, including an essay of up to 500 words on why the nominee deserves to win.

Last year’s winners included Holly Kasun, cofounder of Flybrix, a company that makes drones kits out of LEGO® bricks, Lexie Janson, a high-profile drone racer from Poland, and General Manager of Intel Drone Light Shows Natalie Cheung, who is responsible for making Intel’s drone light shows possible. Her work at Intel has been seen over the skies of Walt Disney WorldCoachella and even the Super Bowl.

Read about all of 2017’s winners here.

Continue reading Nominate the top leaders in the drone industry for the Women and Drones second annual award