Category Archives: News

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

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

This pro football team is using drones during football games — and the drones are flying indoors, too

Drones are coming to disrupt yet another industry: pro football.

The Salina Liberty pro indoor football team based in Salina, Kansas is now playing with drones flying overhead. The drones are performing a variety of tasks, ranging from making the 35-foot ball drop to the head referee before opening kickoff, as well as capturing aerial footage of the games to livestream on the team’s Facebook page.

The drones most recently flew over Saturday’s game against the Bismarck Bucks, at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center.  The drones will fly during six home games this season.

The drones are operated by students at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus’s Applied Aviation Research Center. Continue reading This pro football team is using drones during football games — and the drones are flying indoors, too

DJI has a whopping 72% market share among Kittyhawk users

In case it wasn’t already clear that DJI has a mammoth market share in the drone industry, newly revealed data from Kittyhawk proves it.

San Francisco-based drone flight planning startup Kittyhawk analyzed all its user data to put together a comprehensive list of the most popular drones used by its customers.

Kittyhawk customers use its software for a range of drone-related tasks, whether it’s in the media, oil and gas or transportation industry.

Kittyhawk

By far, the DJI Mavic Pro is the most popular drone out there — totaling more than 21% of all drones entered into the Kittyhawk database. The Phantom 4 comes in at No. 2, making up just under 10% of all Kittyhawk registered drones Other DJI drones, including the Inspire line, the Spark and others in the Phantom line, round out spots three through seven. Continue reading DJI has a whopping 72% market share among Kittyhawk users