Category Archives: Reader Submissions

Mountain Dew bets on drone racing

PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew has always had a strong presence in sports-related advertising. It’s a brand that targets sports and athletes that represent a certain lifestyle and attitude. It’s a  brand synonymous with the extreme.

Now, however, Mountain Dew is pushing past established sports, instead boldly embracing the rising sport of drone racing with the announcement that it will sponsor a one-hour racing special this August. Called the “DR1 Invitational,” this special will air on the Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and will showcase 12 of the world’s best drone racing pilots (with Mountain Dew specifically sponsoring Tommy “UmmaGawd” Tibajia).

The races will be held at the Sepulveda Dam in Los Angeles, with the pilots situated atop the dam, and will consist of several different rounds of competition. Continue reading Mountain Dew bets on drone racing

6 tips for better aerial photography with a drone

The following article is written by Thomas Foster who is an owner of website bestquadwithcamera.com and a quadcopter enthusiast.

So you have a drone, and now you want to make better pictures? Here are 6 tips to get started:

Brendan Wong/SkyPixel
Brendan Wong/SkyPixel

Choose the right time: The landscape can change dramatically over the year, and even through a day. Try shooting the same spot at different times to see the differences, or if there’s one specific shot you want, pay attention to where the sun will be to avoid unwanted shadows.

Some photographers swear by shooting at “The Golden Hour,” which is generally the first hour of light after sunrise, and the last hour of light before sunset. The sun is low in the sky, producing a diffused soft light that provides the opposite effect to harsh midday sun shadows.

Adjust the camera settings: The key factors you need to understand are ISO, shutter speed and aperture.

ISO: indicates the level of sensitivity of your camera to light. A low ISO number (ie. 100 or 200) indicates low sensitivity to available light. Photographers on a bright, sunny day would want a low ISO. A high ISO number indicates high sensitivity to light, which you would want if you were shooting indoors or at night. The higher the ISO, the more grain you will see in your images.

Victor Wang/SkyPixel
Victor Wang/SkyPixel

Shutter Speed: This is the amount of time a camera shutter is open to allow light into the sensor. Slow shutter speeds allow more light in and are ideal for shooting at night, but could also cause more blur. High shutter speeds allow less time for light to enter the sensor, meaning your picture could turn out darker. The photo above has a relatively slow shutter speed to show the motion of the cars. Continue reading 6 tips for better aerial photography with a drone

UAV Coach launches online drone training course for new pilots

UAV Drone Training Image

The following piece is an advertisement by UAV Coach. Use THIS LINK AND type in coupon code “DRONEGIRL” to get 10% off your class.

UAV Coach, a drone blog and online community, recently launched a 6-part drone training course.

The 90-minute video and text-based course is geared towards brand new and beginner pilots who want to break into the industry and hone their flight skills.

“I built this online drone course to train new pilots how to fly safely and more confidently, and how to make money in the drone industry,” said creator Alan Perlman said.UAV Boot Camp — Article Google Docs

The training course comes in light of news that the FAA will likely require all drones weighing more than a half a pound to be registered.  The registration would take place through apps or Web sites, and could require some educational component.

Though this training course comes in addition to (and of course, ahead of) that. Continue reading UAV Coach launches online drone training course for new pilots

Building the future (literally) with drone construction teams

The following guest post was submitted by Andrew Armstrong.

Photo courtesy of Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Photo courtesy of Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich

Drones and drone technology are being employed to help with not just inspecting construction sites, but also doing the construction themselves.

ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in Zurich, Switzerland is using drones to build walkable rope bridges. Referred to as “flying construction robots,” the drones assist designers with constructing walking bridges that can support the weight of an average-sized adult, according to ETH Zurich.

The marriage of emerging drone technology with 3D printing capabilities would result in unlimited possibilities for designers to envision the creation of structures that would otherwise be inaccessible by means of traditional construction methods. A designer could create design, such as a human pathway between two natural occurring cliffs, and use drones that possess 3D printing capabilities to weave a spatial structure that could accommodate the design and natural contours of the cliffs and space between them. Continue reading Building the future (literally) with drone construction teams

Old MacDonald had a drone: the case for legalizing drones in farming

By Sacha Marie

We’ve all seen or read comparisons of drones like the Phantom 3 vs Phantom 2, arguments for GoPros vs built-in cameras, or the trending uses for drones such as wedding photography. While it’s all very much relevant, environmental uses for drones are becoming more prominent; specifically in farming.

A drone flies over vineyards of the Pape Clement castle, belonging to Bordeaux winemaker Bernard Magrez in the soutwestern French town of Pessac. JEAN PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images
A drone flies over vineyards of the Pape Clement castle, belonging to Bordeaux winemaker Bernard Magrez in the soutwestern French town of Pessac. JEAN PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images

The software

Farmers are starting to use drones for monitoring crops and using them to detect and prevent problems. Drones give farmers the ability to gain immediate knowledge about their fields, minimizing time needed to sort the problem then fix it.

Drones have become more specific to agriculture, coming with various types of sensors for temperature, plant surveillance, even water quality assessments.

What’s new?

The development for these types of drones have advanced, coming out with precision drones specifically for farming. Like their DJI counterparts, these drones will be able to be equipped with different cameras for different sensors.

The idea behind having advanced sensors is that it will give farmers the ability to increase productivity and reduce crop damage. Drones have the ability to see what farmers can’t, and they can do work at a faster rate. It also gives farmers the ability to be specific and pinpoint problems instead of having to treat the entire crop.

However recent updates will have sensors built into the drones themselves. Agricultural specific drones will also have sensors to track and keep stats on livestock, much like the drones being used to help track wildlife and prevent poaching.

The future for farmers

Agriculture is a prominent field, with technologies that are going to help make supplies more sustainable for a growing world. Drones can help give accurate results and collect data not otherwise able to collect through manual work. So, while technology is catching up to the needs of agriculture workers, the FAA rules and regulations are just barely getting there.

Commercial uses for drones in gathering information are still against the rules and regulations, unless you apply for exemptions, and even then the exemptions come with heavy guidelines. Basically, use of these types of drones is no longer ‘illegal’, but gaining an exemption is a hefty process. Unfortunately, this leaves farmers little options for using drones unless they’re approved. It’s asking our agricultural workers to put progress on hold and stay in the past.

Where do you see the future of drones in agriculture and farming going? What are your thoughts on the FAA’s stance on these drones? And how do you think it could improve?

How to find the ideal drone battery

This post was submitted by reader Kevin Skaggs on behalf of Dronefly. Got a post to submit? Contact Drone Girl here.

LiPo batteries   Flickr   Photo SharingIt’s small. It’s lightweight. It’s capable of powering the unmanned flying object for a decent amount of time. Getting ready to purchase your first drone (or upgrade to a new one)? Here are 5 tips for maximizing battery life.

● Choose the biggest battery possible that won’t weigh the drone down.

● Experiment with propeller size–if you aren’t attaching a camera, a smaller propeller is best.

● Charge the battery in the hours before you use the drone. Charging the battery days before causes rechargeable batteries to lose power.

● Avoid flying your drone in excessively windy or rainy conditions, as they cause the drone to work harder and therefore drain the battery.

● Recharge your battery in a cool environment to avoid reducing capacity. Charging it halfway is also recommended to avoid overcharging. Continue reading How to find the ideal drone battery