Intel reminds world that its drones are about more than just fancy light shows

When it comes to the drone world, Intel typically makes news due to its fireworks-inspired drone light shows (the chipmaker recently set a record for largest drone light show during the Olympics).

But today, Intel’s news is more about enterprise software and hardware for drones. Intel today released more details on its Intel Insight Platform, which was first announced last year at Interdrone.

Intel describes the Intel Insight Platform as a cloud-based digital asset management system that enables customers to store, share and manage data collected by drones. With that aerial data, Intel Insight Platform can generate 2D and 3D models, take measurements, share the information with teammates, and run data analytics.

The company also released its Mission Control flight planning software, which enables pilots to create automated 2D and 3D flight plans for commercial surveying, mapping and inspection missions.

On the hardware side, Intel released three new payloads for the  Intel Falcon 8+ system, designed to allow drones to carry better quality cameras, and is based on the full-frame Sony RX1R II camera which generates highly -detailed inspection data. Additionally, the Falcon 8+ system will also now have obstacle avoidance.

The Falcon 8+ drone is designed for commercial applications that aren’t quite as sexy as light shows — but rather inspections, land surveying or mapping.

Related readWatch the entire stream of Thursday’s Girls Who Drone event featuring Intel and the drone light show team

Of course, Intel couldn’t make a drone-related announcement without bringing up light shows in some capacity. The company also says that it intends to break its previous record for most drones flown simultaneously, which was done during the 2018 Winter Olympics, again this summer. The company plans to fly more than 1,500 drones in celebration of its 50th anniversary this summer.

Intel made today’s news at the AUVSI Xponential 2018 conference in Colorado.

2018 is the year of the drone partnership as Airbus Aerial, DroneBase join forces

The trend for drones in 2018? Partnerships — and lots of them.

As drone companies look for ways to advance in an increasingly crowded market, the solution may be in joining forces.

Yuneec surprised the drone community when it joined forces with software startup Pix4D, which is owned by Yuneec competitor Parrot. Camera hardware merged with drone hardware when thermal camera maker FLIR announced a dual 4K and thermal camera for DJI’s drones. Software companies are pairing up with software distributors to get ahead in the market, which DroneDeploy did with SoftBank.

And the latest partnership?  Drone startup DroneBase, which operates a network of drone pilots, has landed a deal with global aeronautics leader Airbus Aerial to create what it calls ” the world’s first multi-source data service solution for aerial imagery and data from a single provider. ”

Airbus Aerial has historically been a provider of information analysis for  data acquired satellites, high altitude aircraft and, yes, drones. With the DroneBase partnership, AirBus Aerial will be able to offer a wider range of drone-specific data within hours.

For example, insurers looking to quickly respond to natural disasters could leverage satellites from the partner Airbus Aerial to view entire cities at high resolution and analyze the damage levels within 12-24 hours to better support their customers, while drones, contracted through DroneBase, can view specific areas where more attention is needed.

DroneBase has received$17 million in funding from venture capitalists including Union Square Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Hearst Ventures and Pritzker Group, as well as from dronemaker DJI’s venture capital arm, Skyfund.

DroneBase says it has grown 10x each year for the past two years, and it has pilots active in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 60 other countries. It also says its pilots have completed over 100,000 drone missions for clients including Hilton hotels and Zillow, according to TechCrunch.


FLIR digs deeper into drones with software investment in DroneSense

FLIR may be known for its thermal cameras, but the Oregon-based company this month announced an investment in drone software from a startup called DroneSense.

FLIR makes thermal cameras for a variety of industries, but has recently ramped up its efforts in creating drone-specific thermal cameras — used fir applications such as giving farmers aerial views of their land, allowing firefighters to detect hot spots in buildings and for search and rescue crews looking to spot people.

And in line with FLIR’s public safety-focused ambitions, the company has invested in DroneSense, a software startup building a product intended to help organizations to build, manage, and scale unmanned aircraft programs. The investment is intended to help DroneSense to better collaborate on leveraging FLIR’s thermal imaging and other sensing payloads for UAS platforms used by first responders.DroneSense FLIR software

“In particular, the DroneSense software will enable those first responders to better scale and track their FLIR payloads to create more effective operations designed to save lives in emergency situations,” a spokesperson for FLIR said. Continue reading FLIR digs deeper into drones with software investment in DroneSense

Former Google X Project Wing leader joins powerhouse team at Hogan Lovells

Google X’s Project Wing, the arm of Google working on drones for use cases including burrito delivery, lost a key player to legal practice Hogan Lovells.

The global law firm announced this week that Laura Ponto, former head of public policy and regulatory affairs at Google X’s Project Wing, has joined its firm as counsel in its Washington, D.C. office.

With the news, Hogan Lovells is increasingly solidifying its status as one of the leading influencers in the drone world, in what Hogan Lovells employees call “a major coup.” Continue reading Former Google X Project Wing leader joins powerhouse team at Hogan Lovells

Winning video in AirVūz weekly contest took five years to make

The winning video in this week’s AirVūz Drone Video of the Week contest went into production before “Mavic” was a word in our vocabulary.

Mexican drone pilot Tarsicio Sañudo spent five years creating the winning video called “Mexico: a trip of 5 years“, which was shot in more than 30 different locations around Mexico, including its coastlines, festivals, skylines and natural wonders.

Since the course of filming was over such a long time-span (especially in drone years!), Sañudo’s equipment matured a lot too. His film was shot on a total of six drones — all made by DJI: the Phantom 1, Phantom 2, Flame Wheel F450, Inspire 1, Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro.

Earlier this month, drone video sharing platform AirVūz launched a “Drone Video of the Week” contest, where one video maker is chosen each week to win $1,000. All drone videos uploaded to AirVū are eligible to win, and the contest’s ending date is still indefinite.

Here’s how the contest works: five videos are chosen each week by the AirVūz staff. Out of those five, fans will have the chance to vote each week between Monday and Wednesday to choose the final winner. Winning videos will be announced every Friday. Winners are eligible to re-enter every week, which means the contest could be a lucrative career for the most talent of the drone video makers out there.

The other four finalist videos this week were The 10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Sri Lanka,” “Mystic Iceland,” “My First Year of Filmmaking” and “EPIC Lofoten Islands in Winter.”

AirVūz spokesperson Tyler Mason told that videos are judged on qualities including quality of footage, piloting skills, editing techniques and music choice.

AirVūz is no stranger to hosting video contests. The social network also holds an annual video contest. See 2017’s winners here.


Former Google, Facebook exec just joined a multimillion dollar drone company

The new Chief Operating Officer at  Airobotics is bringing with him chops from Facebook and Google.

The Israeli-based drone startup announced today that Richard Wooldridge would be its new Chief Operating Officer. Wooldridge previously served as the COO at Facebook’s Building 8, which worked to build experimental hardware products such as augmented reality glasses, a smart speaker, video conferencing device and a human-computer interface capable of turning people’s thoughts into digital actions. He also worked previously as COO for Google’s Advanced Technology and Products Group.

Airobotics is the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, as licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel. The startup has developed a platform that is fully automated, industrial grade, on-demand and multi-purpose. Its features include a robotic arm for automatic payload and battery loading and an emergency landing parachute.

Related read: 6 things drone enthusiasts should look out for at SXSW (including Amazon drones!)

Wooldridge had previously been an investor in Airobotics. The company secured $42.5 million in its latest funding round, and its other investors include BlueRun Ventures China, as well as Microsoft Ventures and OurCrowd.

The U.S. military’s Defense Innovation Unit is experimenting with anti-drone detection

The U.S. military is turning its attention to anti-drone detection.

The  Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), which is a United States Department of Defense (DoD) organization focused on how the U.S. military can use emerging technologies, this week announced a partnership with Dedrone, a San Francisco-based startup building drone detection software.

DIUx is experimenting with Dedrone’s technology to provide situational awareness of drone activity over protected sites, according to a news release. Dedrone has worked with the DoD previously through a two-month airspace activity survey with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Washington, D.C. During this time, Dedrone and JBM-HH detected unauthorized drones infiltrating the airspace, despite the area being a no-fly zone. Continue reading The U.S. military’s Defense Innovation Unit is experimenting with anti-drone detection