Interdrone 2018 just announced its keynote speaker — and it’s going to be big

Interdrone, one of the largest drone conferences in the U.S., just announced the keynote speaker for its 2018 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Adminstration Daniel K. Elwell will give the keynote presentation at this year’s conference on Sept. 5, which will be held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Daniel K. Elwell FAA Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
Courtesy FAA

Elwell, former Air Force lieutenant general and former commercial airline pilot for American Airlines, took over the role of heading the FAA in January 2018.  Elwell replaced outgoing FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, whose term had expired after being tapped by former President Obama in 2013 to lead the agency.

He was previously a senior vice president for safety, security and operations with Airlines for America (A4A), the leading trade group representing most of the nation’s major airlines.

This is the third consecutive year that a representative from the FAA will give the grand keynote. Continue reading Interdrone 2018 just announced its keynote speaker — and it’s going to be big

Watch “The Drone Girl” join forces with Bill The Drone Reviewer on YouTube!

Looking for a great YouTube channel to follow all about drones? Check out Bill The Drone Reviewer. And a great episode to start out with?  How about the one with yours truly?

I joined Bill, from the Bill The Drone Reviewer YouTube channel, for  his first official livestream called Tuesday Night Rotor Talk Live. We discuss NAB2018, the latest on the Autel EVO and the Mavic Pro 2 (yes, you read that right! It’s not a typo!).

Bill has amazing, kind fans! I love the livestream comments which you can find on the full link here.

Check it out!

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

Wish you could be the owner of a DJI drone, but not ready to fork over more than $100?

Ryze Technology, a Shenzhen-based tech company that launched in 2017,  announced its first-ever drone a year later. The drone is Tello, a $99 kid-friendly drone that combines DJI flight technology and an Intel processor to create a budget camera drone that also can be used to teach newbies the basics of programming.

It’s a great little drone for people looking for a low-cost introduction to stunt flying and shooting videos, as well as people looking to learn how to use drones how to code.

The Tello drone, which weighs just 80 grams, can fly for 13 minutes and shoot 5 megapixel photos. For context, DJI’s next-smallest drone, the DJI Spark, weighs 300 grams, can fly for 16 minutes and shoots 12 megapixel photos. The drone doesn’t come with an RC transmitter, but can be controlled via a mobile app (or an external one can be purchased separately).DJI Tello drone review Ryze drone

Tello drone review: how does it fly?

The main thing that sets the Tello apart from your typical “toy” drone is the Intel technology inside.

Because the Tello drone uses an Intel Movidius Myriad 2 VPU, which handles object recognition in DJI drones, the drone can also respond to hand gestures — just like DJI’s more high-end drones like the Spark and Mavic Air. It can even land in your hand and take off by being tossed in the air. For $99, that’s pretty incredible.

When flying in windless conditions, i.e. indoors, the Tello is incredibly stable and holds its position, making it easy for a newbie to learn how to fly.

However, the drone does not succeed in windy conditions — not even in mildly windy or breezy conditions. I made the mistake of flying Tello on the roof of my San Francisco apartment — do not try this!! It almost blew away! Continue reading Tello drone review: Ryze’s $99 drone that uses DJI and Intel Tech

DJI and Microsoft partner to build SDK for Windows 10

A software development kit for DJI drones is coming to Microsoft’s Windows 10.

DJI today announced a partnership with Microsoft in an effort to allow drone users to build native Windows applications that can remotely control DJI drones including autonomous flight and real-time data streaming.

The SDK will also allow the Windows developer community to integrate and control third-party payloads like multispectral sensors, robotic components like custom actuators, and more, exponentially increasing the ways drones can be used in the enterprise, according to DJI. Continue reading DJI and Microsoft partner to build SDK for Windows 10

How to build your own drone for $99

The following is a guest post by Jake Carter, a drone Enthusiast and writer at RC Hobby Review. Follow him on Facebook at RCHOBBYREVIEW.

Think you need several hundreds of dollars to buy a drone? You can build your own drone for as little as $99. For such complicated machines, drones have very few parts and don’t take fancy engineering to build one. Here’s exactly what you need to know to build your own drone

Choose a Quadcopter Frame Design

Quadcopters are the most common type of drone — recognizable for their “X” shape with a propeller on each tip of the frame. Frames also come in tricopter (three propellers), hexacopter (six propellers), and octocopter (eight propellers) designs. Hexacopters are great for redundancy; if one motor fails you still have some stability. Since they are so large, octocopters are typically reserved for flyers looking to carry a payload.

But if you’re looking to cut costs, a quadcopter is typically the best to get started with given its lower costs.

Buy a Carbon Fiber Frame

Carbon fiber is slightly more expensive than other frame options, but it’s lightweight and durable. It will last you much longer should you keep the drone for several years. The cheapest frame option is wood, but wood warps in the rain.

Plastic is commonly used, and it’s durable. If you have a 3D printer, you can even make your own plastic frame. Aluminum frames are also used given their light weight, but they are not as durable.

If you have a few extra dollars to spare, choose carbon fiber. If money is an issue, the next best option is plastic. Wood should only be used for beginner drones that you expect to be replaced.

The Martain II 220 mm and Lisam 210 mm are two quality carbon fiber frames at affordable prices. Continue reading How to build your own drone for $99

The end of Lipo batteries? Hydrogen fuel cells take the spotlight at AUVSI

As drone manufacturers search for power sources that will enable drones to fly for multiple hours — and without fears of potentially dangerous Lipo batteries —  drone companies are capitalizing on the rise of hydrogen fuel cells.

Hydrogen fuel cells, which have recently rose to the mainstream vernacular for their increased testing in consumer products such as cars, are looking to make their way into more drones.

Hydrogen fuel cells are a pollution-free form of power, converting hydrogen to electricity while leaving behind nothing but water and heat. They’re environmentally friendly, allow for long flight times and can last a longer lifespan than traditional batteries, which has commercial-grade drone companies hopping on the wagon.

“Typically the energy density of hydrogen fuel cells compared to a battery is 3-4x the amount of flight time compared to Lipo batteries,” said Callie Mortimer, Director of Business Development at FlightWave Aerospace Systems. “The longer drones can fly, it makes a massive difference to what many companies are trying to achieve.”hydrogen fuel cells intelligent energy flightwave uas drones

Related read: 15 things every Lipo battery user should know

That means drones can not only fly longer distances, but also fly in rural areas where it is otherwise difficult to charge batteries.

FlightWave Aerospace Systems, Inc displayed its Jupiter drone, which uses a lightweight 650-W Fuel Cell Power Module, prominently at the AUVSI 2018 conference this week in Colorado. Continue reading The end of Lipo batteries? Hydrogen fuel cells take the spotlight at AUVSI

LAANC testing rolls out this week in South Central USA

If you’re a drone pilot in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana or New Mexico, it just got a whole lot easier to fly a drone.

This week marked the first roll-out of the Federal Aviation Administration’s multiphase plan to test Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).

The LAANC program allows drone operators to use an interface (designed by FAA-selected private companies) to request approval to fly in restricted airspace. Operators will 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 previously required individual applications and took months.

The expansion officially started on Monday with facilities in the South Central USA. Here’s a list of all the spots participating in the first wave of the LAANC program. Continue reading LAANC testing rolls out this week in South Central USA

ESPN still bullish on drone racing as it gives green light to DRL season 3

The world of drone racing is still going strong, as ESPN announced that it has signed on the Drone Racing League for a third season.

DRL season 3 will premiere on ESPN on Sept. 6, showcasing drone pilots racing around different high-profile spots around the world, including the BMW Welt and the Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor amusement park at the Circus Circus Hotel in Las Vegas.

The TV series will feature 18 FPV pilots, racing to be crowned number one. They’ll race in three rounds (ranking, semi-finals and finals) over a series of 1-minute heats. They’ll be ranked based on times. The top racers will be invited to the  2018 DRL Allianz World Championship event in Saudi Arabia.DRL espn drone racing league fpv

The decision to host the final drone race of DRL season 3 in Saudi Arabia drone race has been controversial for the drone community. This is the first time a professional drone race will have been staged in the country, which is known for being unwelcoming toward minorities including women and the LGBTQ community. Continue reading ESPN still bullish on drone racing as it gives green light to DRL season 3