Postmates can now deliver you a drone

Postmates delivers most people food. But for the drone addicts of the world, it can bring you a drone.

Silicon Valley-based food delivery startup Postmates is partnering with drone rental startup Up Sonder to connect drone owners with people who want to rent those drones. Up Sonder also allows for deliveries through UberRUSH.

UpSonder allows customers to find a rent drones or services from users who do own a drone. Once a match has been made, Postmates will actually deliver the drone so the drone owner and renter don’t have to coordinate pickup times.

For Up Sonder users who live in places that don’t offer Postmates, the provider and renter will have to make their own arrangements to meet up and exchange the drone. Continue reading Postmates can now deliver you a drone

Why women are the future of the drone industry

Who runs the (drone) world? Girls!

I spoke with Inc. magazine about the drone industry in an article called “Why Women Are the Future of the Drone Industry.” I shared three of the top reasons why the future of drones is female. Read Inc.’s entire article here.

1. Women have been pioneering technology for a very long time.

“Ada Lovelace is credited as being the world’s first computer programmer — and that was back in the 1800s,” French notes. “Today, many of the pioneers in the drone industry are women. Helen Greiner, co-founder of the company that makes the Roomba robot vacuum cleaners, is now an executive at CyPhy works. Maria Stefanopoulos is a producer at Good Morning America and the person behind all the drone broadcasts on the show. Natalie Cheung with Intel was in charge of bringing drones to nighttime entertainment shows at Disney World. I could go on forever listing names of female pioneers in drones. Even one of TacoCopter’s founders, Star Simpson, is a woman — and that’s one of the drone applications people are most excited about today!” Continue reading Why women are the future of the drone industry

Meet New York-filmmaker and drone pilot Victoria Sendra

Meet Victoria Sendra, a Brooklyn, NY-based filmmaker (producer/director/cinematographer/editor) who incorporates drones into her work. Sendra directed a music video for alternative/indie singer JFDR (whose full name is Jofridur Akadottir)’s single “Wires,” which was shot entirely on a drone. Find her on Instagram and on her personal website.

Drone Girl: How long have you been flying drones, and how did you get into it?

Victoria Sendra: I have only been flying drones since September! I was working on a dance film in a huge building in NYC and realized that it would be a great opportunity to get a drone and learn how to use it in time for the shoot. I grew up playing with remote controlled cars, planes, helicopters and boats, and so it took very little time to learn how to fly. I named my drone Eva Bot.
DG: At what point did you decide this music video should be shot on a drone?

VS: After I got my drone, I reached out to Jofri (we had worked together on a music video earlier that year) and asked if she would like to go out and film a video. She got back to me a few months later with the concept and we went upstate to film in the woods.

DG: What gear did you use to shoot the video?

VS: A DJI Phantom 4.

DG: That’s one of the best drones out there! Excellent choice. So what are some of the challenges of shooting a music video on a drone vs. a traditional camera? Continue reading Meet New York-filmmaker and drone pilot Victoria Sendra

Will we see drones manufactured in the U.S.?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about drone manufacturing. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Do you think we will see Drones manufactured in the U.S.? There are many fine products on the market at this time but of course we feel a loyalty to our country! I own 5 drones so far !

-Pat

Hey Pat!

You bring up a very interesting point. While I would also love to buy American-made products to support U.S. businesses, the reality is, most of the drones in the world are not made in the U.S.

There have been a number of attempts at U.S. manufactured drones, but none have succeeded. “Solo” drone maker 3D Robotics was based in Berkeley, Calif, with a large office in San Diego, Calif. (its main manufacturing plant was just across the border in Tijuana, Mexico) but it has since transitioned away from manufacturing commercial drones after laying off a number of staff. San Mateo, Calif.-based GoPro also laid off employees after recalling its Karma drone because they were falling from the sky.  Though, the Karma drone is back on the market. In January, the makers of San Francisco-based Lily, a widely-hyped drone that never actually made it to market, announced they were calling it quits and would refund those who made pre-orders.

The major companies that are left — DJI, Yuneec and Autel — are all Chinese companies, and many of the smaller drone companies are also mostly based outside of the U.S.

I discussed this phenomenon with Steve McIrvin, CEO of Autel Robotics USA. Continue reading Will we see drones manufactured in the U.S.?

DJI is dominating the consumer drone industry, so which companies are left?

The following is an excerpt of a piece I wrote for MarketWatch. Read the entire story here. 

The consumer drone world is crashing.

In September, California drone company 3D Robotics laid off 150 members of its staff. Two months later, GoPro Inc. GPRO, -0.86%  announced it would lay off 200 employees after recalling its Karma drone because they were falling from the sky. Parrot SA PARRO, -0.82%  , which makes the Bebop drone, announced in January a plan to reduce its drone team of 840 employees by 290 people—about one-third. In January, the makers of Lily, a widely-hyped drone that never actually made it to market, announced they were calling it quits.

So what’s left? Mostly SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd., a private Chinese company that some analysts believe has a market share as high as 85%. DJI, with a valuation of $8 billion, says sales volume in 2015 was 100 times more than that of 2011. The company rose to popularity with its ready-to-fly Phantom drone, and recently introduced a wildly popular, foldable drone called the Mavic.

But there are other companies still fighting for the dwindling market share that DJI does not own. Mota Group Inc. hopes to go public with its lineup of cheaper drones. Yuneec International and Autel Robotics, both Chinese drone manufacturers, are solid contenders to hang on in the high-end drone fight with DJI, and they’re working to avoid or face down the many problems that damaged other competitors.

Read the rest of this story here.

The compete starter’s guide to FPV flying

The following is a guest post by David over at SkilledFlyer.com. He’s got tons of drone news, tutorials and reviews. Check out his site!

FPV flying — you may have seen it at a MakerFaire, at a drone conference, or perhaps even on ESPN.

FPV stands for “First Person Flying,” which is when you see what your drone’s camera sees in real time. Imagine it like a first-person video game, except you’re interacting with the real world.

What Are the Benefits to FPV Flying?

Traditionally, people would fly drones by line-of-sight. But this has some drawbacks. First, you’re limited to flying within a relatively short distance. When you fly via FPV, you can fly very far away (sometimes up to several miles). With a model like the Syma X8C, you can only fly as far as your eyes will let you.

A post shared by Zoe FPV (@zoefpv) on

Secondly, FPV flying is much more immersive. It’s a great feeling being able to see what your drone’s camera sees as you fly. For maximum impressiveness, it’s recommended that you go with FPV goggles over a standard FPV transmitter display. Trust me- it’s way better. Continue reading The compete starter’s guide to FPV flying

Drones will now keep your home safe

The following guest post was submitted by Chris Schneider of Awesome-Drones.com. Check out his site here.

At January’s Consumer Electronics Show, interactive home security company “Alarm” announced it is working on a smart drone that monitors your house. No, it’s not something straight out of the movie flubber where that little yellow flying drone called “ weebo “ flies around and monitors the house.

The idea behind this smart drone is that if an indoor motion sensor picks up movement while the homeowner is sleeping, the drone takes off and flies to that location, while you stay in bed and monitor the whole thing from your smartphone.

Alarm is not alone in using drones for home security. Other startups including Sunflower Labs, Secom Co and Eighty Nine Robotics from Chicago are starting to develop these automated security drones, though none of those are able to function indoors.

Alarm’s system is tailored to both indoors and outdoors, according to Dan Kerzner which is the Chief Product Officer. The drone is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight platform.  The drone also doesn’t fly around the property 24/7 (as that would be costly and potentially dangerous and annoying), but instead is only enabled to fly after the hours the user designates.

Once triggered, it flies to the location and starts recording and live streaming back to your phone. Of course, the sight of a loud, flying object coming closer might be enough to scare off intruders.

The following guest post was submitted by Chris Schneider of Awesome-Drones.com.

Ask Drone Girl: where can I find music for my drone videos?

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about music for your drone videos. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

Do you have any website to refer me to for music free of copyrights to use for aerial video editing? Thank you.

-Jean Philippe

I’ve never gotten this question before. And I like it!

If you are posting your videos for the public (not just a family home video), then you need to either get the rights from the musician to use that music, or you need to use rights-free music. Any video posted to social networks like Facebook and YouTube also require you to either get permission from the artist to use their music or use rights-free music.

My favorite source of rights-free music is Free Music Archive. If the work is under a Creative Commons license, you may use the work as long as you abide by the license conditions, which are outlined below and in more detail on the Creative Commons website.

For my own Drone Girl videos, my video producer, Hamilton Nguyen, says he uses music from BenSound. They have great, simple background tracks.

Readers, where do YOU find music for your videos? Leave your tips in the comments below.

Happy flying, and happy video editing!

Drone Girl

Reporting on drones, sometimes with drones