Can Amazon drones actually deliver packages? 4 questions, 4 experts.

Amazon drones could be flying through the sky delivering your purchases in fewer than 30 minutes, according to an announcement CEO Jeff Bezos made in November.

It drew skeptics and supporters, questions and complaints. What do the experts say?

Rajapack spoke to four experts in the drone industry to get insight into whether or not the Amazon is feasible. Here’s an excerpt of their story:

01Dr. Arthur Richards – Senior lecturer in Dynamics & Control at the University of Bristol and member of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Q: What are the technological challenges facing the introduction of drones to this sector? What challenges will the drones themselves face during delivery?

A: The drones will need to handle wind, rain, snow, ice, curious birds or even ambitious thieves.  Solutions to many of those challenges exist in the lab, but integrating them into one robust product won’t be easy or cheap.  Proving the safety of that integrated system will be extremely tough.  Scaling the capability up to large numbers will be even tougher. Continue reading Can Amazon drones actually deliver packages? 4 questions, 4 experts.

FAA releases commercial drone cease and desist letters

The FAA released a series of documents to a man named Patrick McKay in response to his FOIA request for the cease and desist letters that were sent to commercial drone operators.

This site, as well as others including, has requested the same documentation, and the FAA is more than 7 months overdue in responding to those requests.

It’s unclear why the FAA responding to this particular request at this time.

The documents were posted by the recipient at

“The FAA has finally provided the first set of documents in response to a FOIA request I filed back in April 2013, requesting copies ‘of all records related to investigations and enforcement actions related to alleged violations of regulations, rules, policies, or advisory circulars by operators of unmanned aerial systems,’ McKay wrote. “After months of delays, excuses, and requesting extensions, they have provided copies of 17 cease and desist letters sent by various FAA regional offices to UAS operators in 2012 and 2013.” Continue reading FAA releases commercial drone cease and desist letters

This drone video isn’t for those afraid of heights

This video is taking dronies to new heights, quite literally.

Shot by Deyvisson Bastos at the Devil’s Needle in Brazil, this video will take you on a monstrous and dramatic journey over a 6,725 foot climb in the beautiful Serra dos Órgãos national park in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Check it out!

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Want to write for Drone Girl? We want your submissions!

Surely you have feelings about drones, and we want you to share them here!

Drone Girl is now accepting article submissions so you can get your voice heard! Maybe you’ve talked your families’ ears off about the wondrous things a drone can do, or perhaps you’ve found some awesome drone video that must be shared.

Here's a selfie of Drone Girl! If you join our team, we'll share your drone selfies too!
Here’s a selfie of Drone Girl! If you join our team, we’ll share your drone selfies too!

Maybe you just want to post once, or maybe you’d like to post once a week. Either way, I want more voices on Drone Girl (you don’t have to own a drone, and you don’t have to be a girl…you just have to write riveting content about drones)! Send me a message with the subject line DG Reader Submission and let’s chat about posting it here!

Here are some ideas of posts I would love to see:

  • Product Reviews
  • Top Photos
  • Flying Tips
  • How-To’s
  • Drone News Commentary

They can be serious or silly, filled with GIFs or packed with powerful prose. Either way, if you are interested in joining the Drone Girl team, then I’m interested in hearing from you!

FAA now 7 months overdue on releasing public records, ignoring journalists requests

The FAA is now more than 7 months overdue on responding to requests for documentation regarding drone operators who have received cease and desist letters for commercial drone use.

Journalists at submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the FAA requesting this information, which has been subject to numerous approved extensions. The FAA last requested an extension through Dec. 30, 2013. Since then, the FAA has not responded to MuckRock’s requests.

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 3.53.16 PMAbove is the text exchange between MuckRock and the FAA.

Below is the last message from the FAA, in which they ask for an extension.

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 3.53.21 PM
Since we have yet to receive public records from the FAA, in the meantime, Drone Girl has created an online Document Tracker to study where and to whom the letters of gone. Check out our document tracker here.

Under FOIA, the FAA is legally obligated to provide the general public with full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased documents, including the ones we requested regarding commercial drone operation cease and desist orders.

Stay with Drone Girl for the latest updates on this information.

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11 Disney movies where happy endings would have changed with a drone

11. Magic carpet gets laid off as happy couple opts to save money and explore the whole new world with a drone


10. Rapunzel spends rest of life in her tower, curiosity for floating lanterns quelled by “follow-me” drone


9. Wendy loses will to fly to Neverland, after Mr. Darling gives her a toy drone instead as a “grown-up” present

peter pan Continue reading 11 Disney movies where happy endings would have changed with a drone

Inside look: how a wildlife photographer uses a drone to get stunning views of the Serengeti

A new era has arrived. It’s an era where aerial images are the norm — where the robots that fly through the sky to generate them are increasingly commonplace. It’s an era where a YouTube search for ‘drone’ generates millions of results — namely 8-minute videos of start-to-finish flights hovering over track houses.

But it’s an era inspired by visual pioneers like Will Burrard-Lucas, a UK-based wildlife photographer.

Screenshot of video by Will Burrard-Lucas

His newly released video called Serengeti is simply breathtaking, taking viewers in flight over wildebeest migrations and getting up close and personal with a hyena attacking its prey. It looks part computer-generated, part dreamland. But it’s real — and shot with a home-made drone.

They’re stunning wildlife shots, and they ‘re no longer restricted to animated scenes from The Lion King. Instead, they’re restricted to the furthest stretches of the imagination which, for Burrard-Lucas, reaches pretty far.

Burrard-Lucas is one of a new generation of “Drone Photographers.” He has built seven drones with mismatched parts to create the perfect wildlife drone. With he, he was able to gather the stunning shots generated in the above video.

“The drones I’ve been making now have different parts sort of cobbled together,” he said.

Burrard-Lucas first got into remote cameras back in 2009.

“Drones were just sort of the next logical thing,” he said. “Obviously drones have come a long way in the last year.”

Screenshot of video by Will Burrard-Lucas

A long way is no exaggeration. In just the past few days, companies have announced drones that fly with DSLR cameras right out of the box — no tinkering required. Those fall in the likes of DJI’s newly unveiled S1000, which is rumored to go for $4000.

“They’re going to get more and more reliable,” Burrard-Lucas said. “More and more people are going to use them. They already are exploding in popularity. The only way to get these shots before was to charter a helicopter.”

So just how did Burrard-Lucas capture his magnificent Serengeti-shots sans helicopter?

All it took was just one of his drones and a GoPro to record video.

“GoPros aren’t the best cameras in all conditions, but as long as you know how to use them in the right light, they produce amazing stuff,” he said.

Live video feedback allows him to see just where his copter is going.

Burrard-Lucas spent two weeks out on the Serengeti to gather the images, partially due to technology limitations with batteries (he has four batteries).

Screenshot of video by Will Burrard-Lucas
Screenshot of video by Will Burrard-Lucas

“You only have so much flight time before you have to recharge,” he said. “I could maximum do an hour at a time, and I would do flights in both the morning and the evening.”

Burrard-Lucas estimated his four-minute video was compiled from about 10 hours of footage.

Burrard-Lucas said he believes the drones are an effective way of gathering images of wildlife.

“Typically these animals aren’t used to threats from the air, so when they see this, they typically aren’t bothered by it,” he said. “Obviously they can hear it, but I’m trying to make it as quiet as possible.”

That’s in contrast to filming from the ground, which he has experience with, particularly through his other autonomous camera contraption — the BeetleCam, a ground-roving camera mount.

“With antelope, if they see something moving in the ground and aren’t sure what it is, they’ll move; they aren’t going to take any risks.”

Burrard-Lucas is already planning to return to Africa next week for more aerial filming, this time in Botswana.

As for traveling with his drones, it’s not easy.

“The case looks like it has a Bazooka in it,” he said. “It does draw a bit of attention.”

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The 6 cutest little mini-drones you’ll ever see

6. Syma X1 4 Channel 2.4G RC Quad Copter – BumbleBee

61a9QRW7Y7L._SL1500_It’s a big kid toy, and its 3-axis flight control system allows this guy to flip, roll and more. This Bumblebee copter can fly indoors and outdoors. The cheapest drone on this list, it’ll run you $34.45 on Amazon.

5. AeroVironment Nano Hummingbird


This drone is aesthetically beautiful, and it also has some REALLY powerful technology. Unlike all the other drones on the list, this one is not a consumer drone, but rather a spy drone developed as a military prototype.  It looks too real — and out of this world.

4. The drone from Flubber.flubber1997m720phdtvx26

Not for sale. Not any less cute. Probably THE cutest. Continue reading The 6 cutest little mini-drones you’ll ever see