Category Archives: Flight Diaries

World of Drones Congress in Australia is a month away, and the lineup looks brilliant

Looking for an excuse to go to Australia?

The World of Drones Congress is coming to Brisbane, Australia this August, and the lineup looks brilliant. The conference is August 31 through September 2, with a bonus pre-Congress day of workshops on August 30.

The speaker lineup is the most diverse group of people I’ve seen at a conference yet, coming in from all over the globe and from a variety of industries. There’s Kathryn Cook, Facebook’s technical program manager for the Aquila drone project, DJI’s Director of Education Romeo Durscher, renowned conservationist Professor Lian Pin Koh and more.

The day before the conference officially starts will be a day of workshops, including the one I’m most excited about — a cinematography class by XM2, the same team that made the drone shots in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”pirates of the caribbean xm2 drone johnny depp

There will also be panelists, including Flying Ag Australia owner Meg Kummerow, a leader in drones for agriculture who was named one of Queensland’s Top 20 under 40 the Red Cross’s Aarathi Krishnan, and yours truly, who will be talking about the global drone economy alongside DaVinci Institute futurist Thomas Frey and Silicon Valley Robotics managing director Andra Keay,

Beyond the workshops and panels, there will be other events, including a design a drone competition for students

The conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Registration is open now.

Enter to win LowePro’s new DroneGuard Pro Inspired

Enter to WIN a LowePro DroneGuard case! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for details.

Protective gear maker LowePro has an all new lineup of drone backpacks and cases.

The company today announced the DroneGuard Pro Inspired as well as five new DroneGuard packs and cases.

The $199.95 DroneGuard Pro Inspired is designed for the DJI Inspire 1 or Inspire II drones and features a top-loading hangar compartment as well as flexible dividers to house an Inspire, transmitter, 6 batteries, mini tablet and other small essentials.

Related reads: Lowepro QuadGuard Kit for racing drones review

droneguardThe expanded DroneGuard series will feature new additions to the line including: Continue reading Enter to win LowePro’s new DroneGuard Pro Inspired

Get 20% off all new merch at the Drone Girl shop!

The Drone Girl shop has switched vendors — which means all new merchandise!

In light of major changes at American Apparel — the former Drone Girl vendor, the Drone Girl has switched up its clothing brand.

All the logos and designs you know and love are still there — just on a different brand of shirt. The best news for you is my new vendor is a lower cost than American Apparel — and those savings are passed on to you!fly me to the moon shirt

To make the news even sweeter, I want you to try out the new merchandise, so  — in addition to the new lower prices — I’m offering you 20% off the entire Drone Girl shop through the end of May. Use coupon code MAY20 to get the discount.

Happy flying, and happy shopping!

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.?

How to use a drone for aerial thermography

As thermal sensors become smaller, lighter, less expensive and more widely available on drones, more commercial drone applications are integrating aerial thermography.

Drones with thermal cameras are being used for inspecting HVAC units, wind turbines, cell towers, roofs, or finding missing people. And more drone companies are making it easy to incorporate thermal imaging in drones.

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, Autel announced a new camera for its X-Star, a FLIR Duo dual thermal and visual camera module, which can show thermal and standard, visual light images. It allows users to switch between the two in-flight, view both at the same time with picture-in-picture, or see a blended image of both, and will launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Yuneec also announced its H520, a six-rotor drone for commercial applications. One of its camera options is the CGO-ET dual thermal RGB camera.

But what are clients looking for in terms of data gathering? How do you handle post-processing of data? How can you build an aerial thermal imaging business?  UAV Coach, which has had tremendous success in its FAA Part 107 course (I used it, and passed my own Part 107!), is now launching a course on Aerial Thermal Imaging for Drone Pilots.

The self-paced course is available for $199.

The course primarily uses DJI products (ZenMuse XT Thermal Sensor and DJI Inspire) though of course there are plenty of other aircraft and sensor configurations. (The DJI Inspire and ZenMuse XT are widely used to capture accurate thermal data relatively easily and are representative of the capabilities of the majority of aerial thermography systems.)thermal imaging for uav pilots uav coach drone

 

Kimon Selfie Drone, CES, and the rise of bizarre press releases in my inbox

It’s CES 2017 this week, and that means my inbox is full of new drone products being announced!

A lot of it is good stuff — stay tuned for some really exciting news later this week. But a lot of it is downright ridiculous — or worse — pitches itself as something it is not.

Keyshare Technology today announced the launch of their Kimon “selfie” drone in the US market.  Its camera supports 4k/25fps video recording and at a price point of $399, seems reasonable for a consumer product. I look forward to reviewing it.

But here’s the sticking point: it calls itself “the first successful mass market selfie drone,” according to the press release screenshotted below.

Press release I just got for “first successful mass market drone.” Really?

 

As someone who gets lots of press releases about new product launches, my No. 1 pet peeve is this: drone marketers billing drones as the “first something or other” when they clearly are not.
Continue reading Kimon Selfie Drone, CES, and the rise of bizarre press releases in my inbox

Fire Safety with drones: How to use a drone to find and extinguish hot spots

When it comes to fires, smoldering logs and debris can create hot spots and reignite fires. Now, firefighters are using drones to find smoldering hot spots.

Last month, a fire in western North Carolina raged out of control, sending 7,100 acres of forest up in smoke. After firefighters successfully battled to control the wildfire, a team of drone pilots stepped in.

Drone pilots from Go Unmanned took a Matrice 600 with a Flir XT infrared camera and overflew the entire area, noticing many smoldering points remained in the burned out area. (The image below shows how an entire hillside looked like when it was lit with campfires in the “White-Hot” color schema, one of several color options offered by the Zenmuse XT).

The little white spots on the forested hillside in this photo are all areas of significant increased heat, most of them left over smoldering debris. For firefighters, it was surprising to see this many problem areas left over after the fire, pilots at Go Unmanned said.

The infrared camera on the drone gives a bird’s eye view of the hotspots, and through interactive guidance from the pilots, allows  firefighter on the ground to locate and uncover specific underground fires. Continue reading Fire Safety with drones: How to use a drone to find and extinguish hot spots