Yuneec announces retail price for Typhoon H with collision detection

Yuneec International’s Typhoon H is now available for preorder, with deliveries set to begin in two weeks. The cost to you? $1,299.

Highlights of the Typhoon H — expected to be a huge upgrade from the Yuneec Typhoon — include proximity detection, intending to prevent collisions with obstacles. If some type of failure occurs, the Typhoon H has a failsafe system that allows it to remain stable and land.

The lightweight, carbon fiber Typhoon H has six rotors (a safety feature in case one of the motors fails), a 360-degree gimbal camera and retractable landing gear. And though it may be large in the air, it can become compact for travel, with foldable arms and propellers that disconnect easily.

The drone comes with a camera that shoots 4K videos and 12 megapixel skills. For a limited time, buyers will also receive a free Wizard controller.

The Intel-funded, Chinese drone-maker is relatively new to the drone scene, but with this latest product, is rounding out its family of drones that start at $499 for lower models.

The drone is set to be a strong competitor to DJI’s Phantom 4, which arrived Tuesday at the Apple Store. The Phantom 4 is priced slightly higher at $1,399.

How (and where) you can legally shoot commercial video with a drone

Is commercial drone use illegal in the U.S.? Nope! But there ARE are regulations at the federal, state and local levels.

But for someone intending to use a drone for something as innocuous as getting a bird’s­eye view of a cityscape, a field of crops, a wedding ceremony or a snowboard run, regulations can be confusing.

That’s why the team at AllDigital, Inc. put together the infographic below. It’s designed to help video professionals navigate the ever­changing legal landscape as it applies to drones — and especially using drones to capture video.

Infographic: What You Need To Know About Shooting Video With a Drone
Source: Infographic: What You Need To Know About Shooting Video With a Drone

Ask Drone Girl: I have never flown a drone before. Should I buy a Phantom 4?

Do you have a question for Drone Girl? Submit it here.

Dear Drone Girl,

My question is in regards to the Phantom 4. I will be purchasing a drone and have never flown one before. The 4 sounds great but I am concerned about not being able to upgrade cameras, etc because of the design. I would like to use my investment money wisely. Do you have any input into this issue?

From, Karen Rphantom

Hey Karen,

I had a chance to fly the Phantom 4 a couple weeks ago, and let me tell you, it’s great! It’s totally counter-intuitive to fly into an object and have it not crash, but hey, that’s what makes the Phantom 4 so fantastic. Continue reading Ask Drone Girl: I have never flown a drone before. Should I buy a Phantom 4?

DJI’s Phantom 4 is here — and incredible

This is an excerpt of a story originally written for Read the entire piece here.

DJI has unveiled its smartest drone yet: it’s the first consumer drone to have the ability to sense and avoid obstacles and marks a huge leap in preventing drone crashes.

DJI’s Phantom 4 drone, unveiled Tuesday, has two forward-facing optical sensors that can scan for obstacles and automatically direct the drone to fly above the obstacle to avoid it. If it can’t fly above the obstacle (for example, a roof overhead or the object is simply too tall) the drone will hover in front of the object until it is manually redirected.

The drone will sell for $1,399 on DJI’s website, but otherwise will be available only through the Apple Store from March 15 to March 29. Continue reading DJI’s Phantom 4 is here — and incredible

Meet the filmmakers behind ‘Drona’

The Bay Area Drone Film Festival is set for this Sunday in Silicon Valley. Ahead of the festival, we caught up with Chafic Saad and Kris Lee, founders of Kind Motion Pictures and the creators of ‘Drona,’ one of the nominees for the Narrative/Statement/Cause category of the festival.

Drone Girl: What is your film about?

Chafic Saad: It’s centered around Kecak, which started in the 1930s as a secular art form made for tourists in Bali as a local type of entertainment. The film was made in Bali and grew off that. Every village has a different style of Kecak where they sit in a circle and do different types of chanting.

Photo courtesy of Chafic Saad
Photo courtesy of Chafic Saad

DG: How were you able to get the access to shoot this?

Kris Lee: We went for the 7th International Body Music Festival, which was in Bali this past year. We got in touch with the founders, and we got the green light.

DG: It was that easy?

CS: When we first started filming Kecak we realized it was very loud, and Kecak is vocal music. When we were filming it was a little too loud and we were asked to land it. We felt defeated at that point. We came this far, we landed the drone into Bali and now we can’t film. Continue reading Meet the filmmakers behind ‘Drona’

Meet the woman whose project uses drones to study El Nino’s impact on California

Earlier this week we told you about the Nature Conservancy’s Phones and Drones volunteer project. Now, meet one of the women behind the project.

As El Nino hits the West Coast, it’s a prime time for scientists to use the weather patterns as a crystal ball for future climate change. Tides are higher, and there are more storms. The Nature Conservancy’s Sarah Newkirk is spearheading a project that looks at the coast line using images from drones, shot by “citizen scientists” — essentially anyone with a drone.

For drone operators interested in volunteering with the project, visit this site.

Sarah Newkirk

Drone Girl: Why did this project come about?

SN: I direct the California Coastal Project at the Nature Conservancy of California, and our job is to  makes sure we still have natural shorelines, but we have a land development threat. Our communities are growing, but there is sea level rise, so coastal habitats are getting squeezed out of existence.

DG: So what’s your role?

SN: We’re working to help communities and decision makers make wise decisions about using natural resources rather than sea walls.  Sometimes that means restoring wetlands, getting infrastructure off the coast. It also means understanding how sea level rise and climate driven coastal change impact how we go about this. It’s a conservation problem in 4 dimensions — latitude, longigtue, altitude and time. It’s not about our coastline today, but tomorrow.

DG: What’s the project you are doing now with drones? Continue reading Meet the woman whose project uses drones to study El Nino’s impact on California

Drone video shows ‘ghost town’ Mount Rushmore

This story was originally written for

Instagram/Abandoned Earth

Somewhere in Virginia, a field is home to 43 crumbling presidential statues. It’s like a ghost town version of Mount Rushmore.

The sculptures were originally built for Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia, an open-air museum that opened in 2004 but closed six years later. A man named Howard Hankins saved the statues from the crusher and moved them to his farm in Croaker, Virginia. Continue reading Drone video shows ‘ghost town’ Mount Rushmore

How to create maps using drones? Here’s your go-to guide

51TE0B2K6wLLooking to use your drone for something other than spying on your neighbors taking cool pictures?

One of the key value propositions of a drone is photogrammetry. Drones have turned the process of gathering aerial images needed to create 3D maps into something inexpensive and for a wide range of applications — precision agriculture, natural disaster assessment, pollution monitoring and facility inspections. But it’s also daunting; how do you start this with something simple like a DJI Phantom? Continue reading How to create maps using drones? Here’s your go-to guide