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 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.
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’→
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.
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.
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→
Looking 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→
As El Nino hits California, drones are heading into the air — documenting the impacts of the rainfall on California’s coastline.
With El Nino comes surge in storms, coastal flooding and erosion. And the pace of shoreline change is rapidly speeding, meaning that the sea level rise and storms could destroy natural habitats and our own infrastructure. Drones can generate aerial data that documents those changes, allowing scientists to make decisions.
A photo posted by That Drone Show (@thatdroneshow) on Feb 16, 2016 at 11:41am PST
This is an excerpt of a piece originally written for MarketWatch.com.
Mattel recently made a huge step toward refreshing Barbie’s old-fashioned image with a lineup of new Barbies with a variety of body types, skin tones and hairstyles.
Now, Barbie is flying into the future. Literally.
Mattel revealed at the 2016 International Toy Fair in New York the latest incarnation of Barbie — clad in pink, yes, but also riding a hoverboard that’s actually a real drone. The new doll is called Barbie Star Light Adventure RC Hoverboard (RC stands for remote controlled).
the toy into the air with an automatic feature that allows the drone to take off and land with the press of a button. The toy will arrive in stores fall 2016 and sell for $59.99.
The toy could encourage more young girls to have an interest in robotics and aviation.
“This will certainly attract young girls, but also parents who want to buy a toy for their daughters that would interest them in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) realm but aren’t sure what type of toy would inspire that,” said Rhianna Lakin, founder of the group Amelia Dronehart, a group for female drone pilots. Continue reading Drone-flying, hoverboard Barbie is here→