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Photo Of The Day 5.26.17

DJI Introduces Spark

The DJI Spark Drone Might Actually Be Simple Enough For The Average Person






” When I worked at Popular Photography (RIP), part of my job was to review drones. I understood what made a drone desirable and what features were cool enough to notice, but I never got good at flying them. I crashed one into a picnic table and literally flew one off of a cliff, where it lost GPS contact and flew off over the wilds of upstate New York bound (I think?) for Canada. And while these unmanned crafts have come a long way since their humble and wobbly beginnings, they can still be a pain to set up and fly. The category leader DJI is hoping its new “palm-sized” drone called the Spark can change that.

  The $500 flying machine comes in a variety of different colors, which is typically an indicator that a product is meant for the masses—there’s no risk of mistaking this sunny yellow number for a piece of military equipment. The Spark uses the typical quad-rotor configuration that should be very familiar by now if you have ever seen any of DJI’s other aircrafts. It also has a lot of the AI-driven smarts you’ll find in higher-end models like the Mavic Pro and the Phantom that help it handle things like object detection and automated flying.”



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” The hook, however, is Spark’s simplicity. One of the primary ways to interact with the craft is gesture recognition, in which the sensor actually detects the pilot’s hand and follows it around like you’re Darth Vader and it’s being compelled by the Force. This isn’t a totally new idea, but gesture control often requires some kind of external sensor or glove. That’s not the case here. You can even launch the drone from your hand and then catch it out of the air if you’re feeling brave or you have really tough thumbs.

  Pre-orders start today for $499, but the drone itself will start shipping out in mid-June. You can also pre-order the Spark Fly More Combo Kit, which costs $699 and comes with an extra battery, an extra set of rotors, a charger for multiple batteries, a carrying case, and blade guards for flying inside without costing yourself time and money repairing your drywall if things go sideways. Honestly, the kit seems like the better deal since 16 or so minutes of flight time on a single battery likely won’t be enough.”



Popular Science

Photo Of The Day 5.25.17

Beware The Rise Of The Machines

World’s First Autonomous Security Vehicle With Companion Drone






” Surveillance drones and security robots are not new innovations on their own, but Singapore company Otsaw Digital has brought the two together. The O-R3 is the world’s first ground-aerial outdoor security robot that combines an autonomous roving ground vehicle with a surveillance drone, resulting in a mobile system that can launch a drone to follow intruders and track their location.

  The O-R3 is powered by machine learning algorithms that allow it to dynamically avoid obstacles and identify anomalous objects, such as unattended bags, while on its rounds. The system also includes facial and license plate recognition technology designed to identify people or vehicles that are where they shouldn’t be, while ignoring approved personnel and vehicles.”







” The accompanying drone is is contained within the ground vehicle and launches from a platform that extends from the rear of the vehicle when required. Once in the air, the aerial drone can track suspects at a distance of up to 328 ft (100 m) from its ground-based counterpart.

  Able to essentially run 24/7, the system is designed to reduce the need for human security personnel to constantly patrol a property. All alerts on unusual behavior are sent to a control center where a team of humans can monitor the data and, if necessary, take control of the O-R3. The vehicle also has the ability to autonomously return to its charging station when the battery is running low.”



New Atlas

Photo Of The Day 5.24.17

Duke University Uses Crowd-Sourcing And Drones To Save Endangered Species

New Project Uses Phones And Drones To Monitor Endangered Species




“Conservation researchers have developed an interactive software tool called ConservationFIT that can “read” digital images of animal footprints captured from smartphones, cameras or drones and accurately identify the species, sex and age of the animal that made the tracks, and even match tracks to individual animals.

Researchers at Duke University and SAS developed the interactive software to help scientists monitor and map the world’s most elusive and endangered species. Anyone who spots animal tracks can upload images, even if they’re unsure what species made them. The system was launched today (May 22) to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity.”



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” “The beauty of ConservationFIT is that it’s a sophisticated tool in a user-friendly format,” said Zoe Jewell, principal research associate at SAS and an adjunct faculty member at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “You simply snap digital photos of an animal’s footprints, upload them using our online protocol, and your images are downloaded for analysis, identification and entry into our mapping database.” “





Photo Of The Day 5.23.17

It Was Only A Matter Of Time: Man Skydives From Drone

Watch The World’s First Skydive From A Drone





” Unlike typical consumer-aimed quadcopter drones, Latvian company Aerones specializes in big UAVs that can carry hefty loads. Last year, they showed off one of their big lifter’s prowess by towing YouTuber Kaspars Balamovskis on a snowboarding run. Today, they released another stunt video spotlighting one of their heavy lifters hauling a man a thousand feet in the air — before he let go to skydive back down to earth.”



Photo Of The Day 5.22.17

FAA’s Drone Registration Struck Down By US Court Of Appeals

FAA Can’t Require Registration Of Recreational Drones






” Drone pilots are buzzing with excitement over a court ruling Friday striking down a 2015 FAA rule that required them to register with the government.  The US Court of Appeals didn’t mince words in finding the Federal Aviation Administration had overstepped its authority. “Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler,” the court said.

  Two years ago, the FAA ordered all drone pilots; professionals and hobbyists to register, pay a fee, and put an identification number on their aircraft.  John Taylor, a recreational drone pilot who lives in the Washington DC area balked.”





” In its summary the court wrote, that Taylor, a recreational pilot, did not think the FAA could order him to register and the court concluded, “Taylor is right.”

  Loretta Alkalay, an aviation lawyer, drone pilot and professor at New York’s Vaughn College of Aeronautics was one of those who advised Taylor in his challenge to the FAA. It was pretty simple, she explained. In 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act which included a provision that protected model aircraft from FAA rules.”





Photo Of The Day 5.19.17

DJI Schedules An Invitation-Only Event For May 24th

The Big DJI May 24 Announcement: Could DJI’S Spark Arrive This Month?





” DJI has a big announcement coming at the end of this month. Any thoughts on what it could be?

  DJI is hosting an invitation-only event between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on May 24 in New York City. The details are pretty limited except for the event’s incredibly vague titled, “Seize The Moment.”






” My bet is on the DJI Spark — a drone that resembled a miniature version of the DJI Mavic. It is unclear what the Spark drone is intended to be used for, though it could fill one corner of the market where DJI is still lacking: low-cost, toy drones. DJI’s cheapest drone available is still about $400-$500.”


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” Others have suggested it could be DJI’s first racing-focused drone.A DJI spokesperson would not confirm or deny the existence of a “Spark” drone. But, a trademark for the name “Spark” was filed by DJI on March 6, 2017.”


Drone Girl

Photo Of The Day 5.18.17

Gizmodo Crash Tests Folding Drones

We Crashed A Few Drones To Find The Best Folding Drone






” It’s drone season! It’s gorgeous out there and the world is full of beautiful scenes that need recording with a drone that buzzes through the air like a cloud of angry bees. Whether you’re an aspiring aerial photographer or a thrill-seeking life-caster, there have never been more options on the market for excellent quadcopters. Two of the best drones are so flexible you can fold them up and fit them in a backpack. We’re here to help you figure out which one might be for you.

  Folding drones have been around for a few years now, but only recently have they started to rival their bigger, bulkier, non-folding relatives when it comes to stability, speed, and cool features. The promise has always been that folding drones will usher in a new era of ultra-portable flying cameras for everyone. But the real game-changing moment happened when two companies joined the niche market: DJI and GoPro.”





” The DJI Mavic Pro ($1,000) and the GoPro Karma ($1,100) are the best folding drones for any serious pilot. They’re not cheap, but they offer a similar feature set to popular quadcopters like the DJI Phantom 4 and the Yuneec Typhoon 4K. (The Yuneec Typhoon H and its six folding rotors is another great option, but it absolutely will not fit in a backpack.) There are pros and cons to both the Mavic Pro and the Karma. However, when you pit the two against each other in a ruthless battle, a clear winner emerges.”





Photo Of The Day 5.17.17

Conflicts Galore Between Local And FAA Drone Rules

A Weird Time For Drone Operators






” Late last month, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought against a Kentucky man who shot a drone out of the sky when it allegedly flew over his property in 2015. The man, who used a shotgun to take out the drone, later dubbed himself the “Drone Slayer.”

  The drone operator, who filed the lawsuit in 2016, argued that his DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter, flying at an altitude of some 200 feet, was in federally protected airspace and was in no way trespassing based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s rules and even the trespassing laws of his state, which according to his suit prohibit a person from intruding, not a drone.”



No drones (or dogs) allowed in this area of Boston, Mass.



” Why didn’t the federal court back him up? In short, it wasn’t because it thought this drone operator was incorrect; it was because it didn’t deem the matter important enough to make a decision that might influence the delicate balance between federal and states’ rights. And one of the justifications for that conclusion was that the FAA hadn’t involved itself in the incident.

  Why not? An FAA spokesperson answers simply: “The FAA does not intervene in civil litigation to which the FAA is not a party,” adding that it would file an amicus brief if asked to do so by the court. Still, that doesn’t really explain why the FAA took no enforcement action against the guy wielding the shotgun. After all, the FAA has been loudly asserting its authority over drones flying in federally protected airspace, which it’s been claiming extends down to the level of the grass.”




Photo Of The Day 5.16.17

A Report On “Drones: Is the Sky the Limit?” At The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Drones Kill, Yes, But They Also Rescue, Research And Entertain




” One day in 1945, the crew of the aircraft carrier Intrepid gathered on deck for a group picture with what looks like a model airplane, not too much larger than the radio-controlled planes that hobbyists had been flying since the 1930s. It was a drone.

  Named for the buzzing sound it made in flight, and manufactured in the thousands during World War II, it served as a remote-controlled target for gunners.

  The toylike drone had a nifty feature. If the gunners failed to bring down the drone, an operator on deck could send a radio signal that released a small parachute, allowing the drone to float down, ready for pickup and reuse.”

Image result for “Drones: Is the Sky the Limit?,”

” The real thing, on loan from the National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Ind., hangs overhead, an ideal Intrepid-based starting point for “Drones: Is the Sky the Limit?,” a wide-ranging, fascinating exhibition at the former aircraft carrier, now the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.”


NY Times

Photo Of The Day 5.15.17

Drone-Integrated Air Traffic Control System Is Coming

Air Traffic Control Rules For Drones Are Coming


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” By 2020, an estimated 7 million drones could be zipping around the country delivering packages, taking photos, inspecting infrastructure or conducting search and rescue missions.

  But before that happens, they’ll need a system in place to avoid crashing into each other — or worse, passenger aircraft.

  NASA, along with the Federal Aviation Administration and an extensive list of industry partners, has been researching the requirements needed to establish a drone traffic management system. This summer, some of those ideas will be tested in the field.

  Unlike the current air traffic management system, this one won’t rely on human controllers in towers who bark instructions to incoming and outgoing aircraft. Instead, drone operators will use an electronic system to get access to constraint notifications and input flight information. And they will be expected to follow the rules.”



Valley News

Photo Of The Day 5.12.17

Qualcomm LTE Means Long Range Drones And Livestreaming Are Here

Qualcomm Study Says Sure, You Can Control A Drone Over LTE





” Internet-connected drones will be necessary if you’re going to see fliers that can communicate when they’re delivering packages, livestreaming video or otherwise coordinating with the outside world. But how well can you control them over an LTE data connection when they’re soaring hundreds of feet above the ground? Quite well, if you ask Qualcomm. The chip maker has published the results of a trial run using LTE-linked drones, and it believes that they’re ready for prime time… mostly.

  The dry run (which included over 1,000 flights) showed that existing cellular networks are up to the job. Drones will still get a strong LTE signal at altitudes as high as 400 feet, and they get “comparable” coverage. In fact, they have an advantage over the phone in your pocket — they don’t have to hand over connections as often as ground-based devices.





Photo Of The Day 5.11.17

A Panorama: Georgica Pond

Now Drone Operators Can Use PrecisionMapper For Free

PrecisionHawk Launches Free PrecisionMapper Software For Drone Mapping





” Now drone operators can stitch an unlimited number of photos, create maps without resolution limits and run algorithms to analyze their data for free

  PrecisionHawk, a leading commercial drone and data company, has opened access to its professional mapping and analytics software, PrecisionMapper, for free.  By eliminating the cost barrier, operators have the flexibility to ‘bring their own drone’ and consistently generate value from aerial information.”





” “Drones have the potential to capture more high-resolution data than any other technology, but we believe that drones are being under-utilized because of the cost barriers around processing, analytics and storage, ”said PrecisionHawk CEO Michael Chasen. “Users should be able to walk into any store, buy a drone and use that drone to generate business insights for free.”

  Operators can quickly and easily upload imagery collected from a drone to PrecisionMapper. Using GPS information embedded within images, the software automatically stitches together a complete map, viewable in both 2D and 3D. Free users of PrecisionMapper can create up to 60 surveys a year without resolution or export limits.”




Photo Of The Day 5.10.17

Can GDU 02 Cut Into Mavic Market ?

Will New GDU Drone Compete With DJI Mavic?




” Chinese drone manufacturer GDU has announced that a new product is coming. We’re not sure what it is yet, but the company has given us a few mysterious clues to decipher. GDU’s most recent drones, the Bryd Premium 1 & 2, have been successful iterations of the Byrd platform. So what features could the new GDU drone have?

  The picture below is from the GDU website, and is listed under ‘o2 Preview‘, so we’re guessing that instead of being another drone in the Byrd range, the GDU o2 is going to be the start of a new product line.”



O2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle




” The ‘7’, ‘3’ and ‘2’ are interesting, and seem to be giving us an idea of the specs and features of GDU’s incoming drone. The 7 in front of the mountain landscape must be related to range. A transmission range of 7km would make sense, vastly improving the range of the company’s current drones and putting the new quad on a par with the DJI Mavic.

  The 3 in front of the gimbal image could be related to it being a 3-axis gimbal. The camera will shoot video in 4k. The most interesting thing about this is that it could be a move away from one of GDU’s most popular selling points, its drones’ modularity.”



Photo Of The Day 5.9.17

Photog Catches Illegal Drone Over Hawaiian Volcano

Photo Of Illegal Drone In National Park Shows The Sheer Scale Of Lava Spout






” Photographer and filmmaker Andrew Studer recently photographed something stupid and illegal: someone flying a drone right next to a lava spout in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Fortunately for us, the final shot is just… incredible.”





” Andrew and we editors here at PetaPixel both hesitated before publishing this. We don’t want the sharing of this photo to be interpreted, in any way, as encouragement to do something stupid and likely illegal (we’re kind of against that). So we are sharing this amazing shot with two very bold disclaimers from Andrew:

1. Flying drones in national parks (with only a few exceptions) is illegal.

2. I only posted the photo to highlight the scale of the volcano not start a drone debate.”