At CES, a whole new flock of fly-high, fly-fast, fly-bad drones were introduced and now the category is suddenly destined to be the next monstrous consumer category. Some were so small they fit in the palm of your hand. In fact, I think I stepped on one in the show’s crowded aisles … but it might have been popcorn. I couldn’t see with all the folks mobbing the show floor, but I distinctly heard a crunch. Speaking of crunch, just in case you missed the “hot” news, Bezos’ Amazon drone delivered some guy a box of popcorn and suddenly the postal and every delivery services are facing extinction? [Read more…]
I’m curious about the business strategy DJI is demonstrating by shipping the remote control of the latest version of the ever popular Phantom series with a built-in (optional) android based tablet. This is the first remote across the entire DJI platform which will incorporate a native screen. Early specs indicate the built-in screen will be brighter than an iPad and have a slightly higher resolution, but comparing the hardware specs in not my goal here. [Read more…]
A dirty little secret in the drone industry: many (non-DJI) drone companies are using ArduPilot as the brain in their aircrafts, and they’re not always holding up their end on the bargain. ArduPilot is a GPLv3 open-source project which allows it to be used on commercial products for free. Companies that use ArduPilot are required to acknowledge its use to the end user, and provide source code when shipping product (along with a few other stipulations). [Read more…]
After experimenting with my own kit build of the “Osmo Rover v1.0” here on Drone Coalition, I took it to NAB this year and got a chance to have a great discussion with Joe at Eclipse Rover about the design hurdles in perfecting UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) for cine/video use. So we’ve agreed to run several of his models through a series of tests, configurations and some real-world production to see what the best combination of UGV and camera configuration provides is with the best results.
(Author- Jeff Foster)
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a pilot? Sitting in the cockpit, stepping on the gas, taking-off and seeing the landscape pass right before their eyes Today, Parrot makes this dream accessible to everyone with Parrot Disco, the first easy-to-fly, fixed-wing drone designed for a fully immersive flight experience. The ultra-lightweight, Parrot Disco is powerful, reaching 50 mph and offering 45 min of flight time. [Read more…]
One of the most common misconceptions I’ve heard in the drone world regarding DJI’s products: they are just meant for taking aerial photos.
While that’s true, it’s also true that a simple $500 drone can create images used for commercial purposes that can save businesses thousands of dollars. One of the most impressive use cases to me? Skycatch’s software, which autonomously creates an aerial map of any area. San Francisco-based startup Skycatch is a software that automates aerial mapping and analytics for construction, mining, energy and other use cases.
Prior to trying out Skycatch, I had never been involved with a fully autonomous Phantom mission. While I’ve made use of autonomous features like return-to-home or follow-me, I’ve never just tapped a button, witness the drone fly a pre-determined route and then witnessed the drone return to its starting point. With Skycatch, the only “non-autonomous” operation a human needs to do is set the drone out of the box and tap a button to start the operation.
Mapping a few blocks takes about 10 minutes. 10 minutes later, you’ll receive a memory card full of images, which you upload to Skycatch’s server and they return to you with a stitched map.
Here’s a video demo of how it all works:
I’ll admit, I was afraid flying a fully autonomous mission. What if the drone goes haywire and hits a tree? But I had no reason to fear. The app is incredibly easy to use. I pressed a button on my phone, the drone took off, flew a route it designed itself, and came back to me 13 minutes later.
The DJI Phantom for a long time has been touted as an epic toy, but Skycatch has proven that they aren’t just a toy — they have a real purpose in commercial applications, like helping construction sites monitor change over time by running the same missions on a regular basis with nothing more than a DJI Phantom and Skycatch’s Commander smartphone app.
While I’ve been waiting for the right time (and $$) to save up for an X5 camera and get multiple lenses so I could have some creative latitude in my aerial photography/videography, DJI comes out with the Z3 cam with up to 7x zoom capabilities and I pounce on the pre-order rush through Multicopter Warehouse. So here are my first thoughts about this innovative new prosumer aerial camera/gimbal.
Yuneec recently released a firmware update for their Typhoon H 4K hexacopter that touted only some improvements for connectivity. But what was discovered by our colleague Kerry Garrison with Multicopter Warehouse was some REALLY IMPRESSIVE advancements in the camera technology that will raise some eyebrows!
The ALTI Transition is a radically new VTOL unmanned aerial aircraft, developed from the ground up as an advanced fixed wing system with the ability to take-off and land vertically, anywhere. A powerful electric VTOL system allows the Transition to take-off and land in confined spaces and once at altitude, a 20cc four stroke petrol motor keeps the system airborne for up to 6 hours with support for a wide range of payloads and sensors that can quickly be swapped out and setup. Fully featured autonomous PX4 based open and proprietary software and hardware avionics system with easy to use ground control systems to suite. [Read more…]