Drone 55 provides aerial photography, cinematography, and data services. Their blog is a great read for commercial pilots and clients who are interested in drone services, because it covers a host of topics that both parties would be interested in.
That’s right, as soon as next month, the LAANC nationwide expansion will start. This is a massive boost for the commercial drone industry and will mean improved safety and much faster access - a move that will lead to incredible growth opportunities.
The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) was rolled out at a few air traffic facilities in November of 2017. This was a prototype project to facilitate and speed up the approval required by the FAA for drones or unmanned aircraft (UAS) to operate in any air traffic controlled airspace.
In six months LAANC has proved to be a major success. Based on the very positive prototype results, LAANC will be rolled out to almost 300 air traffic control facilities throughout the United States. These facilities account for roughly 500 airports and cover around 78,000 miles of airspace.
The rollout will begin in April 2018 and will be a great benefit to the commercial drone industry. The current manual waiver application process takes three months or more, whereas the new digital LAANC system is almost immediate when using an approved LAANC provider known as an Approved UAS Service Suppliers (USS). It requires little more than a tap on the USS app and approval is given within seconds.
The planned rollout is as follows:
April 30: South Central USAMay 24: Western North USAJune 21: Western South USAJuly 19: Eastern South USAAugust 16: Eastern North USASeptember 13: Central North USA
This is really great news for drone pilots in the first locations but the latest some of the other states will have to wait is until early fall.
There are a few USS companies offering LAANC digital authorization but AirMap is one of the leading providers. The AirMap app or website (we prefer the classic site) allows you to plan your flight and request digital authorization.
This exciting development was announced on 06 March 2018 by Dan Elwell, Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The announcement was made at the 3rd Annual UAS Symposium on its opening day in Baltimore, Maryland.
There is no doubt this fantastic development will have a meaningful impact on the commercial drone sector and lead to further growth and development as LAANC is rolled out.
And the winners are…. The 4th annual Dronestagram & National Geographic’s 2017 International Drone Photography Contest proudly announces winners.
Now in its fourth year, the competition has grown from strength to strength. This year saw a flood of thousands of spectacular and creative photographs from all over the world. The competition is open to amateur drone photographers as well as those that are involved in professional drone photography. The standard of photographs received is astounding.
The judge’s panel consists of experts that include Photo Editor of National Geographic France and Dronestagram, Emanuela Ascoli, National Geographic Deputy Director Patrick Witty and Photo editor Jeff Heimsath. The panel judged the entries on photographic quality as well as creativity. With the high standard of entries received, this was no easy task.
Dronestagram would like to thank the competition sponsors National Geographic, Kodak Pixpro, Zeinberg, Europ Assistance, Homido, , Lowepro and StudioSPORT. Their support is a large part of what makes this competition such a success and without them, it would not be possible.
Although there were many great submissions, there had to be winners. Check them out below:
1st Prize Winner – Category Urban: Concrete Jungle by bachirm
2nd Prize Winner – Category Urban: Dawn on Mercury Tower by alexeygo
3rd Prize Winner – Category Urban: Peace by luckydron
1st Prize Winner – Category People: End of the line by Martin Sanchez
2nd Prize Winner – Category People: Waterlily by helios1412
3rd Prize Winner – Category People: La Vijanera by feelingmovie
1st Prize Winner – Category Nature: Provence, summer trim by jcourtial
2nd Prize Winner – Category Nature: Infinite Road to Transylvania by Calin Stan
3rd Prize Winner – Category Nature: Ice formation by Florian
The organizers were so impressed with the incredible creativity of the entries, they decided to create a new category this year to reward this.
Two Moo by LukeMaximoBell
Ugo le marin by rga
Next Level By macareuxprod
The people behind this prestigious contest, Dronestagram, are thrilled with the growth and outcome of the competition. Dronestagram CEO, Eric Dupin, had the following to say: “Drones are becoming an increasingly accessible way to get a new perspective on the world. There literally are no physical limits as to where a shot can take place anymore.”
I am sure many people are already getting excited about next year’s competition and we will no doubt see even more spectacular creative entries. Well done to the winners and all that participated.
The results are out and once again, the standard of aerial photographs and videos were absolutely breathtaking.
Only in its third year now and the competition attracted some of the best aerial images and footage ever seen.
SkyPixel has grown their online following to more than six million amateur and professional aerial photographers and videographers. With some amazing prizes valued at more than $90 000, there is more than just internet fame to be won.
2017 SKYPIXEL PHOTO CONTEST
The 2017 competition, which ran from Late October until the end of December, attracted over 44 000 entries from 141 counties. Entries for the photographic side of the competition are judged by a panel of award-winning photographers.
Grand Prize Winner - “Above the Polar Bear”
Winners: Story Professional
Winners: Story Enthusiast
Winners: Landscape Professional
Winners: Landscape Enthusiast
Winners: Portrait Professional
Winners: Portrait Enthusiast
Categories are divided into Landscape, Portrait and a new category called Story. This new category is quite interesting and requires photographers to submit five shots that portray a story.
French Photographer, Florian Ledoux, was the Grand Prize Winner for his perfectly captured shot of a polar bear at full stretch diving over the ice in Nunavut, Canada.
In the Landscape Enthusiast category, Trung took first place for his shot titled “Lobsters Farm” while Landscape Professional went to Zay Yar Lin with “Sun's Up, Net's Out”.
The Enthusiast, Portrait first prize went to cocoanext for “Dancer” and Petra Leary won the Portrait Professional section with the colorful “Balmoral Ball”.
In the new Story category, the Enthusiast section was won by Water Qinghua for “Inle River Fishing Show” and Story Professional first prize was awarded to In the higher sky for “‘The Land of the Earth' – Man Made Nature Revelation”.
Apart from the winners in each category there were also Nominated Entries and Popular Prize images.
Top 9 Nominated
Top 10 Popular Prize
2017 SKYPIXEL VIDEO CONTEST
The video competition was just as exciting. Here entrants have to submit a 30 second to 5 minute video in the categories Nature, City and Sport. The video were judged by a panel of aerial photographers and filmmakers.
Grand Prize went to xiaoxiao for his video “Epic of Tanna” which showed breathtaking footage of the volcano and landscape in the South Pacific Ocean island of Tanna.
Vadim Sherbakov took the first prize in the Nature category for his video “Icarus” which takes views on a journey from the sheers cliffs of Isle of Skye to the amazing Dolomites in Italy.
“The City of Cape Town” won first prize in the City category for Luke Bell’s captivating aerial footage of the mountains and beaches in the city.
The Sports category saw Marin Kafedjiiski take first prize with the death-defying feats of a parkour artist jumping from bridges to rooftops in his video “MMP3 – 2D RUN”
As was expected, the standard was remarkably high in both contests and we are already looking forward to the 2018 competition. I have no doubt it will be even bigger and better.
We know you've always wondered what the world looked like from up in the air. That’s why you bought yourself a drone, calibrated its vision positioning sensor, carefully avoided Jello and prop shadows, and flew it within VLOS. Now it's time to show how you turn your curiosity into breathtaking photos and videos in February Flight Fest (February 1-28)! Upload your aerial 360 photos and videos on veer.tv with #UpInTheAir to win!
Everyday, we’ll feature one #UpInTheAir photo as the banner of VeeR's homepage.
Winners will be chosen based on their content quality and total likes on VeeR. Additional surprise gifts for those who share this article!
With so much hype around self-driving or autonomous cars, many people are not aware of the massive developments that have been made in unmanned flight. The technology is already in place and the potential applications are enormous.
In a first for the helicopter industry, Bell displayed a pilot optional helicopter at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. This is just one of many aircraft manufacturers that are working towards pilotless aircraft.
Unmanned flight technology is nothing new and demonstrations of unmanned helicopters were done by Lockheed Martin (they acquired Sikorsky in 2015) as far back as 2010.
Development is currently coming from two angles. On the one hand, you have the traditional drone makers scaling up. They are developing bigger and better drones that will be capable of carrying heavy payloads or people. On the other hand, the existing helicopter and aircraft manufacturers, most of them anyway, are look at converting existing and new aircraft to be remote controlled and pilotless.
As always, the major snag slowing development and implementation down is regulatory red tape. Public perception is also a major hurdle. The technology itself is already in place.
The developments in on-demand air transport have prompted a number of new partnerships. Uber, for example, have forged new ventures with Boeing, Bell, Airbus, Pipistrel and Embraer.
The idea is to build a network of aircraft to compliment their ridesharing business. Basically, it would be Uber in the air with a distributed network of autonomous aircraft and helicopters capable of short air trips and landing in small fields or rooftops.
There is also development in the use of this technology for humanitarian work, firefighting and agriculture. A partnership has been formed between Drone America and Thrush Aircraft.
Thrush makes turboprop air tankers for firefighting and agricultural applications. They issued a joint press release where president and CEO of Drone America, Mike Richards said, “We founded our company on the belief that highly-reliable, well-integrated autonomous systems can significantly improve public and environmental safety. Our collaboration with Thrush represents a major step forward in achieving that goal, and we’re excited to be joining forces in the fight against one of our country’s most challenging foes: wildland fires.”
The company also has plans for other heavy payload applications for use in the maritime industry as well as disaster relief. These developments will make the application of such efforts a lot less expensive but also eliminate the risk to humans in the more dangerous applications.
Mitch Snyder, CEO of Bell Helicopter also made a statement regarding the new developments at the Consumer Electronics Show. Snyder said, “Bell Helicopter is innovating at the limits of vertical flight and challenging the traditional notion of aviation to solve real-world problems,” adding, “The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize. We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.”
These are certainly exciting times for autonomous flight and the applications are life-changing. Regulations need to be adapted and implemented with minimal delay to drive these exciting new developments.
Drones have been used for a number of humanitarian and aid relief applications with great success but the recent dramatic story of a drone coming to the rescue of two teenage boys distressed out at sea is further proof of the amazing applications of drone technology.
The incident took place Australia and the lifeguards who were, at the time, busy learning how to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in their duties, were alerted by someone on the beach of the two teens experiencing major problems while caught in massive waves in the Far North Coast area in New South Wales.
The dramatic rescue was perfectly captured by the drone camera and the video makes for riveting viewing. This is believed to be the first sea rescue by a drone and given the incredible success of the spontaneous rescue, I am sure this will become a popular method to improve the effectiveness of lifeguard duties.
The two young men got caught about 2,300 feet out at sea and were struggling to get back in. Fortunately, their distress was spotted and the drone, nicknamed "Little Ripper" was at hand. It took a mere 70 seconds to reach the struggling swimmers and it dropped a self-inflating rescue pod onto which the lads could safely cling onto after unsuccessfully battling the pounding waves for some time.
Jai Sheridan was the lifeguard supervisor on the day and told reporters "I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes. On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public."
Once the two young men, aged 15 and 17, had the relief and security of the rescue pod, they managed to make it safely ashore. They were tired and shaken by the experience but otherwise in good health. This was all thanks to the fast deployment of the brand new drone.
In situations like this, every second is critical. An extra few minutes and the story might not have had such a happy ending.
The Australian government has made a significant investment in drone technology for these types of situations. The drone had only been out of the box for a few hours and already proved how efficient and effective the concept is.
John Barilaro, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW said "This is a world-first rescue," adding "Never before has a drone fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this."
This is yet another groundbreaking development in humanitarian and lifesaving applications for which drones can play a significant role. The fact that the investment and project were validated while the operators had just started learning how to apply the technology just illustrates the incredible potential for future sea rescues and similar missions.
While Amazon has been talking about drone deliveries since 2013, it was actually 7-Eleven that beat them when they successfully did the first commercial drone delivery on 11 July 2016. They delivered Slurpees, donuts, candy and a chicken sandwich to a private residence in Reno Nevada. Amazon quickly upped their game and, along with courier giants DHL and UPS, have since made a number of drone deliveries.
Not content with carrying small payloads like fast food and sweets, Boeing set out to create a monster of a drone capable of carrying much heavier loads. Their massive powerful electric, unmanned cargo air vehicle can airlift up to 500 pounds.
Without a specific goal in mind, Boing set out to get involved in the drone revolution but wanted something with a lot of power. The result is a 747 pound 8 propeller drone or unmanned aerial vehicles that can carry the giant loads as far as 20 miles. It was built by a group of 50 engineers, all top propeller heads. The team, effectively a division of Boeing, are known as HorizonX. This division of Boing seeks out and develops unique and innovative startups in the aerospace and related fields.
The project took three months to complete and was a collaboration between Boeing and helicopter experts Bell.
Boing has no immediate plans for the powerful UAV but they understand the necessity to have “on demand mobility”. They have certainly achieved that with this still to be named drone. The drone can be used to replace costly manned helicopter trips, particularly when there is danger involved.
Obstacle avoidance technology and navigation were provided by Near Earth Autonomy, a company that HorizonX has an interest in.
Initial testing was carried out in an indoor environment at Boeing’s Missouri based autonomous systems lab. The prototype flew a 150-pound load for 15 minutes. The HorizonX team are confident they will reach a capacity of 250 to 500 pounds before long and be able to fly at a few hundred feet at around 60 to 70 mph.
In terms of specs, the drone weighs in at 747 pounds, by sheer coincidence, and measures 15 feet in length, four feet tall and 18 feet wide.
The power and strength of this new development will allow it to perform a number of heavy-duty tasks such as carrying supplies to offshore oil rigs or take entire pallets from a port to a distribution center. There are a number of applications that such a craft would be suitable for and the two advantages it has is that it is significantly less expensive than a manned helicopter trip and there is no risk to human life. It fills the gap between large truck deliveries and smaller hand to hand deliveries.
While delivery drones are nothing new, this development is a game changer in terms of the power and carrying capacity of this new UAV. It opens the door to a host of new delivery opportunities and will certainly inspire the market and drive other manufacturers to develop more powerful drones.
Drones are constantly improving and evolving at an amazing rate. The drones on the market today are infinitely more advanced than those on the market just 2 or 3 years ago.
Quaternium have sent an amazing new record which illustrates this point perfectly. One of the frustrating hurdles of commercial drone use is short fly times. Entry level drones fly for less than 10 minutes while the better models average around 30 minutes.
People get around this with additional batteries and fast chargers but it limits and slows down many drone applications. Wouldn’t it be great to have a drone that could operate uninterrupted for extended periods?
I am not talking about an hour or an hour and a half. How does 4 fours and 40 minutes sound? Impossible many of you might say. Well, this is the incredible new record hover time set by Quaternium with their Hybrix.20 fuel-electric quadcopter. That’s right, just under 5 hours in the air, simply brilliant.
Flight time has been one of the most significant hurdles in many commercial or humanitarian drone applications. This new development opens up many new possibilities for new or improved applications in the commercial drone field.
The record was set in Valencia, Spain on Christmas Eve 2017. A clock was placed in the foreground and the entire 4 hours 40 minutes was recorded while the clock ticked away.
Sadly, no officials were present for this amazing feat to qualify as a record by Guinness World Records. The current official record stands at 2 hours and 6 minutes. With this record being less than half of what Quaternium achieved, one would assume that they will soon repeat the exercise officially. In fact, the company states that “this is only the beginning”. We can expect even better results in the near future.
The Hybrix.20 drone has a combustion engine and a generator that continuously charges the battery as the drone flies. Think of it as the Prius of the air.
Alicia Fuentes, CEO of Quaternium, says “The potential of hybrid technology for drones is huge. At Quaternium, we believe that we will all be amazed with its evolution in the short term. The hybrid race has just started. I would expect surprising improvements in 2018, not only coming from Quaternium, but from other emerging companies as well.”
This record is a major step forward for drone applications and opens a world of opportunities. Commercial applications such as pipeline or building inspections, farm surveillance and humanitarian drone applications will be infinitely more effective with drone capable of such amazing flight times. It will open the door for new uses and applications that require a drone to fly for extended periods. This is an amazing breakthrough that will only drive the commercial drone industry new heights.
This year has seen many exciting developments in the drone and UAV field, particularly in commercial applications. This shows no sign of slowing down and 2018 promises to be an even more exciting year. Apart from the many exciting new products, software and applications, there has also been much progress with the relaxing of many of the rules and restrictions governing drone usage. This is good news for companies in the industry as well as the many clients that benefit from these new developments and applications.
In one of the latest such developments on 15 December, the Falcon Foundation UAS, L.L.C. was granted a Certificate of Waiver for GreenSight Agronomics for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations.
Scientific data was presented to the lower the impact to the National Airspace System (NAS) which prompted the FAA to grant the BVLOS waiver.
This waiver will aid GreenSight Agrodynamics in the effective monitoring and management of golf courses. These areas are highly dependent on water and chemical fertilizers. This new development will benefit the sUAS operations in a range of applications allowing them to reduce the environmental impact caused by golf courses.
Falcon Foundation UAS, L.L.C. was also involved in the project, assisting in reducing the risk in support of these operations. GreenSight is involved in developing automated intelligent platforms for farmers and land managers through their patented analytics and proprietary sensors. This technology allows the customers to improve fertilizer and pesticide usage as well as better manage water resources. They already assist the top 100 golf courses in the USA and Canada and have already helped these customers to optimize the use of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of these chemicals needed without compromising on quality.
The development and technology is currently being tested by the top 5 chemical companies to improve and optimize their applications. These developments are good news for the customers in this industry as well as the environment. It further illustrates the beneficial applications of commercial drone technology.
With the rapid advancements and new developments in the past year, 2018 promises to see even more exciting developments in commercial drone applications.
Waiting 60 to 90 days for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for commercial drone flights has been a cause of much frustration for some time now. All parties wanted that approval window to come down. How does a few seconds sound? That is exactly what Skyward have achieved. Operators are now able to get instant approval through a simple process that literally takes only seconds.
Skyward, part of the Verizon fold, specialize in integrated solutions for commercial drone use. They recently got FAA approval to provide operators of commercial drones immediate approval in controlled airspace. They are now one of 12 in the FAA's working group that can offer this.
The authority was granted by the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) services of the FAA. The service will be operational shortly and will initially be available at Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), San Jose (SJC), and Lincoln (LNK) and a few more to be confirmed. By year end there should be 49 on board with even more to follow in the new year.
Matt Fanelli, strategy director at Skyward, had the following to say: “This is a stepping stone for UAS traffic management, and the FAA has been visionary in deploying LAANC as a meaningful step forward,” said Skyward.
This intelligent system will replace the current manual authorization requests that take months to get through the system. With a few clicks, approval has just gone form months to seconds. With commercial drone use currently experiencing a meteoric growth already, such developments will only serve to fuel this growth and lead to greater investment and more development. While many still see unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones as something used mostly by the military or hobbyists, commercial applications account for the majority of recent growth in the market. The construction and building industry, in particular, is one of the largest adopters of this technology and look set to continue driving growth for the foreseeable future.
There is little doubt that this a big step in the right direction and is certain to drive the already booming commercial and enterprise drone market and will dramatically increase uptake of the technology. No military drone applications have been in wide use for some time in a range of industries and situations. A recent example of drone applications was their widely publicized use in disaster relief are the widespread devastation by the recent spate of hurricanes. Over 200 emergency-drone applications were authorized by the FAA who said that they were "invaluable in supporting response and recovery efforts" after the devastation.
While drones will continue to be popular on the hobby market and for military use, there is little doubt that the commercial sector will see phenomenal growth over the coming years. The instant approval makes the use of drones more accessible and valuable to a range of industries, construction in particular. Drones can do critical inspections and evaluations in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods. Not having to wait months for approval that can now be accessed immediately will make the use of drones a standard practice across the construction industry. Many new applications will continue to evolve and develop for a wide range of industries as these hurdles are removed.