Month: March 2018

The world’s largest consumer drone maker wants to be the world’s largest commercial drone maker

WRITTEN BY Mike Murphy

The world’s largest consumer drone manufacturer is making a serious push to bring drones to a wider audience of commercial customers.

At an event in California today, March 28, DJI announced the launch of two new products—a thermal-imaging sensor for its drones called the Zenmuse XT2, and a new development kit that’s meant to make it easier for drone owners to slap their own custom sensors, parts, and payloads onto their drones.

In short, it’s a way to turn the commercial drones that DJI sells into open platforms for their customers to do with them as they please.

Read More: Quartz

China just officially approved drone-based package delivery


Five years ago in China, parcel delivery via drone seemed like something you’d see in a sci-fi movie, not real life. Now it’s a government-licensed service ready for flight.

SF Express, the nation’s biggest logistics firm, announced today (March 28) that subsidiary Fengyu Shuntu Technology received the first official permit in China to deliver packages via unmanned aerial vehicles, following a series of tests that began last June (link in Chinese).

SF Express aims to use drones for delivering goods to rural and sparsely populated areas in China. The company said it will create an aerial delivery system based upon three stages: Planes will transport large quantities of goods nationwide, big drones will distribute them to local warehouses, and small drones will make final deliveries to customers.

Read More: Quartz

Drones help lifeguards get safety messages to rock fishers on Auckland’s west coast


Drones will be used to help the safety of people fishing off rocks along Auckland’s west coast. Rock fishing safety advisor Sam Turbott said the current way he got information to fisherman was inefficient.

“I have to spend many hours walking out to rock fishing spots and there might not be anyone out,” he said.

“It’s also quite dangerous getting out to spots so the drones is just a logical idea to cover quite a lot of ground and keep me safe, and save time and money.”

The drone will allow Turbott to locate fisherman on remote rock fishing spots and decide the fastest and safest way to get to them.

Read More: Nor-West News

Drones are Reaching New Heights with Augmented Reality

By: Miriam McNabb

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly known as drones, have become a big business over the last few years, and the market is still continuing to grow. Business Insider predicts sales to grow beyond $12 billion in the year 2021. While drones already have a number of applications, a businesses can hire a programmer who can apply Augmented Reality to the technology in order to expand the possibilities.

When combined with AR, drones can be equipped with an advanced range of capabilities that will open up new opportunities for recreation, business, and government. This post will detail some of the ways AR is already changing the way drones are used.

Read More: Drone Life

Get ready for drone sprayers

Manitoba company preparing to do custom chemical applications with drones
The use of drones in agriculture seems to gain a little more momentum every season. So far, the jobs they’ve been put to include taking NDVI images and crop scouting, among others. But one Manitoba entrepreneur thinks even with comparatively small payload capacity aerial spraying may be a good fit for the technology.

Don Campbell, owner of ROGA Drone, says his start-up company will be heavily engaged in research and testing this coming season to evaluate the overall viability of drone spraying, with a view to becoming the first custom aerial applicator on the prairies to exclusively employ the small aircraft.

Read More: Grain News

Predicting costly outages with drone analytics

By Monika Wnuk

Aerospec Technologies uses drones and artificial intelligence to identify and predict solar farm outages.

Lance Li clicks through an endless, uniform sea of purple, pink, and yellow rectangles. He stops and zooms in on a narrow section that’s glowing white.

“This hot spot tells us that part of the panel is not performing correctly,” he says.

The 2017 Kellogg School of Management graduate is looking at thermal images of a solar site in Nevada taken with a camera mounted on a drone, hovering 200 feet in the air. He zooms back out and confirms that his algorithm found and diagnosed the problem effectively.

As the CEO of Aerospec Technologies, a drone inspection and analytics company, Li has set out to make operating a solar farm more efficient, safer, and ultimately, more predictable.

Read More: Northwestern Now

Trailer for Elevation, a film on how drones will change cities


Dezeen interview leading architects and designers around the world for Elevation, a new documentary on how drones will change cities. Speculative architect Liam Young points out, “Now that drones are in the hands of every person in the street, they’re potentially as disruptive as the internet.”

Read More: Boing Boing

Drones eyed to streamline inspections

The Yomiuri Shimbun

NTT Docomo Inc. plans to launch a new service this year in which small drones operating on autopilot can be dispatched to inspect facilities such as solar power plants.

As its main feature, the service will use mobile phone networks to fly multiple drones on autopilot based on instructions from remote locations. The service will considerably streamline maintenance work on large-scale facilities.

The service will be available to companies and local governments, and allow users to set flight courses and fly multiple drones simultaneously.

Read More: The Japan News

HBO Used Pizza-Delivery Drones to Promote the New Season of Silicon Valley

By Ann-Marie Alcántara

Activation ties into the first episode

Free food, especially during the doldrums of a Monday afternoon, is a sure bet to capture people’s attention.

HBO made pizza dreams come true as the network teamed up with Fooji, a brand delivery agency, to send pizzas to Silicon Valley fans in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. While pizza is, for the most part, a universally loved dish, today’s pizza deliveries were a direct reference to the first episode the HBO series’ fifth season.

Spoiler alert: The lead character in the show, Richard Hendricks, ends up bankrupting a pizza delivery app called Sliceline.

And that’s why fans throughout the day could order a pizza by simply tweeting #Sliceline with the pizza emoji. If they were lucky, they’d receive a response ready to confirm the order and get a free pizza, in a Sliceline branded box.

Read More: AD WEEK

Drones Are Spying on Caribou—for Science


Cutting-edge drone technology reveals the complex social dynamics of a migrating herd.

Flying cameras are giving biologists an all-encompassing view of migration that reveals how social interactions motivate the animals’ every move.

Ecologists Andrew Berdahl, a Santa Fe Institute fellow, Colin Torney of the University of Glasgow, and colleagues flew drones to capture footage of Dolphin and Union caribou, a Canadian herd, as the animals crossed from Victoria Island to the Canadian mainland in the last stage of their fall migration.

Scientists have long pondered the dynamics of animal migrations, but they’ve had limited ways to study them. “Tracking collars revolutionized ecology by allowing researchers to quantify animal movement in a rigorous way,” says Berdahl of the widely used GPS and radio-collar technology. But GPS doesn’t capture the entire herd nor the dynamics between animals—providing only a snapshot, rather than a full-picture view.

Watch video HERE

Read More: National Geographic