There’s always something going on in the drone industry, let’s try to keep you up to date with news and highlights.
Indiana Police want to use drones, but there’s too much red tape.
Indiana Police Departments are trying to gain traction in their use of drones for crowd and parking surveillance in downtown areas and large events. Unfortunately, due to Indiana’s current drone laws, they would have to get a warrant to fly in that instance. Since crowds and parking aren’t plausible causes for crime, getting a warrant may be difficult.
Just because they are not plausible cause for a crime does not mean they are superfluous uses for aerial technology. Being able to monitor a parking lot or area from above gives the controller a large scale picture of what is going on, allowing for a more efficient use of space and human resources as well as limiting the opportunities for collisions. Crowd surveillance is important as well. If you’ve ever tried to follow someone in a dense crowd, you know how easy it can be to lose them. From above, however, it is much easier to follow their movements as there is less opportunity to break line of sight.
Indiana has already had great success with the law enforcement drone programs they have in place, and law enforcement agencies hope to expand these programs as the technology grows.
Read the full article from Indy Star
DJI Search and Rescue Case Study
DJI’s recent case study with D.E.E.M.I. in Bangor, Maine focuses first on search, then on rescue in an interesting look at the unsung heroes of the drone world.
An interviewed couple makes a good point: you hear about drones being used to deliver packages of little to no significance, but the life-saving missions where drones are an invaluable tool are rarely publicized.
ABOVE THE FLAMES: A TALE FROM THE FIELD
DJI put out another great article (with several videos) regarding the use of drones for firefighters during active fires. Efficiency and safety are of course paramount in these situations, and an eye in the sky is a huge advantage in making them possible.
And, of course, we saw the announcement of the SPARK
The DJI Spark is, as Marques Brownlee put it, more of a fun tool than a film tool. That being said, the Spark is (for now at least) as good as it gets for a drone that fits in your pocket. The fact that you can operate the drone just using the palm of your hand should be enough for a drone about the size of a mobile phone, but they went ahead and added in a ton of other features as well.
The camera only shoots up to 12mp/1080p and has only a 2 axis gimbal, but the footage is surprisingly good. This little drone is going to be quite a popular item for consumers, and even professionals want to have some hassle-free drone fun every now and then so don’t be afraid to grab one yourself! At a price of $499 ($699 for the Fly More Combo, which comes with the RC and an extra battery) it’s the best budget consumer drone on the market. There are tons of videos out on youtube already, so go check it out!
3DR Releases Perimeter Scan
The former Solo Smart Drone manufacturer has released Perimeter Scan, the latest flight mode in Site Scan (“The complete drone data platform”). Perimeter Scan captures verticle structures to create detailed point clouds and meshes. Check it out below.
Court Rules Against FAA Registration of Model Aircraft
In a recent decision in the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals, a judge ruled in favor of plaintiff John Taylor in his fight to end the FAA’s registration requirement for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems being used for recreation or hobby. This means no more $5 registration just to be able to go fly, provided you are not flying for commercial purposes.
There were many arguments for and against the registration policy, but ultimately it is no longer a requirement. It was originally enacted by FAA Director Michael Huerta just before holiday season 2015 as an “emergency measure” to get some control over the several hundred thousand drones expected to be purchased as gifts for the holidays.
How and why DJI is leading the consumer drone market
This article from Investopedia gives a basic breakdown of how major consumer drone manufacturers are doing as well as offering some main talking points for DJI’s dominance.
Drone manufacturing companies are a high-risk investment for venture capital firms, specifically startups. Look at GoPro’s Karma launch: a decent drone that was outshined by then-current DJI products but still sold decently well, only to have major complications when units started falling from the sky.
DJI, however, has been around for long enough (and the company itself is large enough) to mostly avoid these types of issues simply because they have had time to fine-tune their hardware and software so the issues don’t happen (at least not very often.) DJI’s reliability along with aggressive pricing strategies, have captured them most of the market, pushing most would-be competitors to the wayside.
Drone manufacturer Yuneec (Typhoon H, Q500, Breeze) recently laid off an undisclosed amount of their staff (word is that it was a large percentage) due to shortcomings in sales. 3DR discontinued its involvement in consumer aircraft after the utter failure of its “SOLO Smart Drone” and has instead shifted focus to industrial uses such as SiteScan. Parrot SA (Bebop drones) recently laid off about 35% of its drone team, and most of their aircraft barely make it into the same category as DJI aircraft. Also, the demise of the Lily drone (waterproof follow-only drone) was a big hit to confidence in drone startups as they never launched and are being sued for roughly $35M from pre-orders that were never delivered.
You can read the full article here.