Formula Drift Releases Stunning Drone Footage Of A Race In Motion

Formula Drift Releases Stunning Drone Footage Of A Race In Motion

Generally, we keep our newsletter content to discussion of major leaps forward in the drone industry, up-to-date commentary on the regulatory policies of various governments, or significant stories involving the largest drone service companies. But sometimes, all you want to do is look at a cool video. Something like this:

What you’re looking at is footage from a qualifying race for the Formula Drift Black Magic Pro Championship, taken with a GoPro Hero7 Black attached to a custom-built racing drone. Drifting is one of the most visually arresting forms of motorsport, with points being awarded for big skids, lots of smoke, and what should be impossible angles at which to drive a car. Formula Drift is the largest professional drifting championship series in North America, with 60 currently licensed drivers competing.

This year, Formula Drift (also known informally as “Formula D”) is making an effort to incorporate the latest technologies to make the sport appeal to more spectators. As part of this initiative, an all-electric vehicle will be competing for the first time in the championship series’ history (specifically, a modified Chevy Camaro with the equivalent of 515 horsepower and 800 lb-ft of torque.)

It’s also why they’ve started producing footage – uploaded to their official YouTube channel – taken by a racing drone that gets as close to the cars as possible. This video is taken by Johnny Schaer, known professionally as Johnny FPV, who has spent years perfecting the art of filming extreme sports from the first-person drone perspective. Among many other achievements, he was the winner of AirVūz’s 2019 Video Of The Year contest in the FPV category.

Like many pilots, Schaer controls his custom-built drone units through a Virtual Reality headset, which lets him see from the drone’s perspective as he flies. His skill at piloting and knack for spotting a great shot angle allows him to capture extraordinary footage that no other pilot can match. Though the exact specs aren’t a matter of public record, the racing UAV he is using to create this Formula Drift footage is compact, fast and very agile.

This is crucial, because it’s very hard for a normal drone to keep up with something as fast as a Formula Drift racing vehicle. Schaer’s reactions and hand-eye coordination have to be nearly perfect to avoid causing a crash while still getting the up-close footage that characterizes his work and sets these extreme sports videos apart from other forms of drone photography. Formula Drift racing makes the job of not crashing even harder, as he has to fly through the huge plumes of smoke generated by the cars themselves.

In short, Schaer’s work is incredibly impressive, and we’re thrilled to hear about his partnership with Formula Drift. But it should be noted that he is by no means the only extreme sports FPV drone photographer. Last month, RED-FPV captured this gorgeous footage in which he (mostly) keeps pace with Sébastien Loeb, the World Rally Championship’s most successful race car driver:

With footage as impressive as this, let’s hope this kind of FPV racing photography remains popular and profitable. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I think I speak for everyone at Dronethusiast when I say that we could watch these kinds of videos all day!

The writer known as I Coleman is a veteran tech reviewer who’s spent seven years writing about everything from PC hardware to drone tech and who joined the Dronethusiast team early in 2017. I brings his characteristic sense of humor and attention to detail to our product reviews and buyer’s guides, making sure that they’re packed with expert analysis in a way that’s still easy for hobby newcomers to understand. In his spare time, I is using drones to create 3D modeling software for a company in his hometown.

Wings, Google’s Drone Delivery Service, Takes Flight In Australia

Google’s Drone Delivery Service, Takes Flight In Australia

Look there! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…a burrito?

It sounds ridiculous, but for some inhabitants of Australia, this situation will soon become reality. Alphabet Inc., the multinational conglomerate that owns Google and its subsidiaries, is rolling out its own take on a drone delivery program called “Wing.” The subsidiary, founded in 2014 to explore drone and aircraft delivery technology, will be delivering the products of local businesses in the Canberra suburbs of Crace, Palmerston, and Franklin starting this week.

The rollout was waiting for approval from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority), the Australian aviation administration. Peter Gibson, a spokesman for CASA, told Guardian Australia that the governing body was inspecting Wing’s methodology with regard to potential safety measures, stating that “All those safety issues have been assessed so there are no risks to people on the ground, property or aircraft in the sky.” To satisfy CASA’s concerns, and to improve their own methodology and technology, Wing has been performing trials on a smaller scale for 18 months, carrying out over 3,000 deliveries in that time.

wing googles drone delivery service

Here’s how the system will work. Initially, around 100 homes in the aforementioned Canberra suburbs will have access to the service, although the company plans to expand it to homes in Harrison and Gungahlin if the initial rollout is successful. Customers in eligible homes, after receiving a safety briefing about interacting with the drones, will need to download the Wing app to their mobile devices. Once they load a customer profile and verify that Wing’s services are available in their area, they become able to place orders for products offered by merchants in the Canberra area who have partnered with Wing’s delivery services.

The small businesses who are currently partnered with Wing include Kickstart Expresso, Capital Chemist, Pure Gelato, Jasper + Myrtle, Bakers Delight, Guzman Y Gomez and Drummond Golf. The products Wing delivers for these companies will include food, coffee, household items, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

Wing promises that all of these products will be delivered “in minutes”, so that the food and beverages will still be fresh and warm by the time they arrive. But Wing’s regulatory approval understandably comes with several restrictions. Wing’s drones will not be allowed to fly over main roads, for example. They can only operate between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM on Sunday and between the hours of 7 AM and 8 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with no operation at all on Saturdays. And as in the US, these commercial drones will be restricted from flying too close to people or too low to the ground.

Obviously, this is huge news for our industry. It means that Google has officially beaten Amazon to become the first major tech company to offer a commercial drone delivery service to the general public, albeit in a limited sense. Worth noting is that other, less high-profile companies, most significantly UPS, still beat Alphabet, Inc. to the punch in certain areas, and will hopefully ensure that the megacorporation doesn’t hold a monopoly in the space once large-scale commercial drone delivery becomes commercially feasible.

One crucial question this rollout will test is the degree to which residents are willing to live in a place with frequent drone deliveries. Residents outside Canberra have already launched the “Bonython Against Drones” campaign in response to the 18-month trial period. Noise complaints are one of residents’ biggest complaints, with one member of the campaign complaining that “When [Wing does] a delivery drop they hover over the site and it sounds like an extremely loud, squealing vacuum cleaner.” In response to these complaints, CASA ordered Wing to develop quieter drones for its deliveries before the rollout. Time will tell whether those changes were enough to placate the technologically dubious.

In the meantime, as skeptical as we should all be of the intentions of large companies like Google, we at Dronethusiast think our readership will agree that this is a huge step forward for drone technology and an exciting exploration of the potential of drone delivery.

The writer known as I Coleman is a veteran tech reviewer who’s spent seven years writing about everything from PC hardware to drone tech and who joined the Dronethusiast team early in 2017. I brings his characteristic sense of humor and attention to detail to our product reviews and buyer’s guides, making sure that they’re packed with expert analysis in a way that’s still easy for hobby newcomers to understand. In his spare time, I is using drones to create 3D modeling software for a company in his hometown.

Altitude Angel becomes the first UTM company to join COMIT

Altitude Angel, the world’s leading unmanned traffic solutions provider, has become the first UTM (unmanned traffic management) business to be admitted as a member of COMIT

(Construction, Operation & Maintenance through Innovative Technology ) – the not-for-profit body dedicated to harnessing and promoting the use of innovative technology within the construction industry.

“Altitude Angel is all about breaking new ground, so to be the first UTM business to join COMIT is a big thing,” said Richard Parker, Altitude Angel CEO and founder. “The construction sector has really embraced the potential of drones and is already benefitting from how they can add value, bring efficiencies and improve safety across the industry.

Toby Potter, Altitude Angel’s Vice President of Sales and Partnerships, added:

“As the use of drones within construction increases, so will the need to safely manage the skies. As experts in airspace management, Altitude Angel will be able to provide innovative and practical solutions making the use of drones not only efficient, but safe whilst ensuring operators are fully compliant with the appropriate regulations and procedures, laying the foundations for greater use of automation in conducting flights.

“And of course, we’re looking forward to meeting as many COMIT members as we can in the coming months!”

Anthony Shooter, COMIT Projects Ltd, chair of drone technology, echoed Richard’s comments:

“We’re thrilled to have an industry leading business in Altitude Angel join us. At COMIT we’ll be helping them understand our members’ needs and the challenges to be tackled as the industry continues to adopt and implement advances in drone technology.”

Altitude Angel works with drone manufacturers, air navigation service providers (ANSPs, the organisations and public bodies which manage controlled airspace) as well as businesses and organisations which manage large infrastructures across numerous industries, to provide solutions which will allow the safe integration of automated drones into airspace.

Through its Airspace Management platform, GuardianUTM O/S, they deliver the essential software platform which enable national deployments of U-Space compatible services, safely unlocking the potential of drones and helping national aviation authorities and ANSPs to establish new services to support growth in the drone industry.

Altitude Angel

Introducing the Skylink command and control by uAvionix

Today at uAvionix we are extremely excited to finally announce a new initiative we’ve been keeping under our hats for a while. If you’ve been paying attention, you probably noticed that most of the news over the past 6-12 months about uAvionix has been General Aviation (GA) focused due to the success of our skyBeacon and tailBeacon products. You might be wondering if we’ve lost our focus on unmanned systems.

I’m happy to say that we have not! You may have noticed our new tagline at the top of this post “Communicate, Navigate, Separate”. We’ve been known for our “Navigate” and “Separate” capabilities with our GPS and ADS-B solutions, and now we’re excited to venture into the “Communicate” arena.

Introducing SkyLink, our new Command and Non-Payload Control (CNPC) Data Link product concept. Off the back of our TSO certification successes, we’re aiming right for the top with SkyLink – targeted to exceed the performance standards of RTCA DO-362 and aimed at a certification under TSO-C-213. We believe that certified CNPC radios are going to become a key component of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations and in support of UAS OEM type certification efforts. If you’re familiar with the regulatory development in this area – you’ll know that there are still some standards and spectrum questions being worked out. For that reason, we’re still operating under experimental transmit licenses and with a few select partners for integration and flight testing.

What is CNPC and Why is it Important?

According to RTCA DO-362 – Minimum Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for the UAS CNPC link system:

“the word ‘Control’ refers to the information exchanges needed to support the pilot in safely maneuvering the unmanned aircraft (UA) on the ground and in the air. This would include commands to the UA such as: executing turns, changes in engine operation, changes in radio frequencies, etc., and information from the UA such as: confirmation of receipt of and actions taken in response to commands, as well as detect and avoid information, navigation data, weather radar data, onboard situational awareness data, etc. The words ‘Non-Payload Communications’ includes the potential of the CNPC Link System to support pilot-to/from-ATC voice and data communications. However, non-payload communications specifically exclude communications associated with the UA mission payloads which should not contain safety-of-flight information.”

The robustness of the CNPC data link should be considered in the context of the robustness of the autonomy functions of the autopilot. In other words, if the autopilot’s autonomous functions are non-deterministic, a more robust CNPC data link is required to support control actions.

This isn’t our first Rodeo

Not only does uAvionix now have TSO certifications under our belt, our team has a personal history with command and control links as well. Prior to founding uAvionix, CEO Paul Beard an our CTO Jeff Walker invented and brought to market the “Spektrum®” digital spread spectrum radio control (RC) technology which revolutionized the RC industry by moving the control link from 27 and 72MHz bands to a high bandwidth 2.4GHz ISM band.

YANGDA FW-250 VTOL

YANGDA FW-250 is a reliable and affordable VTOL fixed-wing plane designed for long-range inspection, survey, aerial photography, agriculture, search and rescue and public safety applications. As a fixed-wing UAV with VTOL and hover capabilities, the FW-250 features a modular airframe that can be set up in less than 10 minutes, does not require runway or catapult to get airborne. Once in the air, the aircraft transitions to horizontal flight as a push-prop fixed-wing.

Tool-free assembly

Due to its modular airframe design, FW-250 can be set up in less than 10 minutes by a single man.

Long flight time

FW-250 airframe is using light-weight and high strength composite material, which will enable the fixed-wing plane to fly up to 2 hours with 2KG payload, at an average cruising speed of 75KM/H.

Support color customization

You can choose your own color for FW-250 VTOL drone.

Multiple camera options

These cameras are compatible with FW-250 VTOL aircraft: Sky Eye-U30 30X zoom camera, Eagle Eye-30IE-U 2-axis 30X EO/IR camera.

Specification

Wingspan: 2.5m

Fuselage: Composites

Frame Weight: 2.68kg

Total Weight: 5.5kg(without battery)

Max Take-off Weight: 12kg

Max Payload: 2kg

Flight Time: 2 hours with 2KG payload

Max Speed: 100km/h

Stall Speed: 15m/s-16m/s

Altitude: 3000m

Your Purchase Includes

RTF Combo

1 x YANGDA FW-250 VTOL fixed-wing airframe

4 x T-motor MN505 KV260

4 x T-motor FLAME 60A ESC

2 x T-motor 1654 CF Propeller CW&CCW

1 x T-motor 4120 KV250

1 x T-motor 12S 60A ESC

1 x APC stype 15×8 Propeller CW

4 x KST DS135MG Servo

1 x Px4 Air Speedometer

1 x ASSAN UBEC-8A

1 x Power Monitor Module

1 x Pixhawk 2.1 Standard Set with Here 2 GNSS

1 x YR16S Radio Controller

1 x Assembly and Flight Test Service

Options

Battery

1 x 18650 6S 35000mAh Li-ion Battery for crusing motor

2 x 6S 5000mAh Lipo Battery for lift motors

Radio Controller

Futaba T14SG Radio Controller

YANGDA FW-250

Sky Scape Industries Acquired By American Aerospace

American Aerospace Technologies, a provider of real-time remote sensing and airborne intelligence services for enterprise, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sky Scape Industries, an unmanned technology service-provider. SSI’s services are widely used by critical infrastructure operators in the electric, water, and oil & gas industries. SSI will continue to provide integration services, professional drone advisory services, and inspection services nationwide.

“The SSI team is world class, and is perfectly aligned with AATI’s core values – providing safe and effective integration of airborne remote sensing technology with a primary focus on Part 107 drone operations,” stated David Yoel, CEO of AATI. “By combining the two complimentary companies, we expand our ability to offer products and services with manned aircraft, long endurance unmanned aircraft and small UAS.”

“AATI is a true leader in the unmanned industry. They have the resources and capabilities to truly push the unmanned industry to new heights. Our unification is solidified by our common core values – passion for innovation and driving this industry further,” said Nathan Ernst, Founder and president of SSI.

“The unmanned aviation industry continues to accelerate, including the integration of long endurance UAS beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) into the National Airspace System and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) integration for small UAS,” continued Mr. Yoel. “As we continue our endeavors at the forefront, SSI will create exponential value-add for existing and new customers.”

SSI was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in New Jersey. The acquisition remains subject to customary closing conditions. SSI will operate as a separate subsidiary entity focusing on small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) and related services. More details about the acquisition will be provided in subsequent posts via each company’s website and news releases in the near future.

Sky Scape

Skyfront – UAV Engineers, Pilots and Technicians

Skyfront’s business is growing rapidly and we are looking for talented engineers, pilots and technicians to help build, design and test mission-critical UAVs and create entirely new products.

About Skyfront

Silicon Valley-based Skyfront (www.skyfront.com) is a world-leading provider of long endurance hybrid-electric multirotor drone systems. Skyfront’s flagship product is the Perimeter UAV, which flies for up to 5 hours and can travel up to 240 km. The company utilizes its patented hybrid-electric technology together with state of the art sensors, software and communications links to build drone solutions that are capable of operating safely during missions far beyond line of sight of the pilot.

Skyfront’s mission is to fully automate and reduce the costs of aerial data collection tasks which have been traditionally performed by manned helicopters. Examples of exciting ongoing projects include:

  • Powerline and pipeline inspections
  • Surveillance
  • Maritime and remote cargo deliveries

Our Culture:

  • Extreme focus on safety and precision
  • Friendly, fast paced, unstructured and dynamic
  • All teammates are driven, self-motivated and enjoy the excitement of startup environments

What We Offer:

  • Experience with developing cutting-edge UAV technology
  • The ability to see your work in the hands of live customers
  • A meritocratic work environment with lots of room for career advancement
  • Competitive salary and equity based compensation

Available Roles:

UAV Technician

  • Manufacture and assemble UAVs
  • Manufacture wire harnesses, solder electrical assemblies, build generators
  • Develop standard procedures and safe testing plans
  • Identify and troubleshoot drone hardware and software problems
  • Requirement: 2+ years experience assembling electromechanical devices
  • Requirement: RC build experience with: radios, PWM/PPM control, servos, ESCs
  • Requirement: Experience with wire harness creation, connectors, soldering, drill press, etc.
  • Requirement: Meticulous and precise.

UAV Test Pilot

  • Flight test and troubleshoot hybrid electric multirotors
  • Perform world-record endurance flights
  • Test gimbals, LiDARs and exotic UAV sensors
  • Train customers, sometimes on-location
  • Requirement: 1+ years of RC or commercial drone pilot experience
  • Requirement: Safety conscious
  • Requirement: FAA Part 107 certified

Senior UAV Mechanical Engineer

  • Design and prototype radically new lightweight UAV designs and payloads from carbon fiber and aluminum materials
  • Design, test and optimize hybrid power systems
  • Optimize existing designs for weight and efficiency
  • Requirement: B.S., M.S., or equivalent in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering
  • Requirement: 3+ years of UAV fabrication and build experience, 4+ years of SolidWorks
  • Requirement: Excellent understanding of multirotor operation, engines, power, lift, and basic aerodynamics
  • Requirement: Excellent understanding of basic drone components such as GPS, range-finders, radios and antennas

If you are interested, please email [email protected]. We’d love to meet you!

Intelligent Energy leads UAV fuel cell power market with launch of 2.4kW module

  • Extends product portfolio to offer a flight duration of over five times that compared to batteries
  • Provides reliable solution for powering heavier and larger UAVs with higher payloads

Loughborough, Tuesday 16 April – Intelligent Energy is to launch a market leading 2.4kW fuel cell power product for the commercial UAV market.

In just 18 months, Intelligent Energy has launched four products specifically designed for commercial UAVs. These products provide a solution to the constraints of battery power and offer minimum downtime and fast refuel, making them a compelling option for the commercial UAV market.

Recently, Intelligent Energy’s 800W Fuel Cell Power Module – launched just eight months ago – was used to achieve a new Guinness World Record for the longest multi rotor flight time, conducted by South Korean company MetaVista. The multi-rotor UAV flew for 12 hours, 7 minutes and 5 seconds using liquid hydrogen to fuel the module. This record greatly exceeds the previous one held for 2 hours, 6 minutes 7 seconds, demonstrating just what can be achieved.

Lee Juby, Chief Sales Officer at Intelligent Energy, said: “We have the lightest and most power dense fuel cells available on the market and we continue to design new and innovative products to ensure we are leading the way in fuel cell power for commercial UAVs.

“Initially, we will be offering the 2.4kW to select customers with first deliveries planned for October 2019. The modules will then be made widely available to customers from early 2020. This latest product can achieve much longer flight times, for example on a DJI M600 frame with a 11 litre 350Bar hydrogen cylinder, a retrospectively fitted 2.4kW FCPM could achieve a flight time of over 2 hours compared to just 25 minutes with its battery power pack.”

Two 2.4kW modules can also be linked in parallel to provide up to 4.8kW of power without the need for additional hardware. The module provides the continuous power to the UAV and is hybridised with a small battery to manage the peak loads. The module can be fitted onto a number of off the shelf frames, however, efficiencies and flight time can be optimised further still on a customised frame.

To find out more about Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell power products, read our customer stories and to view videos of our products, visit www.intelligent-energy.com/our-products/ . Alternatively, email [email protected]

Taking the Temperature of Cattle

Could drones help reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock? Researchers at Texas A&M University are hoping that using drones equipped with thermal cameras can take the temperature of herd animals to help monitor the health of cattle.

Brent Auvermann, director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Amarillo, said Monday afternoon that the use of automated technology such as drones is a continuation of work in precision farming, a type of technology-assisted farming.

“If that temperature is above a certain threshold, the pediatrician is going to suspect that the child has some sort of infection,” Auvermann said. “We’re looking for the same kind of thing in animals, and truthfully, in crops as well.

“Veterinarians already use thermal imaging in their clinical practices, for example, to detect lameness in horses. If the hoof has been damaged, thermography can be used to locate the damage, because the body is naturally trying to send healing biochemicals to that area through the bloodstream.”

Win The New Parrot Anafi At The SUSB Expo

Carrying on the tradition Expo attendees will have a chance to win the Parrot Anafi and an accessory pack courtesy of the good people at ATA Carnets.

www.susbexpo.com

About the sponsor –

We’re ATA Carnet specialists, the temporary export customs document for prototypes, demo equipment, measuring devices, samples, exhibits and gear, to enter a foreign country import- duty and -tax free. UAVs, robots, schools, defense, SMEs and, start-ups benefit. We issue carnets in the US and the UK to 87 carnet countries and territories.