Category Archives: Drone news

DJI Demands Withdrawal Of Misleading Drone Collision Video

Simulation Was Staged Faster Than Both Maximum Possible Speed And FAA Guidelines

October 19, 2018 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today demanded the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) withdraw a misleading video and blog post which claim to depict a collision between a DJI Phantom 2 drone and the wing of a small airplane.

UDRI staged its video to create a scenario inconceivable in real life, at a higher speed than the combined maximum speed of the drone and airplane, which is also faster than U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) testing guidelines. UDRI has not disclosed its testing methodology or the resulting data, and while it acknowledged that a similar test with a simulated bird caused “more apparent damage,” it has only promoted the video showing damage from a DJI drone.

In a letter to the lead researcher involved in the video, DJI’s Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs said UDRI “recklessly created and promoted a video that falsely claims to depict a dangerous condition posed by one of our products. … Your public comments deliberately present an entirely improbable, if not impossible, event as a commonplace risk routinely faced by airplane pilots.”

The full text of the letter is reproduced below, and a pdf of the letter as delivered is available at this link.

October 19, 2018

Via Electronic Mail

Kevin Poormon

University of Dayton Research Institute

300 College Park

Dayton, OH 45469

Dear Mr. Poormon:

I represent DJI, the world’s largest manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones. We lead the industry in developing systems to help ensure drones continue to safely share the airspace with traditional air traffic. DJI takes aviation safety seriously. It is integral to who we are as an organization and as aviation professionals. We have proactively incorporated dozens of safety features into our products, including altitude limitation, airport geofencing, return-to-home failsafe systems, computer vision anti-collision sensors, and pilot knowledge testing. We also support research professionals who work alongside the industry and regulators to provide academic grounding to aviation safety efforts.

It is thus distressing to see how the University of Dayton Research Institute has recklessly created and promoted a video that falsely claims to depict a dangerous condition posed by one of our products. Your “Risk in the Sky?” video, blog post and media tour created a collision scenario between a drone and an airplane wing that is simply inconceivable in real life:

  • Your video assumes a Mooney M20 light aircraft is flying at its maximum possible speed of 200 mph, and encounters a drone apparently flying faster than its maximum possible speed of 33.5 mph. The plane could only achieve such speed at full cruise, typically more than a mile above ground. At the altitudes where that plane would conceivably encounter a Phantom drone, it would fly less than half as fast — generating less than one-fourth of the collision energy.
  • Your video was created contrary to established U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) crash test parameters, which assume a bird striking an airplane at its sea-level cruising speed — which is typically 161 mph to 184 mph for Mooney M20. Your video deliberately created a more damaging scenario, and was widely cited as evidence for what could happen to a large commercial jet — even though the Mooney M20 is a small plane with four seats.
  • Your video was not created as part of a legitimate scientific query, with little description of your testing methodology and no disclosure of data generated during the test. Your blog post describes a similar test performed with a simulated bird that caused “more apparent damage,” but your decision not to post or promote that video indicates your bias toward sowing fear. This contrasts with the reputable research performed by the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE), the FAA Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which meticulously tests a variety of impact scenarios in order to provide the public, the FAA, and the UAS industry, with supportable conclusions about risk. You have done nothing of the sort.

Given UDRI’s wide-ranging publicity efforts in print, broadcast and online media, it seems clear that your misleading video and incendiary blog post seem designed to generate paid research work for UDRI at the expense of the reputation of drone technology broadly, and DJI’s products specifically. Your public comments deliberately present an entirely improbable, if not impossible, event as a commonplace risk routinely faced by airplane pilots.

To elaborate on the points outlined above, the impact velocity tested, 238 mph, far exceeds any conceivable collision speed between a Mooney M20 and a DJI Phantom 2. The M20J Pilots Operating Handbook lists the maximum structural speed of a Mooney 20 at 174 knots, which is 200 mph. Cruise speed will typically be 140-160 knots (161-184 mph), more than a mile above ground. The Phantom, and our other drones, have built-in altitude limitation features. Thus in the altitudes no higher than several hundred feet above ground where a drone is likely to operate, the Mooney M20 would be taking off or landing at speeds between 70-88 knots (81-101 mph).

As for the other aircraft in this scenario, DJI has not manufactured the Phantom 2 drone for years, but its published specifications indicate a top speed of 15 meters/second, or 33.5 mph. In other words, it is virtually impossible for these two aircraft to encounter each other at the speed of your test. Given that kinetic energy, and therefore resulting damage, increases by the square of velocity, the arbitrary increase in your test velocity results in dramatically more damage.

More to the point, a test deliberately designed to generate the worst conceivable outcome is contrary to the FAA’s established testing parameters, which seek to measure the risk that an aircraft is most likely to encounter. The relevant Federal Aviation Regulation states an airplane must be capable of successfully completing a flight despite striking a bird at the equivalent of the aircraft’s cruise speed measured at sea level, which as stated above is 161-184 mph for the Mooney M20. Your test was thus performed at a speed 54 mph to 77 mph faster than a responsible collision test would require, creating a case that is unrealistic and damaging to the reputation of our company’s products.

Reputable testing institutions have meticulously tested a variety of impact scenarios in order to provide the public, the FAA, and the drone industry with supportable conclusions about risk. ASSURE has set the standard for this work by releasing detailed reports with careful documentation of their testing methodology and hundreds of pages of data. By contrast, the limited information available about your demonstration prevents anyone from determining other flaws in your methodology and conclusions.

Your video and blog post have been promoted in media around the world, yet nowhere in any of your print or television appearances have you qualified the limited and unrealistic nature of your test. As a safety researcher, surely you understand the detrimental impact on public perception when purported scientific research is not presented with appropriate caveats and with an opportunity for peer review and alternative views.

Unbalanced, agenda-driven research does substantial harm to our industry and to our company. Policymakers at all levels of government have responded to sensational media coverage by proposing and enacting new restrictions on drone ownership and use. These limitations prevent people and businesses from using drones safely for beneficial purposes, such as performing hazardous inspections or finding missing people. At least 195 people around the world have been rescued from peril by drones, many of them saved by small drones such as DJI Phantoms. By misleading the public and promoting fear about drones, you are undermining their benefits and encouraging restrictions on their lifesaving uses.

We respectfully demand that you withdraw your research, remove the alarmist video from circulation, and issue a corrective statement to the public and to all of the media outlets you have appeared in, acknowledging that the configuration of the test was invalid given the flight envelopes of the two aircraft tested, FAA testing standards, and the limited value of a single test.

Yours very truly,

Brendan M. Schulman

Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs

cc:

Dr. Allan Crasto, Director, UDRI

Mary Ann Poirier Recker, Vice President and General Counsel, University of Dayton

Keeping drones safe, secure and green: Commission launches the European Network of U-space Demonstrators

Today EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc launched the European network for drone demonstration projects. The network will become a forum to share knowledge on how to keep drone operations safe, secure and green. It will focus on the so-called U-space: a system that connects all drones flying in the air and that makes all drones visible for authorities and citizens.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “Drones are a key part of the future of aviation and will become part of our daily lives. All players can mutually learn from practical expertise on how we can keep drone traffic safe, secure and green in the public space. That exactly is the purpose of this EU wide network.”

Already today, drone and U-space projects deliver concrete results on how to fly drones safely and how to make the developing U-space system more reliably robust. Yet these U-space projects are only sustainable and will only attract additional investment if the proposed solutions are compatible with the European framework. That is why the Commission has taken the initiative to establish a European Network of U-space Demonstrators to support these projects.

The network is a cooperation of the European Aviation Safety Agency, SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) and EUROCONTROL and will focus on promising projects that still need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations. The network will focus specifically on projects with a clear business case that builds on mature technologies but need some further operational and regulatory demonstrations before starting commercial operations.

The network would also support the competent authorities in processing the numerous applications that can be expected once commercial businesses will be started.

Erwin Verstraelen, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Antwerp Port Authority: “Innovation and digitization are crucial if our harbour is to stay sustainably competitive in the long term. Drones will become indispensable in the near future, not least in our port, to support our role as operator and regulator. Furthermore, in our role of a community builder, we facilitate the use of drones as much as possible for all stakeholders. Given the particular nature of our port, this has to be done in a safe manner. Through our participation in this network, we are confirming our pioneering role and ambition to be an open and innovative hub that institutionalizes new technologies.”

Marc Kegelaers, CEO of Unifly: “This European Network of U-Space demonstrators is a first: all stakeholders of this new industry are invited to work with the regulator to explore how a solid regulation can be built to enable the European drone services market. We are excited about the prospect of contributing our international experience to this initiative. The safe integration of drone traffic is crucial.”

Johan Decuyper, CEO Belgocontrol: “The drone sector is making us re-invent ourselves as airspace manager, and deal with new types of airspace users. Rather than standing on the sidelines, we believe it is important to be a driving factor in this evolution. Yet we cannot and will not ignore the safety challenges that go along with it. The only way of dealing with this properly is to innovate, to adapt and to pave the way towards automation where we can, and in a safe and secure way. This includes also the drafting of new EU laws on the use of drones. Therefore we welcome initiatives like the platform that is announced here today. We are looking forward to fully collaborate to the platform and the drafting of EU regulation.”

ACUO and the ATSB join forces to make Australian skies safer

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc (ACUO), the peak industry body for unmanned aviation, have joined forces in pursuit of their common goal to improve transport safety as the unmanned sector of aviation continues to grow.

Through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ACUO and the ATSB, while acknowledging their independent roles, will use their collective expertise and resources to enhance safety outcomes within the aviation sector, aiming to reduce incidents involving RPAS.

ACUO, having the largest membership of certified UAV operators in Australia, will assist the ATSB to leverage industry expertise, and support a range of functions such as research, education, reporting and assistance with ATSB investigations.

“ACUO draws on a diverse group of members to provide invaluable insights into the operation of RPAS involved in commercial operations across Australia” says President Joe Urli. “It is through this collective knowledge and experience that we can provide the ATSB with the information and support needed to achieve better safety outcomes as the industry grows.”

ATSB Chief Commissioner, Greg Hood, said the MoU signing shows the commitment of both organisations to work together on improving transport safety.

“The ATSB and the ACUO are cognisant of the growth in the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles,” Mr Hood said. “We are both invested in enacting better safety outcomes in this rapidly growing area of aviation. Through a constructive and cooperative relationship, the MoU provides a platform for working in this space.”

The ACUO looks forward to working constructively with the ATSB to provide them with a calibre of trusted guidance and expertise. This collaborative approach will be integral in facilitating this next important stage of growth with the industry, safely and efficiently.

About ACUO:

The Association of Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc. (ACUO) is a not-for-profit association launched in 2009 by seven of the first eight certified Australian UAV Operators. The association was formally registered in Queensland on the 31st March 2010.

ACUO is bound by its Constitution to:

• Establish the association as a responsible authority and;

• Promote the growth and expansion of the commercial UAV/UAS/RPAS industry in Australia

• Protect the interests of CASA Certified UAV/RPAS Operators

ACUO is a Non-Corporate Partner Organisation member of UVS International, the global unmanned systems industry associated headquartered in Paris. ACUO is Australia’s representative on the International RPAS Coordination Council, a prestigious industry body initiated by UVS International to coordinate RPAS standards globally. ACUO also participates in a variety of international RPAS committees focusing on issues of importance

to the commercial sector of unmanned aviation, including RPAS Insurance, RPAS Flight-Crew Training and RPAS Airworthiness and Maintenance.

ACUO regularly provides advice on UAS related issued to governments, public and private enterprise, businesses and organizations on the fundamentals of UAV/UAS/RPAS operations in the Australian national airspace, and associated issues.

For further information please contact:

For all Executive enquiries, Media Relations etc.:

President: Joe Urli

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0408 382 165

For all General Association, Administration and Membership enquiries:

Secretary: Brad Mason

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0408 772 571

Website: www.acuo.org.au

Federal Trade Commission to investigate Plexidrone and Indiegogo

https://www.house.gov/representati…/find-your-representative

You’ll be given a link to your representative’s website and there you will find a CONTACT or EMAIL tab. All you have to do is send an e-mail advising your representative that the Plexidrone Coalition has an investigation pending with the FTC Division of Advertising Practices and that you, as a constituent, are in support of the investigation and that you’d like your representative to encourage the FTC to complete its investigation.

Every constituent e-mail helps greatly.

2) For those of you who are U.S. Citizens willing to buy a stamp and take the effort to send an old-fashioned letter, PLEASE help us by sending a simple letter to:

Mr. Devin W. Domond

Chief of Staff

Division of Advertising Practices

Federal Trade Commission

Washington DC, 205080

You simply need to tell him that you are one of many who are supportive of the FTC investigation and enforcement against both DreamQii and Indiegogo.

3) We do have two civil actions prepared that will be used to conduct discovery in support of our efforts to enforce refunds. The first action should be filed by November 1st and the second before December 1st. We will report both filings when they occur.

4) We are aware that DreamQii has ignored several inquiries by state agencies and those agencies will be doing a followup. The process can be slow, but we have enough arrows in the quiver to reasonably expect success at the state level. Nevertheless, the FTC cudgel is, by far, the most powerful and the one we are pushing the hardest on currently.

Microdrones on Tour During Trade Show Season 2018: Release of the mdLiDAR3000, as well as Two New mdMapper Systems

The high-powered MD4-3000 VTOL Quadrocopter from Microdrones at Griffiss Business Park on Thursday, August 3, 2018 in Rome, NY. (PHOTO BY NANCY L. FORD)

When you’re in the business of drones for professional applications, such as surveying, mapping, photogrammetry, LiDAR and inspection, fall is an important time of year.

The Microdrones team has been very busy, on tour showing off three new systems launched in October: mdLiDAR3000, mdMapper1000PPK and mdMapper1000+. Earlier this month, it was The Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas. Then Intergeo 2018 in Frankfurt Germany. Next month it’s back to Las Vegas for Trimble Dimensions.

We caught up with the team at The Commercial UAV Expo to get the inside scoop on these powerful new tools for professional users!

MdLiDAR3000 Is the newest LiDAR system from Microdrones that combines the heavy lifting power of the md4-3000 drone with a RIEGL LiDAR and a SONY camera for rapidly producing colourized point clouds.

The new system is unique because it takes advantage of the robust power of md4-3000, the largest Microdrones aircraft which can carry more, fly longer, and reach higher. High payload capacity makes it ideal for handling heavy LiDAR sensors, advanced mapping grade cameras, and multiple sensors and provides the robust platform for heavy duty LiDAR geomatics.

The high-powered MD4-3000 VTOL Quadrocopter from Microdrones at Griffiss Business Park on Thursday, August 3, 2018 in Rome, NY. (PHOTO BY NANCY L. FORD)

The entire integrated system enables the user to quickly acquire high density, accurate LiDAR data in the field and quickly turn it into a 3D colorized pointcloud via popular software. Microdrones President Vivien Heriard-Dubreuil explains how his team got to this point. “Last year, we led the field with the development of mdSolutions like the mdMapper1000DG, the mdTector1000CH4 and our mdLiDAR1000. The new mdLiDAR3000 is the next step in our evolution. Geospatial pros always demand a faster, more effective way to capture elevation data with extreme accuracy. We are very pleased to be the company that can empower them with a powerful new tool to do just that.”

Dr. Mohamed Mostafa, Director of Microdrones mdSolutions is very excited about the product. “The mdLiDAR3000 has been in development for the past three years and this system is revolutionary. Our md4-3000 is the ideal platform to integrate with the RIEGL miniVUX-1UAV LiDAR. The results capable via our integrated system and easy workflow are very impressive and I will be revealing them at my presentations this week.”

Mike Hogan, Microdrones Sales Director anticipates a high demand for mdLiDAR3000. “We put a lot of effort, time and resources into designing this system and it’s very rewarding to see this come to fruition. This is a serious machine for serious geomatics professionals in the construction, land development, engineering and geomatics trades.”

In addition to this new flagship LiDAR product, the Microdrones team has added new systems to round out its mdMapper lineup: mdMapper1000PPK and mdMapper1000+.

As a review, each of the now five mdMapper systems is outfitted to deliver turnkey aerial surveying, mapping, data collection, tailored to the needs of the customer, ranging from the mdMapper1000DG to the entry-level, aerial mapping package in the mdMapper200. Our top-line entry, mdMapper1000DG, uses direct georeferencing where customers are able to save time by using fewer or no ground control points for less sidelap and more productivity. Hogan explains, “Although not all of our customers may need the power of direct georeferencing just yet, they all need highly accurate and precise data collection. That’s where the mdMapper1000PPK provides high accuracy with just 1-3 ground control points.” Furthermore, down the road, when a business is ready to expand to DG, the mdMapper1000PPK is easily and affordably upgradeable via the DG READY firmware update.

At an even lower price point comes the new mdMapper1000+. This system is ideal for those who do not need DG or PPK and are willing to install ground control points on site for their projects. Hogan explains, “Customers who frequently fly the same site repeatedly find this to be an adequate solution. Best of all the mdMapper1000+ is ready to expand with the user. It’s both PPK ready and DG ready with a practical and affordable firmware upgrade.”

Geomatics and construction professionals at Intergeo 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany last month lined up to learn more about making integrated drone systems a part of their work from Microdrones head of product development, Dr. Mohamed Mostafa.

If you’re interested in learning more, the Microdrones team would love to talk with you. http://lp.microdrones.com/news

Flock’s Data Insights Part One: Pilots really do fly safer with Flock

We’ve sold thousands of micro-duration insurance policies to drone pilots across the UK. In this article we look back at the data we’ve collected and share some of our key learnings.

The data-driven approach to insurance

At Flock, we’re reinventing insurance from the ground up. Instead of annual products, we provide short-term drone insurance policies through a mobile app, Flock Cover. Since its launch in January, we’ve insured thousands of hours of drone flights across the UK.

In order for us to offer drone insurance for as little as one hour, we first need to understand the real-time risk conditions of each individual drone flight. To do this, we collect real-time information such as:

  1. Hyperlocal weather data: including wind speed, temperature, probability of rainfall etc.
  2. Environmental data: population density, proximity to ground hazards including hospitals, airports, prisons.

This is then analysed alongside more static information, such as: the pilot’s profile (experience level, claims history etc) and the details of the drone(how heavy it is, its maximum wind speed, and so on).

We then feed all of this information by our algorithms in order to calculate a Flight Risk Metric in a matter of milliseconds. This is quantified as a number from 1–100, and it is this number that our short-term insurance policies are proportionally priced upon.

Flock’s algorithms aggregate and analyse data from various sources to quantify the risk of an individual drone flight

Beyond enabling pilots to easily determine how the price of their policy is calculated, Flock’s Flight Risk Metric unlocks the ability for users to understand the relative risk of each individual drone flight. And with many thousands of drone pilots now using the Flock Cover app, we have the data to show that our pilots are acting on this information to mitigate the risks of their flights.

Key findings

1. On average, Flock pilots will compare 15 different risk-dependent quotes before they purchase a policy. This can involve changing the date and time of a drone flight, or altering its flight plan.

The Flock Cover app empowers pilots to identify what time of the day it is safest to fly. Safer flights are rewarded with cheaper insurance policies.

2.Pilots are using this information to fly safer, with the average Flight Risk Metric decreasing by 4.5. By comparing different Flight Risk Metrics, pilots can identify when and where it is safest to fly their drone in a matter of seconds.

It is easy to compare different Flight Risk Metrics and pinpoint the individual factors that drive the risk.

3. Nearly 45% of our flights are booked in advance using our Flight Planning Tool. This allows Flock pilots to identify their predicted risks up to ten days in advance, and choose the best day or time to fly (for example, avoiding rush-hour or bad weather)

4. And this is helping our users to save money! With Flock pilots typically saving 15% on each policy as a result of reducing their risk. This is the average price difference between a pilot’s first and final risk-dependent quote for a flight: the safer the flight, the cheaper the policy!

Benefits for all

Unlocking the ability to understand and visualise risk at such a granular level empowers pilots to modify their drone flights and optimise towards lower risk flights. Ultimately, safer flights lead to less claims: a win-win for both pilots and insurers.

It’s been less than a year since we launched Flock Cover to the app store. There are still plenty more insights we are excited to provide to our pilots. Some examples include highlighting what specific Risk Factor (wind speed, building density, etc.) is contributing most to the overall quoted price. We’re also exploring an optimisation tool that would allow pilots to easily compare Flight Risk Metrics on a graph over the course of a day.

For now though, it’s encouraging to see the benefits associated with understanding flight risk, and how pilots, insurers, and the drone industry as a whole, are benefiting as a result of flying with Flock.

______________________

Flock is a London-based, Government- and VC-backed ‘insurtech’ startup, pioneering the use of Big Data in drone insurance.

We are on a mission to make the world a safer, smarter place. We have built the world’s leading data-driven risk intelligence and insurance technology for the drone industry. Our first product, Flock Cover, is a mobile app, that quantifies, mitigates and insures drone flight risks (in partnership with Allianz).

www.flockcover.com. The Flock Cover app is free to download from the iOS and Android app stores.

DJI Launches New Version Of The Phantom 4 For Aerial Surveys

dji launches new version of the phantom 4 aerial surveys

DJI is the most successful drone company in the world, and the Phantom 4 is their most popular drone. We’ve covered this product extensively in our articles here on the site, as well as its variants like the Phantom 4 Pro. But on October 15th, DJI released a new version of the Phantom 4 that will further cement its place as the champion of prosumer drone technology.

The Phantom 4 RTK is a high-precision aerial surveillance drone designed for business use. It’s a smart pivot to make – drone-based aerial surveillance is used in everything from construction to agriculture to shark rescue. And a press release from the company promises that this new quadcopter will be DJI’s “most compact and accurate low altitude mapping solution to date.”

The drone will cost $6,608 USD (a steep price for any individual consumer, but a better investment for the business set the aircraft is clearly targeted towards.) Here’s what separates the RTK from the standard Phantom 4:

  • An integrated RTK survey module
  • Integration with a new TimeSync system in the DJI app
  • A 1” 20 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Post-Processed Kinematics
  • OcuSync 2.0 video transmission (previously seen on the Mavic 2)
  • Compatibility with D-RTK 2 Mobile Station (which can be purchased for an additional $4,173)

phantom-4-rtk-camera-drone

What does any of this mean? Well, RTK is short for “Real-time kinematic” positioning. It’s a technique which improves the accuracy of data derived from a satellite positioning system like GPS – in the case of this new Phantom 4, it can provide navigation and surveying that’s within a centimeter of perfect accuracy, which is extremely impressive.

A non-RTK drone requires you to place several ground control points (large “X”s in spray paint, chalk, or plastic squares that the drone can see from the air) on each square kilometer of the land that you want to survey. This process is frustrating and time-consuming, which is why RTK has become the preferred system for any business involved in surveying, mapping or inspection operations.

The D-RTK 2 Mobile Station is a large antenna mounted on a tripod that receives input from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) better than the drone itself can. It supports GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and GALILEO signals and provides both better accuracy and a stronger connection. At this time, the D-RTK 2 Mobile Station is only compatible with the new Phantom 4 RTK and costs almost as much as the drone itself.

dji phantom 4 rtk phone

These are the most important features of the new drone – the things that will set it apart from its competitors in the aerial survey market. The rest is just some extra icing on the cake. OcuSync 2.0 is a system that was first implemented with the new Mavic 2 drones which delivers better video transmission at a longer distance – something that’s very important for this type of surveillance work. The CMOS sensor improves photo and video resolution. Post-Processed Kinematics is a form of survey data that’s useful for (and already well-known to) professionals in the industry.

TimeSync is the only other feature that’s truly brand-new – a new app system which continually aligns the flight controller, camera, and RTK module on the new Phantom 4. As you’re probably picking up by now, accuracy and stability are the primary concerns of any survey drone, so having one system monitoring all of those moving parts should be very useful for Phantom 4 owners (although we at Dronethusiast have yet to try the system ourselves.)

So what do you think, dear readers? Are you excited for the Phantom 4 RTK? Do you have any other survey drones you still prefer after this announcement? Or are you still trying to wrap your brain around this new technology? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

Mike is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist who also loves flying drones. He has owned and managed Dronethusiast since 2015 and enjoys writing reviews and analyzing different topics in the fast moving Drone technology space. Along with the editorial team at Dronethusiast Mike spends hundreds of hours each year analyzing and studying different drones and their tech specs to help consumers find the best products for their needs. Contact Mike by using the Dronethusiast.com Contact page or reach out at mike@dronethusiast.com.

DroneSense-FLIR Edition

FLIR Systems, Inc. today announced the DroneSense–FLIR Edition, a drone flight management software platform designed for public safety applications. FLIR announced a strategic investment in DroneSense, an Austin, Texas-based unmanned aircraft system (UAS) software platform maker, in April 2018 and this is the first product under that collaboration. DroneSense-FLIR Edition is the only software platform to combine thermal and visual imaging processing with flight data planning and management capabilities across public safety organizations to help improve incident response.

DroneSense-FLIR Edition streams FLIR thermal sensor data directly into the software, making it a single-source, fully-integrated software platform for drones used in incident response applications such as fires, floods missing person search and rescue, disaster damage assessment and more. It includes features such as autonomous flight control, live video streaming, both on-scene and off-site, and drone asset and compliance management capabilities. The platform is hosted on a secure government cloud server and enables real-time data interpretation for a variety of drones and use cases.

The DroneSense-FLIR Edition supports the DJI Zenmuse XT2 and any DJI drone-based thermal payloads offering Thermal by FLIR® with feature functionality including visual, thermal, picture-in-picture, side-by-side imagery, and robust telemetry feature set. It may be connected via Wi-Fi or cellular networks with multiple feed streaming capabilities or used as a stand-alone, independent communications remote ad-hoc network with automatic logging and syncing of all flight data.

“Drones are a vital tool in various incident response scenarios, and the addition of FLIR thermal sensor data provides a powerful asset to first responders,” said Frank Pennisi, President of the Industrial Business Unit at FLIR. “The use of FLIR thermal technology on drones has earned tremendous interest by public safety organizations both due to their relatively low cost for an airborne surveillance system and rapid deployment capabilities. Now through our partnership with DroneSense, first responders can stream thermal data into DroneSense’s flight control software to transform incident response management.”

Drone Versus Airplane Wing: Watch What Happens

drone versus airplane wing header

Any responsible drone enthusiast knows that flying a drone near an airplane is something you should never, ever do. Even if you live in one of the few countries where flying near an airport is still legal, doing so puts the lives of pilots and passengers in danger – and will almost certainly destroy your expensive drone, too. Even as debate about drone regulation rages on, we at Dronethusiast hope we can all agree that this sort of reckless piloting is pointlessly dangerous.

Having said that, it’s human nature to be curious. We’ve all wondered at some point what would happen if such a collision did occur. And now we know, thanks to a simulation created by researchers from the University of Dayton. The video below explains everything you need to know about the project, as well as showing the crash footage we know you all want to see:

To date, there hasn’t been a major collision incident between a recreational drone and an aircraft. But researchers have spent years studying several different forms of theoretical collisions. What happens if a drone crashes into an airplane’s nose? Or gets sucked into an engine?

Most of these studies have been theoretical or are achieved using computer simulations and 3D modeling. But the test shown above was conducted in the real world by loading a DJI Phantom 2 into a cannon at a speed of 238 miles per hour, which would be the approximate speed of the impact if it happened in a real sky. This is the same setup that has been used to test bird impacts for many years (using a gelatin mold with the proper consistency instead of a real animal, naturally.)

The result? As described by Kevin Poormon, Distinguished Research Engineer and Group Leader for Impact Physics at the university: “It [the drone] completely penetrated, and it was buried inside the wing. You see a hole in the leading edge…the main spar is dented, there are several fasteners that are pulled from the bar [in] the wing skin, there’s some stringers that were bent, there’s also some tubing inside that was also bent. So, uh, there was a substantial amount of damage to the wing.”

Poormon then goes on to say that this airplane probably could have survived this impact, but that a plane traveling faster would have experienced even more serious wing damage and may have been forced to crash. Unsurprisingly, the drone itself was completely destroyed.

The DJI Phantom 2 was chosen, according to the video, because “it’s a very popular recreational drone.” Now, we all know that the Phantom 2 hasn’t been a hugely popular model for a few years, outclassed by the Phantom 3 and the most recent Phantom 4. However, it makes sense for this experiment – the researchers can use something that’s the same approximate size and shape as the most popular drone of 2018 without paying the Phantom 4’s 1,200 dollar asking price.

One of the most significant findings of this experiment was that the drone dealt much more damage than a (fake) bird of the same weight and size. The bird only caused damage to the exterior, while the drone buried itself in the wing and took out some internal supports. This is because bird flesh separates on impact and acts as several small projectiles, while the Phantom 2 held together enough to impact the wing as a single heavy object. Think about the difference between throwing a handful of gravel and throwing a brick.

Poorman’s suggestion at the end of the video is that recreational drones should be made in such a way that they seperate on impact like the birds do. This would be the best-case scenario for airplanes, but it might cause problems for drone enthusiasts like us. One of the most important things to consider when buying a drone is how durable it is – we want to purchase a vehicle that will last for a long time and which can take a few crashes without shattering into a dozen pieces.

The clash between safety and recreational drone use is an ongoing conversation – and one that we think is important to have. What do you think? Should we be building drones that self-destruct on impact, or is the threat to airplanes a non-issue? Were you surprised by the crash shown in the video? Let us know in the comments and be sure to weigh in!

Mike is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing specialist who also loves flying drones. He has owned and managed Dronethusiast since 2015 and enjoys writing reviews and analyzing different topics in the fast moving Drone technology space. Along with the editorial team at Dronethusiast Mike spends hundreds of hours each year analyzing and studying different drones and their tech specs to help consumers find the best products for their needs. Contact Mike by using the Dronethusiast.com Contact page or reach out at mike@dronethusiast.com.

FoxFury’s FAA-Approved Lights

FoxFury Lighting Solutions announces a new rechargeable Quick Swap® Power Pack with Strobe for the Rugo™ Drone & Camera Light. This new Power Pack is most useful for drone (UAV or sUAS) night operations as it fulfills the FAA FAR 107.29 requirements for dusk, dawn, and night flights. The Rugo™ is a rugged go-anywhere lighting tool that is primarily used for drones but can also be used as a camera or accent light in photography as well as a handheld search light

The FAA FAR 107.29 requirement states that drones flown at night must have anti-collision lighting visible from at least three statute miles away and be able to strobe at a frequency of 40 – 100 times per minute. FoxFury’s new Quick Swap® Power Pack with Strobe can strobe at a frequency of 90 times per minute and be seen from the required distance. The other modes on the Power Pack (low, medium, and high) can be used as a constant light source for inspection, search, and general illumination. Similar to other FoxFury products, the new Power Pack is extremely durable. It is fire and impact resistant and is waterproof up to 60 ft. For current users of the Rugo™, this Power Pack can be swapped out with the standard Power Pack and function with the existing light head. It is now available for $59.99.

“We’re excited to offer a solution for nighttime UAV operations that meets the FAA requirements. Because the Rugo™ enables the UAV to see and be seen, it can safely, quickly, and effectively enhance what the UAV camera picks up and provide real-time information back to the drone pilot, command center, and more. It’s a powerful lighting tool for nighttime public safety and enterprise operations,” said Antonio Cugini, Director of Marketing at FoxFury Lighting Solutions.

FoxFury is also offering three new lighting bundles for $249.99 each that fit a variety of drones. These bundles include two Rugo™ lights, a set of drone mounts, and a Quick Swap® Power Pack with Strobe. They are ideal for the drone pilot who wants to see and be seen as the Rugo™ lights can be used for search, inspection, and general illumination, while the Power Pack with Strobe can be used as anti-collision lighting. Bundles are available for the following drones: DJI Inspire 1, DJI Inspire 2, DJI Matrice M100, DJI Matrice M200, DJI Matrice M210, DJI Matrice M600, DJI Matrice 600 Pro, DJI Phantom 4, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Yuneec Typhoon H, Yuneec H520, and any drone with motor arms or landing gear with at least a 15 mm diameter.

Lastly, the pricing for the Rugo™ Drone & Camera Light and standard Quick Swap® Power Pack is now reduced. The Rugo™ is now $99.99 (previously $129.99), and the standard Quick Swap® Power Pack is now $49.99 (previously $69.99). The standard Power Pack is rechargeable and features four modes (dim, low, medium, and high). It is ideal for inspections, search, and camera lighting.