Category Archives: Drone news

Altitude Angel – Corporate Communications and PR Executive

Widely regarded as a technical leader in the emerging field of Drone Traffic Management (UTM), Altitude Angel develops cloud-scale systems to facilitate the safe integration of unmanned vehicles into national airspace worldwide. In short, we don’t make drones; we make them safe. Our national foundation technologies are deployed internationally by governments, civil aviation authorities and air navigation service providers to meet the needs of an emerging industry.

Altitude Angel is excited to announce that we are looking for an enthusiastic, passionate and self-motivated Corporate Communications and PR Executive to join our fast-paced technology and aviation start-up.

This newly-created role will form part of our new Strategic Communications team, where you’ll play a key part working alongside our Marketing Assistant.

You must have 3-5 years’ experience working in a similar role for a small- to medium-sized company, as part of a small team – or solo!

Key Responsibilities:

  • Be the first point of contact for all PR related matters across the business as well as internal and external communications.
  • Execute and refine the Company’s communications and PR strategies.
  • Be responsible for helping to shape our “corporate voice” guidelines and roll them out across the business.
  • Manage and maximise the value of PR agency relationships.
  • Be responsible for managing all press, media and analyst relations.
  • Work closely with the leadership team to tune public messages and connect communications activities to broader strategic objectives.
  • Own and drive positive news coverage of Altitude Angel whilst continuing to grow our social media presence.
  • Work closely with strategic partners to align messaging as well as identifying and driving community engagement.
  • Coordinate and co-author the creation of corporate whitepapers, blog posts and press releases, ready for executive sign-off.
  • Regularly report analytics for social media growth, campaign success, SEO plan etc., to the management team.

Skills:

  • You will be an excellent communicator through various means but predominantly written English
  • You will have an excellent vocabulary and not just an eye for detail, but a true passion for it!
  • You’ll demonstrate an ability to make the complicated seem simple, creatively using language to maximally communicate a concept or idea as simply as possible.
  • Proactive multi-tasker with excellent organisational skills and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Previous experience managing social platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter etc.)
  • Fully proficient in Microsoft Office, including Word and PowerPoint, plus Outlook.

Bonus points…

  • Degree in English Language (or similar | ideally 2:1 or above) or equivalent industry experience.
  • Fluent in more than one language, both written and verbal.

Our ideal candidate must have a strong desire to grow in one of the country’s most promising tech and aviation start-ups; to make a real impact on day one and to be able to rise to any challenge!

Sound like you? Get in touch today and join the global company defining the future of aviation.

Suntuity AirWorks Expands Its Global Drone Services With BirdsiVideo Acquisition

Suntuity AirWorks (https://www.suntuityairworks.com), is excited to announce the acquisition of BirdsiVideo and Osprey Assessments, two of the largest UAS (unmanned aerial systems) dealer and services networks across the United States.

The acquisition will enable BirdsiVideo and Osprey Assessments to leverage the length and breadth of the Suntuity Group of Companies which includes financial, software, energy, infrastructure, and data collection solutions for commercial and government entities across the globe. It will also further enable the expansion of BirdsiVideo’s existing dealer base with turnkey deployments including drone leasing, drones as a service, and business analytics.

“We see the opportunities created to be limitless,” said Dan Javan, President of Suntuity AirWorks. “The scope of our drone and UAV capabilities through this strategic acquisition will support several new business verticals with end-to-end customized solutions for a multitude of industries.”

“Suntuity has a lengthy resume of servicing commercial and government entities in several countries around the world,” said Josh Kneifel, President of BirdsiVideo. “Our technology services will enhance an already successful business and help further expand its offerings to improve operations across multiple industry verticals.”

For more information on Suntuity AirWorks, please visit https://www.suntuityairworks.com.

For more information on BirdsiVideo and Osprey Assessments, please visit https://www.birdsivideo.com and https://www.ospreyassessments.com

About Suntuity AirWorks

Suntuity AirWorks is the UAV and Drone services division of the Suntuity Group of Companies, with drone and UAV service offerings in multiple countries and across the US. Its hardware and software platforms deliver state of the art industry-specific solutions from DJI, FLIR, Berkley and other reputable organizations.

About BIRDSiVIDEO

BIRDSiVIDEO is a Franchise 500 ranked commercial drone service company with a network of franchise and affiliate pilots servicing UAS needs nationwide, and outside the US. Founded in 2014, BIRDSiVIDEO offers energy, agricultural, and infrastructure inspections using both high definition and thermographic imagery to collect data necessary to their clients.

DJI Announces New Smart Controller For Mavic 2

dji mavic 2 smart controller

Well, how about that. Mere hours after we reported on Drone DJ’s story that we wouldn’t see the long-fabled Mavic 2 pro controller at CES 2019, DJI announces that very item. We work on the facts we have at time, folks…although I’m sure none of our readers are disappointed by this surprise announcement.

The DJI Smart Controller is a $650 R/C controller fitted with a 5.5-inch 1080p touchscreen that runs on the Android operating system. The company says that it is “designed to maximize your outdoor flying experience with the Mavic 2 or other aircraft equipped with OcuSync 2.0.”

OcuSync is the transmission system that communicates between DJI drones and controllers – the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom editions are currently the only models equipped with version 2.0, although the wording of this description certainly suggests we’ll see more drones with the technology in the future.

At any rate, the main focus of the Smart Controller itself seems to be maximizing usability in harsher outdoor conditions. Its first selling point on the DJI website is an Ultra-Bright display (1,000 cd/m2) that’s supposed to make your FPV live feed easier to see when working in direct sunlight.

dji smart controller 5 inch screen

Since the transmission itself is powered by the aforementioned OcuSync 2.0, it should stream faster and more clearly than other FPV controllers and supports automatic switching between 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz transmission frequencies. This reduces the influence of environmental interference on drone operation and image quality while also ensuring long-range video transmission at distances of up to 8 kilometers (about 5 miles.) However, Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi connections are also available for those who don’t care about having the longest possible range when they fly.

Further cementing the idea that this is a controller designed to be used anywhere, the Smart Controller is also designed to operate in temperatures that range from -20° Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit to 40°C (104 degrees Fahrenheit.) It will be interesting to see if photographers use these features to capture new types of landscapes in the coming months.

DJI has not specified exactly which version of Android powers the controller, but the underlying machine has 16GB of ROM and supports microSD UHS-I Speed Grade 3 cards up to 128GB. These are used to run the DJI ap and a small assortment of video editing apps as well as to communicate with the drone itself.

dji smart controller 5 share media

Though touch screen controls are supported, most users who buy this controller will probably want the greater degree of precision provided by the two throttle sticks mounted onto the device itself. We don’t have a reporter at CES ourselves, but early reports suggest that the controls work well and feel fairly comfortable for most users (always a concern with these blocky, rectangular transmitters.)

With so many features you might be wondering what the catch is to all this. Well, as it turns out, there’s two. The first is that the Smart Controller costs $650 USD. That’s more than the price of some drones, and will probably price this controller right out of the amateur market (a shame for hobbyists interested in more precise controls.)

The second is that the Smart Controller’s 5000 mAh battery only lasts 2.5 hours, can’t be removed, and takes a full two hours to charge. While that’s longer than the lifespan of the single battery included by default with the Mavic 2, for drone photographers who like to use multiple batteries and have longer shoots that basically means the Smart Controller is a no-go.

What do you think? Is the long-rumored Smart Controller everything you Mavic 2 owners were hoping for? Or does it leave a lot to be desired? Sound off in the comments, and look for our Dronethusiast review sometime in the near future.

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.

Dronethusiast Roundup | Drone Predictions & Rumors January 2019

dronethusiast roundup january 2019

Welcome to the Dronethusiast Roundup, a new regular article series that Dronethusiast will be creating to showcase some of the great writing and video production from content creators across the Internet. These are the articles we love sharing around the office – only now, we’re sharing them with you.

2018 was a great year for drones, but will we be able to say the same about 2019? That’s the question on every drone enthusiast’s mind as we enter the new year. Here’s some of our favorite coverage of the most interesting drone predictions and rumors we’re hearing about in 2019, as chosen by the Dronethusiast staff.

The Consumer Electronics Show 2019

dronethusiast roundup consumer electronics show 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, is the biggest event of the year for drone news (and consumer electronics in general). This year, the exposition is taking place from January 8th to 11th in Las Vegas, under the theme “The Global Stage For Innovation.”

Most drone lovers will be wondering what DJI, the Chinese megacorporation that all but holds a monopoly on the consumer drone market, will be showing off at CES 2019. So far there’s only one confirmed announcement: FLIR Systems, a company that specializes in imaging hardware, will be integrating its FLIR Lepton micro-thermal imaging camera with DJI’s extremely popular Mavic 2 drone. This is in line with DJI’s biggest announcement last year, which was a partnership with IBM and Ryze.

ces 2019 dji mavic pro 2 flir therml imaging

The news was broken by Gadget magazine, which we link to below.

Link: CES DJI Mavic 2 Drone with FLIR Thermal Imaging

While the FLIR integration is the only confirmed announcement, rumors are swirling about what DJI might be showing at the biggest event of the year. Personally, we suspect it won’t be much – DJI has more recently favored announcing their biggest projects at independent events, like last year’s Mavic 2 announcement. But our associates at Drone DJ have done a good job reporting on some of the most credible rumors on their blog, including the question of whether or not the long-teased “Pro controller” will be making an appearance.

Link: DJI ‘Pro’ Remote Controller Is Likely Delayed And Might Not Be At CES 2019

Of course, DJI’s not the only game in town (not yet, anyway.) The Verge, one of the few mainstream tech outlets with reliably great drone reporting, has compiled an extremely comprehensive guide on what to expect from the show floor below. Among other news: the FT Aviator controller and Yuneec Mantis Q have already been named CES 2019 Innovation Awards honorees, and many companies will be showing off drones that can capture footage underwater.

Link: What To Expect From The Biggest Tech Show Of The Year

dronethusiast roundup what's new in consumer drones_

What’s New In Consumer Drones

Okay, besides the flashy announcements, what will the commercial drone industry look like in January of 2019 and beyond? DroneFlyers’ Malex Murison weighs in with one of the more comprehensive prediction articles we’ve seen, where he covers some ongoing trends in the consumer space. The whole piece is worth your time, but one interesting note: he seems to agree with the Verge piece above that more and more drones may be going the weather-proof/waterproof route.

Link: 2019 Consumer Drone Industry predictions

dronethusiast roundup january 2019 commercial drone industry predictions

Commercial Drone Industry Predictions For January 2019

Though we at Dronethusiast usually specialize in writing about consumer drones, the commercial space is becoming more and more exciting in the wake of reduced FAA regulation in 2016. Commercial UAV News sat down with Anil Nanduri, Vice President in the New Technology Group and General Manager of the UAV segment at Intel, to discuss what they think the future of drones may bring.

The interviewer, CUN’s own Jeremiah Karpowicz, seems concerned about the rise of drone security and counter-drone solutions in the wake of the Gatwick Airport incident, but Nanduri largely dismisses these fears and says the commercial drone industry will continue to grow from relationships with the construction and utility sectors.

Link: 2019 Commercial Drone Predictions with Anil Nanduri

dronethusiast roundup january 2019 parrot drones

The Death Of Parrot Drones?

One sad trend we’re likely to see in 2019 (as also highlighted in the DroneFlyers article cited above): DJI is only going to continue getting more dominant in the consumer drone space. Sure, we all love DJI drones, but we’ve also seen time and time again that monopolies and consumer electronics are a bad mix, one that inevitably leads to dangerous anti-consumer practices and a reduction in competitive innovation.

Last year we saw GoPro shutter their drone services while Autel and Yuneec continued to fall behind in market share (the latter being our favorite of the supposed “DJI killers” here at Dronethusiast.) Now, as we head into January, the news breaks that Parrot has experienced a 45% drop in revenue and has had to lay off 100 employees, possibly spelling doom for the popular French drone manufacturer.

Murison lays out the whole report in yet another good article:

Link: Parrot To Cut 100 Jobs Amid ‘Consumer Drone Market Contraction’

In Conclusion

So what do you think? Are waterproof and submersible drones something you’re looking forward to? Are you concerned about the seemingly unstoppable rise of DJI to a monopoly position? Do you think the drone industry will continue to grow as Nanduri predicts, or do you think we might start to see a plateau? Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think about these January 2019 predictions and rumors.

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.

Airspace Integration And The Government Shutdown

At the time of musing about this piece, I believe we were three weeks into the current government shutdown. There are people on the various social media sites who have posted but, now that I think about it, not as much as prior to the shutdown. They are lamenting over their plights and voicing dissatisfaction with the President, espousing the notion that they’ll work it out.

Well, that is exactly what inspired me to inspire with a little history lesson for those of you currently furloughed by the recounting of the great government shutdown of 2007. Oh, now that was the granddaddy of shutdowns right there.

It got so bad that I came up with what is now an old saw that goes like this: too much drone and your marriage could go unmanned. Folks get a chuckle out of it these days, but boy howdy a lot of guys lived it as they waited what turned out to be almost ten years to get back to business.

Others have started online shutdown support groups and that is not a bad idea. I sure wish someone would have come up with an idea like that back in ought-seven. It was a bloodbath: folks had poured all of their time and money into a business that became illegal both arbitrarily and overnight. Much like now, we didn’t think it would last long, as we were told not more than sixty to ninety days. Sixty to ninety days came and went and the years dragged on. Folks started losing their cars, homes, marriages, families, and what was left of their dignity.

Romance without finance is a nuisance, as the saying goes. I received countless calls over the years of people lamenting their plights and asking me to bless or validate their plan of action to save their livelihoods. I would never tell people to break the law, but I couldn’t tell them not to do what they felt they needed to do to save their marriages, or from being separated from their children, etc. Shit gets real for people when their world is coming apart and their kids are facing the street. I became resentful as time went on, and people fiddled (collected a check) while this industry’s Rome burnt to the ground and blew away. Well, not for the lawbreakers, but the honest folks. This is where some of the noncompliance issues came from, but that is a story for another time.

Those stories were my motivation to insist that the bureaucrats, nest feathers, and used car salespeople that were doing all of this sandbagging get off the dime and do the people’s bidding. Even now I get emotional when I think back on federal employees making excuses for the dysfunction and/or their sarcastic words of encouragement. “You’ll land on your feet,” or “You’ll be able to be in business again someday,” and others even worse. All I know for sure is: people had the power to get something done and they didn’t, and to this day I find that brand of professional apathy repugnant.

On to the lemonade –

In the end, a lot of those folks have new wives, and some are probably still in touch with their old wives, setting up visitation and sending child support checks from their apartments. To those of you furloughed in the airspace integration effort, welcome to the private sector simulator! Maybe now you can understand the plight of the entrepreneur, inventor, or student when moving this process forward. For the rest of you, maybe the next time you see me at a meeting and I call out the dysfunction or speak up, you’ll know why.

Beta Technologies flies Ava eVTOL

One of the few eVTOLs not starting life as a Part 103 aircraft the 34-foot wingspan, 4,000-pound Ava has been in stealth mode for some time. It has emerged as an amazing eVTOL arena entrant. I would not be surprised if the test flight alone made it the fastest eVTOL to date.

The nerdy bit that appeals to me, Austin Myers of X-Plane has been behind the simulations.

Beta Technologies eVTOL Prototype, shown during flight test and with commentary from company founder Kyle Clark. The company is funded and has a launch customer, manufactured organs developer United Therapeutics. The prototype, called Ava, will execute a cross-country flight in the spring or summer of 2019, at the same time that the final production configuration will be revealed. The company has executed more than 170 flights. The prototype aircraft can reach a top speed of 170 mph and has a range of 150 miles.

Flight recharged

DJI Urges Caution In Evaluating Reports Of Drone Incidents

Recent Sightings At Multiple Airports May Be Influenced By Publicity

DJI is monitoring recent reports of drones flying in close proximity to various airports and has offered assistance to investigators and airports where these sightings have occurred. To date, none of these reports has been confirmed, and there is no proof that any of these alleged incidents occurred. Despite the lack of evidence, new sightings have been reported at more airports, raising the prospect that new reports are being spurred by publicity from past incidents.

DJI urges caution in evaluating initial reports of drone incidents because many of them turn out to be wrong. The true culprits have included a plastic bag (UK, 2016), structural failure (Mozambique, 2017), a bat (Australia, 2017) and a balloon (New Zealand, 2018). While there have been isolated cases of drones being flown improperly, drones have amassed an admirable safety record around the world, and the overwhelming majority of drone pilots want to fly safely and responsibly.

”This recent rash of unconfirmed drone sightings may reflect the power of suggestion more than actual use of drones at airports,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “As more airports and airlines use drones for their own inspection, surveying and security purposes, aviation stakeholders must determine how to respond to drone sightings in ways that help ensure safety but cause the least disruption. DJI stands ready to assist the industry with this important work.”

DJI deplores any attempt to deliberately cause harm with a drone, and fully supports criminal sanctions against people who are proven to have done so. DJI has also developed technological solutions to help ensure drones remain a safe and beneficial addition to the skies. Our Geospatial Environment Online geofencing system is designed to automatically prevent drone operators from flying near airports, prisons, power plants, major sporting events and other sensitive locations. Our AeroScope remote identification system allows authorities to monitor drones in sensitive airspace, as well as to locate the pilots of those drones and record their serial numbers. Our AirSense receiver in our latest professional drones warns drone pilots if a helicopter or aeroplane appears to approach them.

DJI continues to develop safety and security solutions for drone operation, even when they are not required by law or regulation. DJI also works with aviation authorities around the world as they seek to provide easy ways for drone pilots to register their craft, prove they understand the rules for safe drone operation, and fly in full compliance with the law.

For additional information, please contact:

Adam Lisberg, DJI Corporate Communication Director – [email protected]

Norway issues UTM RFI

The main objective for Avinor ANS is to achieve a cost efficient system in support of providing safe air traffic control services in Norway. The amount of requests to operate drones inside the 5 km zone of airports and other airspaces is increasing, and Avinor ANS is therefore considering procuring an UTM-system for handling drone activity in a safe manner, both in relation to airports as well as controlled and uncontrolled airspace.

https://ted.europa.eu/TED/notice/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:15426-2019:TEXT:EN:HTML&src=0

Schiebel doubles aircraft production

SCHIEBEL-CAMCOPTER

AUSTRIA – Schiebel doubles its production capacity in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. Schiebel has been contracted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to supply Camcopter S-100 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for maritime surveillance services.

Schiebel provides maritime surveillance services at several locations simultaneously. The UAVs will be equipped with an L3 Wescam MX-10 Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) camera gimbal and an Overwatch Imaging PT-8 Oceanwatch payload, as well as an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver.

In Australia, Schiebel provided the Camcopter S-100 as an electronic reconnaissance platform. Two systems − the ELK-7065 Compact Airborne HF COMINT/ DF 3D system from ELTA Systems and the TK-5 Firewatch from Overwatch Imaging – were integrated into the UAV during the campaign. The combination proved to be remarkably flexible high frequency (HF) communication reconnaissance (COMINT), suitable for operation in harsh electromagnetic environments.

In view of the growing demand, Schiebel has doubled its production capacity in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. For further information on Austria´s Security & Defence Sector please contact me. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andklemm/

DroneClash: the Dutch answer to the Gatwick Incident

Delft, the Netherlands. 10th January 2019. DroneClash, the world’s first counter-drone competition, is today announcing its final call for entries, with a spoof video

The film shows a drone circling a tower at “Katwick Airport”, before a close-up reveals that the drone is carrying a banner, advertising DroneClash 2019’s top prize of € 30,000.

The second edition of DroneClash, dubbed a “Robot Wars in 3D” will take place on March 16th 2019 in Katwijk, the Netherlands. This spectacular competition will see teams put new innovations in counter-drone technology to the test by battling it out in a specially constructed arena in the Katwijk aircraft hangar. The aim of the game is simple: use fighter drones to bring down the Queen drone of the opposing team using whatever means possible. The only restriction is no jamming.

Before fighter drones can attack the opposing team’s Queen drone, they must navigate the Hallway of Doom, Death and Destruction, where the Dutch police will employ counter-drone measures in an attempt to snare or slow the drones, some of which are capable of speeds of close to 200 kph.

With seven international early-bird teams already preparing for battle, it’s now time for more drone enthusiasts to enrol: http://www.droneclash.nl/teams/

Teams will be in with a chance of winning a share of €50,000 in prize money.Entries to DroneClash 2019 will close on January 31st.

Gatwick: the importance of counter-drone technology.

DroneClash, an initiative of the Delft University of Technology’s Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory (MAV Lab), is a fun event with the serious aim of stimulating research in counter-drone technology. For society to enjoy the benefits of drones – whether it be for medical purposes, logistics or leisure – it’s also vital to be able to maintain drone-free areas. The authorities have to be able to bring down malevolent drones.

The drone incident at Gatwick demonstrated the importance of strong policy and effective counter-drone technology. The incident caused the airport to be shut down on multiple occasions between 19th and 21st December 2018, impacting an estimated 1,000 flights and 140,000 passengers, many of whom were trying to return home for Christmas. It took the British army and the reported use of an Israeli system called Drone Dome to detect and jam the drone signals, bringing the drone disruption to a stop.

Where eagles dare

Post-Gatwick, discussion about counter-drone technology has repeatedly referred to the Dutch Police’s (past) trial of bald eagles as drone interceptors. With their excellent long-range vision (which enables them to spot rabbits at a distance of 5 km), their acrobatic swooping skills and their razor sharp talons, bald eagles proved to be a promising solution. But getting birds of prey fully engaged in an organisation is something else! There need for a technical and scalable solution remains. It most likely needs to combine clever software with easy-to-use hardware. As with most tricky engineering and science problems, collaboration is key…hence DroneClash.

DroneClash’s sponsors

DroneClash is sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Defence (the head sponsor) and the Dutch Police. In the spirit of international collaboration, the Dutch Police have extended a warm welcome to their counterparts in other European countries to either join forces in an international police team, or to join a Counter-Drone Coalition meeting which will take place on the same day as DroneClash.