Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek.
French drone maker, Parrot put a teaser on their website, announcing something is coming on Wednesday, June 6th at 11:00 am EST. As with many teasers, it is very hard to figure out what may be coming down the pike. The image seems to show (the top of a drone with) a battery that has green LED lights to indicate the level of charge, similar to what DJI does with their DJI Mavic Pro batteries for instance. The pulsating green light adds some sense of mystery to the teaser. What do you guys think this may be?
More and more drones are being used to save people’s lives. We have reported on a number of cases where drones came to the rescue and made the difference between life and quite possibly death. Take a look at some of these cases where a drone saved a man from hypothermia, found an 86-year old man who was lost, are able to hear people buried in the rubble after an earthquake or send edible drones to people in need of food. There are many ways in which drones can help save people’s lives. Today we learn about a heroic Icelandic drone rescue that took place in 2016 and for which the rescue team received an award at the European Emergency Number Association (EENA) Awards ceremony in Ljubljana, Slovenia. DJI and EENA also announced that they will extend their partnership to further improve the software and hardware required for search and rescue drones.
Good morning! Here’s yesterday’s news with an article about the Kivu report that looked into where exactly your information goes when you start up your drone and DJI Go 4 app. Furthermore, we have a drone video showing off the beauty and rawness of Iceland. Enjoy!
Last Monday, we wrote about the Kivu report’s findings. Today we are taking a closer look as DJI has sent us a copy of the full report. Because of competitive reasons the Chinese drone maker has requested us not to post the entire report online or share any of the images. However, we are free to share segments of the text with you. The 27-page document is the result of Kivu Consulting’s forensic investigation of DJI’s UAV Data Transmission & Storage practices and contains information about Kivu’s methodology, analysis, findings, and explains up to a degree what information is collected and to which servers it is going. For their investigation, Kivu independently bought a DJI Spark, Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 model drones as well as a Huawei Honor 5x smartphone with the Android operating system and an iPhone SE running iOS. We went through the entire report to see if any new information came to light and to see where your information might be going to.
Good morning! Here are yesterday’s headlines. First of all, Waypoints are now available on the DJI Mavic Air thanks to Litchi! Furthermore, a massive $110 million drone base in Niger. An Amazon deal on the GoPro Karma and news on how a drone helped in the prosecution of an illegal moose poacher. Grab a coffee and jump in.
DJI had decided to remove the Waypoints feature from the Mavic Air. Some people noticed that. So did we. We wrote a post about it and contacted DJI. The company said that with enough requests, they would bring Waypoints back to the Mavic Air. Within a matter of weeks, 2.952 of our readers indicated on our site, that they do want the feature back. That has not happened as of yet. However, what did happen today is this: Litchi added the Waypoints feature for the DJI Mavic Air to their latest version of the popular app for both iOS and Android. Thank you, Litchi!
Right outside of Agadez, Niger, in the scrublands of the Sahara, the U.S. airforce is building a massive 2,200-acre drone base, costing $110 million and making it the largest troop largest troop labor construction project in U.S. history, according to the Associated Press. The base should be completed in the next couple of month but as you can imagine, building an airfield in the desert tends to be very complicated. The project already is over $22 million budget and delayed by one year. The new drone base will be used to target extremists deep into West and North Africa, regions that are currently hard to reach with drones.
In April 2017 a cow and calf moose were illegally shot near Alvena, Saskatchewan in Canada. To assist in the prosecution, Draganfly Innovations, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic were asked to create a 3D map of the conservation-related crime scene. With an Engage Grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the work was started the same month. The team used a fixed-wing drone to create a detailed visual story that would help the prosecution of the illegal moose poacher.
Good morning! Yesterday, DJI released the summarized findings of an independent report that concluded, “users have control over the types of data DJI drones collect, store, and transmit.” Meanwhile, in Colorado, municipalities are trying to balance the freedom to fly your drone versus the safety and privacy concerns of the general public. Lastly, we have a video of the monasteries in Meteora Greece, built on top of sandstone rock pillars. Enjoy.
Last year DJI dealt with a number of cybersecurity-related issues, including a hot-patch mechanism in their DJI Go 4 app, a researcher who found sensitive user data accessible on Amazon Web Services servers, the U.S. Army declaring to no longer use DJI drones, a claim from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that DJI drones could perform facial recognition and U.S. officials who wondered whether DJI was sending sensitive information back to China. Today, DJI released the summarized findings of an independent report, but paid for by DJI, from Kivu Consulting, Inc. in a response to these allegations. Kivu concluded that “users have control over the types of data DJI drones collect, store, and transmit.”
Towns in Colorado, such as Greenwood Village, are writing new drone rules in an effort to balance growing drone popularity, public safety, and privacy. While they are “not trying to be the drone police,” their new rules run into the actual drone police, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the national airspace is their sole jurisdiction.
Good morning, today we have a beautiful drone film showing off the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily. Furthermore, we have news on increased enforcement of the no-drone zone in National Park, Crater Lake as well as a DJI Phantom 4 used by the Lodi, CA police and FAA approval to fly beyond line-of-sight for a Nevada drone company.
Nevada-based, Praxis Aerospace Concepts International, a company that specializes in robotics and unmanned systems claims to be the first business in the state to have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drone beyond visual line-of-sight for commercial purposes through a Part 107 waiver. Reportedly, the company is one out of 14 businesses that have received approval from the government agency to do so.
Drones are not only getting more popular among the public, they are increasingly being used by the police as well. Today we learn that the police Department of Lodi, California acquired a DJI Phantom 4 to add to their arsenal of police equipment. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the department to fly the drone as a government agency. Three officers so far are licensed as drone pilots.
Crater Lake is simply breathtaking. I had the chance to visit Oregon’s only National Park last summer. We arrived very early in the morning and witnessed the sun rising over the rim on the other side of the crater. It was a sight I will never forget. As the sun kept rising the water slowly got its hallmark deep blue color. I resisted the urge to fly my drone at the time, but it comes as no surprise that many pilots do reach for their unmanned aerial devices, once they see the spectacular views Crater Lake offers. Unfortunately, but understandably so, you are not allowed to fly your drone in any of the National Parks since 2014, including this one. It seems though that not everybody is adhering to this rule and as a result, the park is going to step up the enforcement of the no-drone zone.
Good morning, here are yesterday’s headlines with news from the EU and Switzerland about a new law that is in the works that would require hobbyist and professional drone pilots to get a license to fly. Furthermore, we have the FlyJacket that allows you to fly your drone with body movements and two press releases from FLIR Systems and RadioPlane with their new Seeker drone. Grab a coffee and jump in!
Right now anybody in the European Union and Switzerland can simply buy a drone and start flying it right away as long as they are in compliance with the law. However, this may soon change as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is currently drafting a law that will require aspiring hobbyist and commercial drone pilots to acquire a license before they are allowed to fly their unmanned aerial aircraft. Since Switzerland typically follows the EU aviation laws, it is expected that the new rule will apply there as well according to the Bundesamt für Zivilluftfahrt (BAZL), the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation. The new rules may become in effect in 2019.
Have you ever found flying a drone too overwhelming? Are the controls too complicated or simply not intuitive to use? Well, the team of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne University (EDFL) in Switzerland has got the solution for you. It is called the upper-body soft exoskeleton, FlyJack and it allows you to control your drone by moving your torso and your arms. Yes, it may look funny but… it promises to make flying your drone feel a lot more natural.
Press Release: FLIR Systems Completes Strategic Investment in DroneSense
FLIR Systems just completed their strategic investment in DroneSense. We already know the FLIR thermal cameras from their partnership with Parrot, and now also DJI. DroneSense is a platform that allows first responders to plan and manage their drones missions. Sometimes the drones on these missions can capture sensitive information, DroneSense is compliant with FedRAMP, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and the DoD Security Requirements Guide (SRG) to keep the information safe. FLIR thermal cameras are often used in combination with drones by first responders so this investment by FLIR seems to make a lot of sense.
Press release: Introducing the RadioPlane Seeker, a landmine and gold finding drone
Well here is something new! A drone called the Seeker drone from RadioPlane that can be outfitted with a metal detector. It can then autonomously fly low over the ground and help clear areas of landmines, which are still a problem in many parts of the world. To be clear, this is the main goal of the company behind this new drone. If that is not good enough, supposedly the drone can also help you find gold while you kick back and maybe take a nap. This all sounds very ambitious, but hey, you never know. RadioPlane will be launching a Kickstarter campaign next week to make this new drone a reality. So, if you’re interested… early birds can pick one up for $3,400.