Top Drone Industry News 28 November 2016

Top drone industry news, hand-picked for you by Skytango’s team with comments from Steve Flynn, Skytango’s CEO. Edition: Nov. 28 2016.

Drone Industry News

Drones in agriculture and the importance of safe and responsible behaviours in drone pilots are still a hot topic this week.

Neha Chamaria on Motley Fool writes an interesting piece on drones in agriculture, reporting about some of the moves innovative companies in this sector are making, in terms of product development and investments.

A timely article during Thanksgiving week by Andrew Liptak on The Verge shows how drones can contribute to improving the productivity of cranberry farms in the Northeastern corner of the United States, in particular when integrated with data analysis and automation.

An Australian former farmer has developed a system of dropping predatory bugs through drones on strawberry fields. The bugs attack the mites which destroy strawberry crops.

With Christmas fast approaching, there is a lot of buzz around recommended drones to buy under target budgets.

That Drone Show is working on the ultimate drone gift guide, a series of articles helping to find the perfect drone to buy as a gift. Sally French (thedronegirl.com) reviews 2 drones under $200. National Geographic‘s photographer Kike Calvo offers his list of the best 10 drones for 2017. Mihail Dimitrov (drone-supremacy.com) has picked 10 holiday drone deals for different budgets.

Millions of drones worldwide will be hitting the shelves, sold and used in a few weeks (even if the most anticipated models, GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic Pro, probably won’t be available before the end of the year). By the way, great review of the Mavic Pro by Wall Street Journal Personal Tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler.

This will increase the risks of accidents. How likely is the chance of an accident due to drone pilots’ lack of training and common sense? High, according to a leading drone operator in Ireland interviewed by Amy Molloy in a piece published by the Independent following a series of near misses between drones and planes in the last few weeks (true, in some of the cases drones were not the culprit, like in a recent Toronto incident).

Research carried out by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that only 39% of drone owners are aware of the safe-flying regulations. To lower the risks in the UK, the CAA has updated the Dronecode, a simple set of rules and guidelines which outline how to fly drones safely and within the law in the UK. The Dronecode, built to help drone buyers to fly safely and responsibly, even without proper formal training, is being promoted to retailers, and is available to download at the new website dronesafe.uk, launched in partnership with UK air traffic control body NATS, the Department for Transport and a few other players in the UK drone and aviation industry.

According to Technavio’s research report released a few days ago, the commercial drone-enabled services market is expected to grow at an annual CAGR of 35.47% in the period 2016-2020, even if countries around the world are increasingly banning or limiting specific applications with high potential such as deliveries or logistics. The top seven industry vendors include 3D Robotics, AeroVironment, DJI, Leptron, Parrot, PrecisionHawk and Trimble UAS.

Confirming the trend, other regulatory roadblocks could come up anytime for Amazon’s research on delivery drones in UK. Ben Sullivan on Motherboard comments on Britain’s recent new transport secretary Chris Gayling’s warning that delivery drones do indeed pose a safety risk, and that they need to be “handled with great care” before flights are allowed. The warning, initially reported by The Times, came up during Gayling’s speech at the Airport Operators Association annual conference in London on Monday 21st Nov.

New Drone Products/Ideas

UK insurance company Direct Line has launched the idea of drones being able to bring illumination on-demand. A user in need of light, for example, while walking home at night, could request through an app a drone equipped with high-powered floodlights. It’s just a marketing gimmick rather than a real product for the moment, and the system would have to clear serious legal, commercial and technical hurdles before releasing to the public, but these are potential applications in real scenarios like post-disaster operations.

Drone Journalism

University of Arizona’s journalism students used drones, among other technologies, for a project on cultural and social issues along the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.

Aerial Photography

I read about 3 great aerial photographers this week: Romeo Durscher, Michael B. Rasmussen and Johnny Miller.

Dronestagram interviewed Romeo Durscher, Director of Education at DJI, on his passion for drones and drone photography.

Danish photographer Michael B. Rasmussen’s series of photos on Fall in Denmark was featured in Wired this week. Stunning photos!

American photographer Johnny Miller, supported by Code for Africa and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has launched a new series of drone photographs highlighting inequality in Nairobi, Kenya. Miller had previously used drone photography to document the disparity between poor and rich in Cape Town, South Africa through the Unequal Scenes project.

#DronesForGood

Tom Foster on Consumer Report offers a nice recap of how drones are changing the world, providing great examples of drones applications in different sectors, including agriculture, internet access, video, insurance, first responders, safety inspections etc.

The UNHCR (United Nationas High Commissioner for Refugees) is using drones to help displaced populations in Mali, Nigeria and South Sudan, mapping populations of displaced people, assessing their needs, figuring out how best to get assistance to them, and evaluating environmental damage caused by displacement.

A team of researchers from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has developed a novel drone, equipped with a suite of sensors able to gather precise field data on the complex terrains and airflows in individual windfarms, and help identify the most efficient places to plant wind turbines, writes Lynda Delacey on New Atlas.

The local government of Penang, a Malaysian island, is successfully using drones to get footage of hard to reach areas and monitor illegal clearing activities on the hills in the island, reports New Straits Times.

Drone Events

Leah Frots and Tim Kidwell on Drone360 offer a recap of the second annual Drone World Expo held in Nov. 15-16, 2016. Tiaan Roux writes about the DroneCon which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 17-18, 2016.

Juan Plaza explains his 5 key insights from the Commercial UAV Expo (it’s a biased piece, but still interesting).

Upcoming events till the end of the year:

Drone Film/Photo Festivals

Did you miss the 2016 Flying Robot International Film Festival premiere in San Francisco? Don’t worry: watch the 8 winners of the event!

Now open for submissions:

Aerial Video of the Week

The video I picked for this week shows the impressive Kekerengu Fault rupture caused by the Kaikoura Earthquake in New Zealand. Drones have represented an effective tool to quickly assess local environmental impacts in recent earthquakes and other natural disasters:

Thanks for reading and for sharing and as ever, safe flying.

Steve

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