Report: The commercial drone market is soaring

The FAA’s commercial drone rules will go into effect at the end of this month, but already drones are taking off all over the world. DroneDeploy, a cloud software platform provider for commercial drones, announced it has reached 5 million acres mapped with its software, just months after it announced it had reached 2 million acres. According to the company, it took 16 months to reach the first 2 million milestone, and only a quarter of the time to more than double it.

Aug 11, 2016 12:23:48 PM

Topics: Updates

Iris Automation gives drones the ability to see beyond line of sight

Iris Automation, a drone technology startup, wants to be the eyes in the sky for drones. The company has been building an advanced collision-avoidance system for industrial drones for the past year, and it is currently looking for more companies to join its early adoption stage.

Jun 30, 2016 10:42:38 AM

Topics: Updates

Why developers should care about the drone industry

The drone industry is emerging in every sector of the economy. Drones are being used to help agriculture, videography, journalism, building inspections, and search-and-rescue missions. But it isn’t just this new piece of technology and hardware that is bringing new opportunities to these industries—it’s software.

May 31, 2016 4:31:46 PM

Topics: Updates

Hololens and Drones: A Perfect Match

At AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL conference, Drones-as-a-Service provider Insitu announced the establishment of a specialized commercial business unit. The new division will leverage its existing airframes, data science teams and Inexa Control (the commercial version of its ICOMC2 control system) to provide solutions to an expanding base of clients in industries like firefighting, energy and railway monitoring.

Greer Carper, ICOMC2 product manager at Insitu, illustrated the capabilities of Inexa Control with hands-on demonstrations of the system utilizing the Microsoft HoloLens. The walkthrough consisted of an interactive augmented reality overlay of a real-world wildfire scenario complete with a 3D map and variety of fixed-wing and UAV drones at the user's control.

All of the airframe’s core functions were available for the user to manipulate. Tapping into a drone’s camera was a matter of only a couple of gesture-based clicks, and important flight information like trajectory could be mapped with waypoints placement. From an operations standpoint, the benefit of tracking the airframes in 3D space is clear: Altitude is only a number on a 2D map, but was a tangible reality in the HoloLens demo.

The demo took some time getting used to. The HoloLens still has that wishy-washy scanline feel of Google Cardboard, but the setup and operation is more mature. Also, using your own hands to move things around is mildly disruptive to the simulation at first, but the visual feedback is its own teacher. Overall, the demonstration proves at least one use case for Hololens in the enterprise.

Carper explained that Insitu built Inexa Control on Unity to ensure multi-platform use. That means regardless if the client’s device of choice is a smartphone or tablet (or even a device as complex as the HoloLens), a bespoke solution can be carved out to match their needs with a common codebase for all devices. For example, the UAV controls are provided by a simple plug-in for ArduCopter-based vehicles.

Development editions of the Microsoft HoloLens are shipping now for $3,000, and as only a prototype, Carper believes they’ve just begun to tap into its potential. “We’re not expecting to sell tons of $3,000 devices to teams, but this is only the first round, and as the chips and form factor improves, more and more teams will want them.”

May 6, 2016 4:18:26 PM

Topics: Updates

GoPro’s anticipated drone gets delayed

GoPro has been teasing its entrance into the drone market with its upcoming drone, Karma. The drone was expected to be released earlier this year, but it seems the wait will be a little longer. In GoPro’s first-quarter 2016 results, it was revealed that the company decided to delay the drone until the holidays.

May 6, 2016 11:40:48 AM

Topics: Updates

The commercial news from AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2016

The AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2016 event happened this week in New Orleans. While the focus was meant to be on unmanned systems in general, the interest in the commercial drone space was evident. Companies and attendees from all around the globe wanted to learn and hear about the market space and how to make the industry grow.

May 5, 2016 3:40:43 PM

Topics: Updates

Kespry drones transforms worker life at Whitaker Contracting

When Whitaker Contracting project manager and estimator John Davenport was told his company was looking to integrate an unmanned aerial system into his daily work, he was very skeptical. “I thought this thing is a toy. I did not believe in it at all,” he said, “But when your boss says he wants you to look at this, then anyone with any sense is going to say ‘yes sir.’ ”

May 3, 2016 10:52:39 AM

Topics: Startups and Partnerships, Construction, Updates

Drones take on biofuels

Drones are embarking on a new mission next month to help biofuels grow. Biofuels have the potential to be a great energy source for transportation, but one biofuel in particular needs a helping hand to get off the ground.

Apr 28, 2016 10:43:57 AM

Topics: Updates

Drone delivery comes to Australia

While companies like Amazon, Google and Walmart wait to make their dreams of drone delivery a reality in the United States, Australia has already begun testing delivering small parcels via drones. The Australia Post has announced it is testing the new technology to deliver packages safely and securely to customers.

Apr 19, 2016 10:42:15 AM

Topics: Updates

Skyward wants to help commercial drone programs take flight

Skyward is committed to helping businesses and commercial drone operators take advantage of the open skies. The company recently introduced the Take Flight package to help companies fly safely and build professional programs.

Mar 3, 2016 3:52:19 PM

Topics: Updates