DRONEII: 2020 Drone Regulation Update

DRONEII: 2020 Drone Regulation Update

All five of the key areas of regulations and government measures discussed in this article will remain in focus in the coming year. What changes and what remains the same in the DRI ranking will largely depend on the headway that governments are able to make in cooperating with private stakeholders to create the drone regulations that best help stimulate and facilitate a healthy drone industry. The global health pandemic will likely to continue to impact the industry, as demand for automation increases and consequently special permissions for various drone operations increase in number.

However, while special permissions go a long way to open the door towards more complex missions, they are ultimately only a small step compared to the standardisation of those complex missions through comprehensive regulations. Therefore, the true impact of COVID-19 will remain to be seen in the long term as the industry awaits further integration of drones into airspace, especially urban and suburban areas that are currently heavily restricted.

DRONEII’s token social scientist, Millie Radovic has a BA in International Relations from King’s College London and an MSc from the University of Oxford. Earlier, she amongst other things researched Science & Tech policy for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels. At DRONEII she particularly looks at drones and international development & global health projects.

Here Are The Winners Of Dronestagram’s 5th Annual International Drone Photography Contest

Here Are The Winners Of Dronestagram’s 5th Annual International Drone Photography Contest

Aerial photography social media platform Dronestagram has today announced the winners of its fifth annual Drone Photography Contest.

Previously the competition has been split into multiple categories, but this time around the organizers decided to simplify the process and award a simple 1st, 2nd and 3rd ranking to the best three entries.

The images are once again a testament to the creativity that drones enable and the passion and skill of aerial photographers around the world.

Despite the regulations and constraints that increasingly weigh on recreational drones, creativity has not been curtailed and the unique worldview allowed by drones continues to make us dream.” – Eric Dupin, founder of Dronestagram.

Here are the winners.

1st Place

The winner of Dronestagram’s International Drone Photography Contest was HUNGRY HIPPOS by zekedrone. You can view the author’s profile here. 

hungry hippos drone shot

2nd Place

The runner-up was this magnificent shot, FISHING NET IN VIETNAM by Trung Pham. See the author’s profile here.

2ndin dronestagram photography contest 2019

3rd place

3rd place went to 2 PEOPLE, 2 DOGS & 4 SHADOWS by qliebin. You can see the author’s profile here.

third place in dronestagram contest

Thoughts from the Dronestagram founder

2018 didn’t end well for the drone industry, with plenty of coverage for all the wrong reasons following the fiasco at Gatwick airport in London. However, it’s nice to be able to give some publicity to Dronestagram’s community, which relentlessly shows the positive potential of drone technology.

”This year we decided to simplify the rules of the contest in order to give the greatest freedom to our community of drone photography enthusiasts. We were not disappointed with the result: thousands of amazing pictures among which it was extremely difficult to make a choice,”  said Eric Dupin, the founder of Dronestagram.

“Despite the regulations and constraints that increasingly weigh on recreational drones, creativity has not been curtailed and the unique worldview allowed by drones continues to make us dream. A big thank you to all the participants, we look forward to the next edition!”

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife.
Email Malek
Twitter:@malekmurison

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Has The Mota Group Quietly Shut Down? The Curse Of The Lily Drone Strikes Again

Has The Mota Group Quietly Shut Down? The Curse Of The Lily Drone Strikes Again

In October we published a brief investigation into goings on at the Mota Group, the company that purchased the marketing and branding rights to the original (and doomed) Lily Drone project.

As part of the Mota Group’s marketing efforts, the company used its newly acquired list of let down Lily backers to help fund and sell a new but limited version of the drone the original project had intended to take to market. The Mota Group was able to directly target the very people who had received refunds from the original Lily project and offer them discounts on the new drone.

It came to our attention that there were plenty of unhappy customers who felt mistreated by the Mota Group for a variety of reasons. The company website itself was also riddled with fake reviews and fishy marketing practices, while several buyers had problems with their shipments and felt let down once again.

As well as a discount, many backers of the original Lily project were offered share options ahead of the company’s purported IPO if they made a purchase.

The new drone did hit the market and get out to customers. But the San Jose company was later found to have overstated revenue for 2016, before agreeing to a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and withdrawing its IPO registration statement.

Read more: Fake Reviews and Lily Next-Gen No-Shows: Is the Mota Group Letting Customers Down?

To this day, DroneLife is still getting messages from disgruntled Mota Group customers.

So what’s the latest? Well, it looks like big (and bad) news.

Has the Mota Group Shut Down?

A quick browse of the Mota Group’s social media channels and the official Lily Camera’s social media pages show that all have been untouched since before the turn of the year.

The Mota Group website is also blocked or disabled. As well as that, the official Lily Drone website (http://www.lily.camera), part of the branding package bought and run by the Mota Group, is also unavailable to access.

This would chime with reports we’ve been getting of annoyed Lily customers who are having their support tickets ignored completely, as well as stories that the customer phone number is no longer operational.

It would also suggest that the Lily Drone has struck again, once again leaving unlucky customers out of pocket and in search of answers.

We’ve attempted to contact members of staff at the Mota Group and are yet to receive any replies. It’s not looking good.

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife.
Email Malek
Twitter:@malekmurison

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DJI Unveils Smart Controller With Built-In Monitor at CES 2019

DJI Unveils Smart Controller With Built-In Monitor at CES 2019

DJI has launched a new remote controller for its drones at CES 2019. The Smart Controller combines an ultra-bright display with all of the usual controls, in a move that the Chinese manufacturer will be hoping appeals to pilots who want to fly without having to bring along a phone or tablet.

DJI Smart controller for mavic 2
DJI Smart Controller: An Upgrade on CrystalSky?

The DJI Smart Controller is the latest product to join the company’s ecosystem of accessories.  The 5.5” screen is built into the controller itself, giving pilots one less thing to worry about having to carry around, potentially lose or need to attach before taking off.

The Smart Controller is compatible with DJI’s newest drones: The Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro. The Mavic 2 Enterprise series will be supported in future updates. The screen displays flight video in Full HD resolution.

The Smart Controller’s ultra-bright display offers an output of 1000 cd/m2, equivalent to twice the brightness of standard smartphones.

The controller comes pre-loaded with an Android dashboard that supports the DJI GO 4, and DJI Pilot applications. The DJI GO 4 app also has been revamped to include SkyTalk, a feature that allows pilots to livestream the drone’s camera feed to social channels including Facebook, Instagram and WeChat.

The Smart Controller also features a number of third-party apps to help with editing and data management.

The DJI Smart Controller offers 2.5 hours of battery life and the ability to operate in temperatures as cold as -4°Fahrenheit and as hot as 104°Fahrenheit.

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As we expected, DJI used their platform and the publicity around the annual CES event in Las Vegas to share the news.

“CES features the newest and smartest tech innovations from around the world, and that makes it the perfect place for DJI to launch our Smart Controller,” said Mario Rebello, Vice President & Country Manager, North America.

“The Smart Controller is DJI’s latest tool to allow anyone to capture incredible perspectives from the sky, and we are excited that CES attendees can experience it first-hand. We invite everyone at CES to try it at our booth, which features our latest innovations in the drone and imaging field and demonstrates how DJI has established itself as a global technology leader.”

DJI Smart Controller: Price and Availability

The new Smart Controller will be available for purchase beginning in early 2019 for $649 USD, slightly more than a 5.5″ CrystalSky monitor.

DJI has confirmed that combo packages that bundle the new Smart Controller with Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom will be available as well.

Malek Murison is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for tech trends and innovation. He handles product reviews, major releases and keeps an eye on the enthusiast market for DroneLife.
Email Malek
Twitter:@malekmurison

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California: Drones Stitch Helpful Aerial Maps in Wake of Deadly Camp Fire

California: Drones Stitch Helpful Aerial Maps in Wake of Deadly Camp Fire

While California’s Camp Fire has earned the infamous title of costliest world disaster of 2018, the aftermath could have been worse, say fire experts, had it not been for drones.

The series of wildfires claimed more than 80 lives and destroyed thousands of buildings across Butte County. However, thanks to UAV companies DJI and DroneDeploy, county and state agencies were able to maximize both disaster response and damage assessment over some 17,000 acres of ravaged landscape.

A cadre of 16 drone teams, led by Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Stockton Police, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies, launched 516 flights using DJI Phantom 4 platforms coupled with software analysis by DroneDeploy to collect 70,000 images resulting in 1.4 trillion pixels of data over a two-day period.

Following collection, the data was transported to DroneDeploy’s San Francisco headquarters office for processing. Given the lack of cell and data networks at the fire sites, teams delivered the data via old-school physical disk.  DroneDeploy’s team created a detailed, interactive map within a day after receiving the drone images and data.

After the imagery was georeferenced and stitched into a map format, Butte County officials posted a public fire map to help residents and officials assess the damage.

The detailed footage and maps help determine the condition of homes, which in turn can expedite insurance claims. The data also assists recovery crews, demolition crews, city planners, scientists and researchers, and the general public, to get a better understanding of the situation.

“We’re hoping that one, it will help people understand the devastation that we’re dealing with, understand the very difficult task that we have,” said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. “We’re hoping it’ll provide them information that will help them get their insurance claims started.”

“Wildfire victims also made good use of the maps. With entire neighborhoods mapped, homeowners were able to submit the imagery to insurance providers to process claims immediately — a process that traditionally can take days or weeks. Many have used the imagery to gain access to FEMA relief funds for the families affected by the fires.”

Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.

Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.

Email Jason
TWITTER:@JasonPReagan

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