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.
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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

Subscribe to DroneLife here.

Indemnis Parachute For DJI Drones Meets International Safety Standard

Indemnis Parachute For DJI Drones Meets International Safety Standard

Back in 2017, Alaska-based Indemnis partnered with DJI to develop parachute standards and systems that could be deployed in an instant, protecting valuable multi-rotor cargo and, of course, whoever or whatever is unlucky enough to be directly underneath should an issue occur.

Today, Indemnis and DJI have announced that the Nexus parachute system for the Inspire 2 drone has been validated as compliant with the new international standard for drone parachutes. The announcement follows a strenuous testing procedure at the New York UAS Test Site in Rome, N.Y. managed by NUAIR

On December 22, 2018 Indemnis successfully passed the ASTM F3322-18 standard testing matrix. The technical standard is designed to enable safe flight operations over people on small unmanned aerial vehicles while using a parachute as a risk mitigation device. The Nexus is the first and only parachute recovery system in the world to become certified and compliant in meeting the requirements of the standard.

The standard specification is made up of 45 functionality tests across 5 different failure scenarios. Each is designed to validate the system’s deployment and canopy inflation within the full flight envelope of the aircraft.

indemnis parachute system

Indemnis opens door to new possibilities for commercial operations

The work of DJI and Indemnis is arguably geared toward proving that drones can safely operate above people and sensitive locations.

A reliable, validated parachute technology like the Nexus, which initiates when flight anomalies are detected, could well become a necessary component of future waivers granted by the FAA. 

A statement from DJI says, “The Indemnis system is intended to be the core of a parachute-based safety mitigation plan for a waiver, and can also help provide one path forward for advanced operations as the FAA considers how to allow routine flights directly over people.”

“DJI is pleased to have contributed to the development of technologies and standards that will be used to support advanced, higher-risk operations,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. “As the FAA works to open more of America’s skies to beneficial drone uses, the certification of the Nexus system on DJI’s platform is a significant step toward making flight over people and crowds routine, expanding the scope of vital applications such as search and rescue, newsgathering, and public safety.”

Read more: The UAS Integration Pilot Program is Underway: North Dakota Gets Started with Parazero Parachutes for Drones

“Indemnis has tested our parachute systems in thousands of real-world unplanned failure scenarios, and NUAIR’s validation of our work is an exciting step toward making professional drone operations over people safe, routine and productive,” said Amber McDonald, Indemnis President/CEO. “DJI’s drone platforms are the clear choice of professionals, and our turnkey packages make it easy for DJI customers to propose advanced, higher-risk operations to regulators around the world.”

Read more: Drone Parachutes Provide the Confidence Regulators Need: ParaZero Working With Multiple IPP Teams

How Nexus works

Nexus is a ballistic parachute launcher. It’s designed to trigger automatically if the drone begins to abnormally tilt or fall, as would happen in the case of a loss of power or malfunction. The Nexus system deploys the parachute within 30 milliseconds at 90 mph, through a tube that rapidly inflates to keep the parachute lines away from the drone body and propellers.

Although the system is currently designed to work with the DJI Inspire 2, Indemnis has confirmed plans to offer it for Matrice 200 series and Matrice 600 series drones by late 2019.

NUAIR Alliance, which manages one of the FAA-designated test sites for drone technologies at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York, put the Indemnis Nexus through 45 functionality tests across five different failure scenarios last month during four days of testing. DJI, Indemnis, the FAA and other industry stakeholders finalized the ASTM consensus standard late last year.

“The NUAIR Alliance is proud to have been a part of helping Indemnis’ transformative technology enter real-world deployment into the National Airspace System on a leading DJI drone platform,” said retired Air Force Major General Marke “Hoot” Gibson, President and CEO of NUAIR Alliance.

“New York is committed to generating growth, jobs and innovation through smart drone investments, and Indemnis’ successful testing process shows how New York plays a key role in accelerating this exciting technology.”

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

Subscribe to DroneLife here.

Airobotics gets Waiver from FAA for BLOS flights over People Using ParaZero Safety Systems

Airobotics gets Waiver from FAA for BLOS flights over People Using ParaZero Safety Systems

Drone safety systems company, ParaZero Technologies Ltd (ASX: PRZ), announced today that its customer, Airobotics, has secured a Certificate of Waiver (CoW) from the Federation Aviation Authority (FAA) that allows them to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight for automated drone operations over people.

Airobotics’ drone system integrates ParaZero’s SafeAir System for increased safety and as a risk mitigation strategy by way of a parachute recovery system that helps to mitigate danger when flying beyond line of sight and/or over people.

This is the second FAA waiver for flight over people with a ParaZero parachute system. Both the current Airobotics’ waiver and the previous one for North Dakota operator, Botlink, utilize ParaZero’s SafeAir Systems as part of their risk mitigation strategy.

The prior test took place prior to a college football game between North Dakota State University (NDSU) and South Dakota State University (SDSU) North Dakota drone services and software provider Botlink was granted a waiver to fly a DJI Phantom 4 equipped with drone safety company ParaZero‘s SafeAir System over the crowds at the tailgating event prior to the game in the Fargo Dome.  The drone flew multiple times over the stadium’s parking lots, providing real-time data to law enforcement so that they could better manage traffic and safety at the event.  The footage was also shown during the game, giving fans a new perspective on the pre-game party.  NDDOT had an information booth set up in the venue’s “vendor alley” for ticket holders to see the drones and ask questions of the operators.

The current partner,  Airobotics provides an end-to-end, fully automated solution for collecting aerial data and gaining invaluable insights. The industrial grade platform is available on-site and on-demand, enabling industrial facilities to access premium aerial data in a faster, safer, more efficient way.

Airobotics already holds approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) and from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia to fly automated BVLOS in certain locations with ParaZero’s Systems.

“We are thrilled to see our systems enable extended operations for operators time and time again,” said Avi Lozowick, ParaZero’s Director of Policy and Strategy. “We continue to provide our customers not only with best-in-class safety systems but also the material and test data to support their operational requests from CAAs.”

“The fact that ParaZero is the only company whose parachute systems have been used in multiple successful waiver applications for flight over people is a strong testament to the quality of our products,” said Eden Attias, ParaZero’s CEO.

Airobotics’ Vice President of Aviation and Compliance, Niv Russo, added, “ParaZero’s safety solution is one of the main elements that provide our drone system with the level of safety we require to secure the appropriate waivers to operate above people and beyond visual line of sight. We’re delighted to have secured this waiver from the FAA and to partner with ParaZero in our global operations.”

ParaZero was in the news recently with the announcement that former FAA head Michael Huerta had recently joined its advisory board.

CEO DroneLife.com, DroneRacingLife.com, and CMO of Jobfordrones.com. Principle at Spalding Barker Strategies. Proud father of two. Enjoys karate, Sherlock Holmes, and interesting things.  Subscribe to all things drone at DroneLife here.