DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

DJI, whose Phantom drones dominate the nascent market sector, just introduced Inspire 2, an upgrade to its flagship model, and Phantom 4 Pro, an upgrade from last year’s Phantom 4. To showcase its UAV tech, the company has produced a short film using the new Inspire 2. The Phantom 4 Pro introduces multiple crash-avoidance features, including rear and infrared sensors. It can now both fly fast (31 mph) and keep obstacle avoidance engaged; the previous Phantom 4 could only fly that fast in “Sport Mode,” with no obstacle avoidance. Continue reading DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

Twitter Rolls Out Periscope Producer, Takes On Facebook Live

Twitter is unveiling Periscope Producer, a new feature that gives video creators a URL that they can stream to from professional gear, including cameras, editing systems, satellite trucks, VR headsets, drones, games, desktop streaming software and, eventually, 360 cameras. With its new capabilities, Periscope Producer, currently an iOS app, directly competes with Facebook’s Live API, which newsrooms, Web celebrities and others have been using to livestream content to mobile and Internet audiences. Continue reading Twitter Rolls Out Periscope Producer, Takes On Facebook Live

Verizon Plans to Launch New Internet Data Service for Drones

After two years of working on the technology, Verizon will soon connect drones to its wireless network, with drone data plans starting at $25 a month for 1 gigabyte of data and $80 for 10 gigabytes, similar to what consumers are already paying for data. The company just demonstrated the technology with drone manufacturer American Aerospace Technologies at Cape May, New Jersey. The new drone data plan will allow consumers to connect their drones to the Internet, streaming videos and photos to earth. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Launch New Internet Data Service for Drones

Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

Several tech companies want to provide Internet access to developing nations via drones, satellites and balloons, but they all face obstacles, including getting approval to operate in foreign airspace and use radio spectrum to broadcast signals to the ground. Google already conducted its first tests of Project Loon, using high-altitude balloons, and OneWeb is at work on multiple satellites to deliver the Internet from space. Now Facebook is talking to several countries to create trial Internet broadcasts from drones. Continue reading Facebook in Talks with Foreign Nations to Begin Drone Trials

The UK Is Winning the Race to Launch Legal Drone Deliveries

In North America and Europe, Amazon, DHL and UPS are all getting ready to launch fleets of drones to deliver packages. The United Kingdom most likely will be the first country to put unmanned vehicle technology into action because the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) can address issues without having to adhere to the schedule of an outside authority such as the U.S. Congress. Issues include allowing drones to safely fly out of an operator’s sight and managing multiple airborne drones. Continue reading The UK Is Winning the Race to Launch Legal Drone Deliveries

Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

Drone operators are beginning to realize the commercial potential of UAVs. In Southern California, for example, drones are being used for film production, sports coverage, wedding photography, map-making and more. According to Los Angeles Daily News, drone operators are also making money with applications such as: “examining the health of agricultural crops,” “monitoring the progress of construction projects,” “documenting the installation of rooftop solar panels in order to claim federal tax credits,” “selling commercial, industrial and residential real estate” and “surveying electric wires, pipelines, railroad tracks, dams and canals for damage.” Meanwhile, companies including Amazon and Google are experimenting with drone delivery services. Continue reading Drone Industry Is Under Rapid Change in Southern California

GoPro Unveils Karma Drone, Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session

GoPro just introduced the Karma Drone, priced at $799, and two new Hero cameras: the Hero5 Black, priced at $399, and the Hero5 Session, for $299. The cameras will release on October 2 and the drone will ship on October 23. The Karma Drone, which is small and folds into the rectangular backpack it comes with, requires no assembly: its four arms, each of which sports a rotor, fold down against the body to store and snap into place for action. The drone itself is very flat, which makes it easy to carry. Continue reading GoPro Unveils Karma Drone, Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session

Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

Intel announced it is acquiring Movidius, the Irish computer vision company that builds processors for drones, robots, VR systems and more. Movidius was an early partner with Google and was responsible for Project Tango’s 3D sensor technology. Intel is planning to move beyond PCs; the Movidius deal is expected to help it expand its artificial intelligence portfolio and build upon its RealSense platform. According to Intel, with Movidius the company “gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications.” Continue reading Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

FAA Issues Drone Operation Rules, Privacy Issues Unresolved

The operation of drones has sparked heated debate and industry angst regarding issues of safety, privacy and regulation. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued its first detailed rules that clarify nationwide licensing requirements for pilots and bans operation of drones at nighttime. But it still hasn’t touched the hot button topics of privacy protections, high altitude flying, drones heavier than the currently-approved 55-pounds and other issues. In that vacuum, local governments are coming up with their own regulations. Continue reading FAA Issues Drone Operation Rules, Privacy Issues Unresolved

Samsung Relies on IBM TrueNorth Chip to Create Digital Eye

Samsung created the Dynamic Vision Sensor, a digital eye based on the IBM TrueNorth chip, which relies on neuromorphic computing optimized for low-power processing of large amounts of data. The chip is composed of 4,096 tiny computing cores — which create a million digital brain cells and 256 million connections — sending short messages to one another. The result is a chip that acts similarly to the brain’s neurons. The Dynamic Vision Sensor processes video imagery in which each pixel operates independently. Continue reading Samsung Relies on IBM TrueNorth Chip to Create Digital Eye

Facebook Aims to Connect the World and Attract More Users

Facebook has debuted a simple, less expensive way to bring wireless networks to rural areas, especially in developing nations. OpenCellular is a platter-sized device that can be attached to a telephone pole, tree or street lamp, to drive a variety of wireless networks, from 2G to LTE and Wi-Fi. Rather than get into the hardware business, however, Facebook will open-source the design for OpenCellular, with the hope that others will develop it to connect the 10 percent of the world that lacks cellular networks. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Connect the World and Attract More Users

FAA Issues New Drone Rules, Not Enough for Drone Industry

The Federal Aviation Administration just issued rules, to take effect in August, for how businesses can use small drones, specifically for those weighing less than 55 pounds. Among the new restrictions are that drone speed must be kept under 100 miles per hour and that users may operate them during twilight only if they are equipped with anti-collision lights. The maximum altitude has also been lowered to 400 feet from 500 feet, and the age limit for operators also lowered, to 16 from 17 years old. Continue reading FAA Issues New Drone Rules, Not Enough for Drone Industry

Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

Later this month in Denver and Phoenix, Walmart will launch a pilot project, in partnership with Uber and Lyft, to deliver groceries to homes. Other companies that have competed in this area include Instacart, DoorDash, the U.S. Postal Service, Uber and Amazon, all of which vie to establish accounts with retailers and restaurants. Walmart is also testing a delivery service with its warehouse company Sam’s Club in Miami, using startup Deliv, which also handles same-day deliveries for Kohl’s, Macy’s and others. Continue reading Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

The FAA’s mandatory drone registration does not seem to be impacting UAV sales, which have grown 224 percent from April 2015 to April 2016 for a total of nearly $200 million, according to The NPD Group. Robotics Trends reports the FAA’s database indicates there are now “461,433 registered hobbyist drone owners in 39,471 zip codes.” NPD notes that DJI is the clear U.S. market leader at 49 percent, followed by Parrot (19 percent), Protocol (6.3 percent), Yuneec (5.6 percent) and 3D Robotics (4 percent). Drones with 4K cameras represented more than one-third of sales for the 12 month period, and GPS-outfitted drones accounted for 64 percent of sales. Continue reading Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video

Twitter, which owns Periscope, is about to debut a way to search via title or topic through the app’s more than 100 years of live video, also offering a list of suggested topics to search. Having launched a year ago, Periscope has accumulated more than 200 million broadcasts — but no way to search them until now. The search function also gives users a list of live streams by people they follow, and allows users to follow videos from a given region. Also new are drone integration and an ability to save live streams. Continue reading Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video