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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (Sep 20th, 2016)

GoPro Karma unveiled, companies want line-of-sight exemption, drones could save telecom companies billions, DJI teases new release

GoPro has unveiled its long-awaited Karma Drone, a small rugged drone that can be carried in a backpack. The Karma is a quadcopter with foldable arms, designed to carry a separately-sold GoPro on outdoor adventures so operators can record from above. It sells for $799 and operates from a controller with two joysticks, a few buttons and a touchscreen. Analysts expect GoPro to sell about 100,000 drones this year and generate more than $50 million from the sales. - LA TIMES

After months of slumping stock prices, investors are hoping GoPro’s new products can make the company profitable again. Along with the Karma drone, GoPro has launched a new Hero 5 Black camera and a smaller Hero 5 Session. So far analysts are saying the camera looks promising — the Hero 5 is cheaper than expected and has new features like a smartphone editing option and voice control — but they’re still waiting to see if the Karma drone will compete with models like DJI’s Phantom 4. GoPro shares jumped to $16.50 on Monday but settled back to $15.31. - MARKETWATCH 

A teaser video from DJI has fans speculating that the company is preparing to challenge the GoPro Karma with a new foldable drone. “When you think you know everything, when you think nothing surprises or amazes, we take all that you think you know and reshape it,” the YouTube video hints, over sweeping aerial shots of mountains and canyons. Many commenters are guessing that this event, scheduled for September 27, will be the release of the DJI Mavik, a compact foldable drone designed for outdoor photography. Photos of what appears to be the Mavik were also leaked on the same day the Karma launched. - DJI

More and more drone operators are seeking the FAA’s permission to fly their drones beyond line of sight. One of the major regulations for small drone operators is they can only fly their drones where the pilot can see them, but the FAA has granted exemptions to three companies: CNN, BNSF Railway and PrecisionHawk. Now more companies that want to use drones to inspect bridges and other infrastructure, assist firefighters, shoot movie footage, gather news and deliver products are asking for the same exemption. Matt Dunlevy, founder of SkySkopes in Grand Forks, says “That is the silver bullet that’s really going to unlock the potential in our industry.” - CNBC

Drones have the potential to revolutionize the telecommunications industry, saving companies billions of dollars. A new report from PwC finds that the value of drone-powered solutions like inspections and maintenance could be as much as $127 billion, with $6.3 billion of that projected for the telecommunications industry. T-Mobile’s Dutch counterpart recently bought a fleet of drones from Aerialtronics, and Verizon is looking to use drones to ramp up 5G capabilities. - BUSINESS INSIDER

Police arrested a New York man for crashing his drone in Midtown Manhattan. Gonzalo Medina, 22, was spotted operating a drone near W. 43rd St. and Broadway and then crashed it at 45th and Seventh. Fortunately no-one was hurt. Medina was charged with reckless endangerment and unlawful operation of an unmanned vehicle. Incidents like this could become more common, as the FAA expects there to be 1.3 million licensed drone pilots by 2020 - NY DAILY NEWS


People on the Drones subreddit are geeking out over a real-life “Space Invaders” game using drones and lasers. Tomer Daniel and his crew of 12 hackers, welders and coders created the game for GeekCon 2016. “It’s stuff like this that makes me want a drone fleet,” says oldgrumpygeek. nanoTitan adds, “I’m pretty sure we’re looking at the future of drone warfare.” Prof_Establishment just posted a link to the “Rich People Flaunting Money” subreddit.

On a different thread, Aerial812 expanded on the recent PwC report to see how other industries might benefit from commercial drones, including infrastructure, agriculture, transport, security, media & entertainment, insurance, telecommunication and mining. "I decided to further break down some industries where drones are going to be bringing big value to businesses. These are areas that anyone starting a drone business could capitalize on starting now, with the right tools. I wanted to get your thoughts on the areas that I've listed and also see what areas others are using drones for now. What industries are you selling your drone services in? How successful have you been in finding new clients?"

BooleanTriplets remarked, “I have flown roof inspections for the insurance industry under a 333 exemption before. […] I actually got the job through a company called Betterview, they find drone pilots in the area and arrange for them to do the insurance company's work. They were pretty clear about their needs, I took the pictures they wanted (took about 45 mins), and got paid $95 I believe. It was very quick and easy. You could also talk with an established roofing inspection company to see if you could work with them.”



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