Inside Drones - November 7th, 2016

Inside Drones (Nov 8th, 2016)

Intel's drone "billboards," Disney drone light show, anti-drone defense system, GoPro Karma review

Intel’s new “shooting star” drone could soon be used to create flying billboards. The swarms of autonomous drones fitted with LED lights were used to put on firework-like light displays during their launch in Germany, but New Technology Group vice president Anil Nanduri says the drones could be used to spell out corporate logos in mid-air and promote new products. The Intel drones weigh just over half a pound, can be synchronized with music, and have a battery life of 20 minutes. - CNN

Disney is also getting into drone light shows this year, obtaining permission from the FAA to put on their first nighttime show at Walt Disney World. The drone show will debut for the holidays at Disney Springs in Orlando, with safety precautions including staying 100 feet away from guest areas at all times, largely over water elements and restricted areas. Aside from a brief video teaser from Disney, no other details have been released so far. - ORLANDO SENTINEL

T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom is launching an anti-drone defense system that could debut this year. The system, which is still mostly under wraps, would be offered as a security feature for airports, stadiums and other venues. It will reportedly involve technology from multiple companies including US-based Dedrone, using audio sensors, frequency scanners and cameras to spot drones up to half a mile away. Car manufacturers are said to be very interested in such a service because journalists and competitors are using drones to take pictures of pre-production cars and leak them to the press. - ENGADGET

Seattle-based startup Echodyne has successfully tested a drone-mounted radar that helps drones “see” and avoid other objects. Backed by investments from Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the company has developed technology that will help the growing commercial drone industry, particularly for drone delivery services. The device is designed to detect Cessna-sized aircraft and other objects from up to 3 kilometers away, and other small drones from up to 750 meters away. It’s expected to be commercially available early next year, starting at $9,995. - SEATTLE TIMES

TechCrunch reviewed the GoPro Karma drone and named it “the drone for GoPro diehards.” Writer Matt Burns found that the Karma is a capable, easy-to-fly drone with superb picture quality, but it lacks features that would make it more competitive against other drones like the DJI Mavic. “Think of it as a flying GoPro mount … instead of an autonomous aerial vehicle,” he says. - TECHCRUNCH 

Varavon has created a drone that lets you take 360 degree videos without the tripod or your hand getting into the shot. The three-axis-stabilized gimbal drone can move freely in space and film a full sphere without getting in the way of the picture. The manufacturers said it would eventually be priced for professional use, around $30,000, and would be available later this year. - TECHCRUNCH

A Minnesota drone company helped police track down a missing person in their first public safety mission. A vulnerable man from the Twin Cities area had disappeared from his home and was missing for 18 hours. Green Remote Aviation co-owner Derrick Green contributed his drone to the two-hour search and rescue mission with the Woodbury Police, eliminating areas where the man might be. He was eventually located by the Minnesota State Patrol. It was the first time the Woodbury Police had used a drone, and spokeswoman Michelle Okada said they “found this to be extremely helpful.” - PIONEER PRESS

Thanks to A.J. Rabe for alerting us to this story!


We all know you can’t fly your drone near airplanes — how about boarding an airplane with one? Reddit user tumbleweedzzz will be traveling within the United States soon and asked the Drones subreddit for advice on just that. 

“Carry it on, carry on any spare batteries, tape off the battery terminals with electric tape. That’s it!” says theshawnch. 8eightmph writes, “Be prepared to get stopped at security and be courteous to the agents,” and dez2891 adds, “Don’t keep a battery in the drone. They’ll ask you to turn it on and if it’s anything like mine the legs will try to move. Annoying.” RobbieRigel says, “If you have to check it, use a pelican case. Spare batteries must be carried on with you and the terminals protected from accidental contact (electrical tape as others have suggested). It really is a hassle to fly with anything the size of a Phantom. Flew with one to Hawaii, never again.”

On a different thread, JustinM31 got the chance to fully try out his GoPro Karma, with some pretty cool results. 

“Amazing footage, man!” says wpphilosopher. “I wish DJI had a ‘package deal’ with a gimbal like GoPro. Was any of this color corrected?” JustinM31 replies, “Thanks, yes a little bit of color correction. I have a Mavic ordered so I know the appeal of the DJI products. I've been very happy with the Karma so far, it still fits in my backpack and the grip has just been a bonus. Still not sure if I'll keep the Mavic now that I have the Karma. It's nice to have such great choices available."

Do you think drone spectacles could eventually replace fireworks, air shows and other kinds of live performances? What do you think Disney has planned for their first nighttime drone show?

Hit "Reply" and let us know what you think, and we'll feature your answers in the next edition of Inside Drones.

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