Elevation.2 – Tracking how civilian drones are taking to the skies

Latest posts

A view of the drone market ecosystem

Chris McCann from Greylock Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has taken a closer look at the drone market ecosystem and produced a handy map. Drone Market Ecosystem map It illustrates how the application that is capturing the public’s imagination the most, package delivery, is but one vertical of a varied and growing field of “use cases”. Drones do not merely bring us a modern version of cargo cults, they promise to pro
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The exciting prospect of making drone flights boring

It is an almost magical feeling to fly a drone. Controlling an object at a distance, it reacts instantaneously when you move the sticks on the transmitter. And if the drone comes equipped with FPV (first person view), you can see what it sees, contributing to an out-of-body experience. That’s great for recreational flying and for certain special applications like search-and-rescue. But for many business scenarios where drones fit into the proces
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Geofencing and the ongoing effort to protect us from stupidity

Tesla uses geofencing to adjust the car’s suspension to suit driving conditions. Square uses geofencing to simplify use of their digital wallet. Via GPS technology, clever use of knowledge of time and place can add a touch of magic to the products and services we use. Conversely, geofencing can be used to restrict operation of a device in certain conditions. This has long been useful for drone operators, for example by defining a maximum flight
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DJI sets out to design a new aircraft with input from existing drone owners

What would be the ideal drone for you and what would you want to do with it? Hong Kong-based drone design company DJI wants to know, and they are reaching out to existing DJI drone owners for input. The questions they ask give us a hint as to what DJI is considering. This is a smart move by DJI and it proves they are not resting on their laurels after the recent launch of the Inspire 1. The invitation to participate says “DJI is developing a bra
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Comparison of 3D Robotics’ multicopters

3D Robotics is a designer and manufacturer of drones for commercial and recreational use. The company is headquartered in Berkeley, California. Its engineering team is in San Diego with manufacturing happening in Tijuana just across the border in Mexico. Their marketing team operates out of Austin where I live. The roots of 3D Robotics are the 60,000-member DIY Drones community which the company now hosts. In addition to founding DIY Drones, 3DR CEO C
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New from DJI: The Inspire 1 quadcopter

After weeks of building up anticipation via cryptic tweets and the occasional leaks to gadget blogs, Hong Kong-based DJI launched a new quadcopter model, the Inspire 1. A sign of how drones are becoming mainstream is that DJI staged, and live-streamed, a US launch. They had the Mythbusters team on stage at the event! The Inspire 1 sports a characteristic aero-dynamic housing that looks a bit like a mix of the Sony Aibo and I, Robot. (Both contributed
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Programmable drones make an appearance in Khan Academy

We are huge fans of Khan Academy in our family. And drones, of course. So it was delightful to see a reference to autonomous drones in a vector problem. Even more so because my son’s name is Lucas. To me, this is yet another example of how drones are becoming part of the general consciousness. See my previous mention of this phenomenon. The answers, by the way, are 2.2 m/s (rounded square root of 5) and 153°.
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Detailed 2D aerial survey by drone

Using Maps Made Easy, a service I helped fund on Kickstarter, I prepared a detailed map of a ranch in South Dakota. The output is a 2D map you can zoom and pan, just like Google Earth. By my estimate, the map resolution is 5 cm per pixel. By comparison the best resolution available in Google Earth is 30 cm/pixel (and many land areas are available only in 2.5 m/pixel or 15 m/pixel resolution). As you would expect, flying close to the ground above a sma
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The 7% solution that will save us from boring drone videos

Aerial video is an exhilarating opportunity. With video cameras mounted on drones, many of us can now capture footage from angles that would previously have required a helicopter or a dolly-mounted jib, and perhaps a film crew. How come then that most drone videos are so boring? Sure, we all started out newbies. If you fly a drone with a video camera on it, you have probably shared something like this of which there are ubiquitous examples on YouTube:
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