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

Latest posts

Emergency delivery of human organs for transplant?

When Amazon announced their ‘Prime Air’ plans to deliver packages in 30 minutes by using unmanned aerial vehicles it excited our inner gadget freaks that there was a possible future where we wouldn’t have to wait two days for a new mobile phone case. While commercial package delivery via small drones may become a normal occurrence one day, we may see autonomous drones transport another type of cargo in near future – a cargo def
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Smaller and smaller personal drones

On the DIY Drones blog I spotted a description of the Pocket Drone, a project currently up for funding on Kickstarter. At the time of this post, the project has received pledges for more than 70% of their relatively modest $35k goal. The world of personal drones may look quite different come June when San Diego based AirDroids plans to ship but at the moment, the Pocket Drone may just be the smallest and cheapest way to get a GoPro airborne. Cheap, in
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Flying conditions: Going for low wind

On the trees, hardly a leaf was moving early this morning here in Austin. The sun was out but it was a bit chilly. Great flying conditions. Apart from rain (I would never contemplate flying my quadcopter drone in the rain), wind is the factor that I have found to influence video and still photographs the most. Even in moderate winds, the craft compensates to maintain position by leaning into the wind. This messes with the horizon when shooting panoram
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Mac support for DJI Phantom 2 Vision but no DNG format capture yet

DJI released a Mac version of the Assist software that is used for adjusting settings for the Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter and upgrading firmware. Previously, Mac users had to run the Windows-only software in a virtual machine (I used Oracle’s Virtualbox with a temporary Windows license from modern.IE). My experience with installing the software is that Mac OS Maverick 10.9.1 refused to run the application because the app is not signed. To allow
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In the US, the FAA announces six drone test sites

Today, the FAA announced six test sites for unmanned aircraft systems: University of Alaska State of Nevada New York’s Griffiss International Airport North Dakota Department of Commerce Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) The six sites were chosen from 25 applications from 24 states (California submitted two but was awarded no test sites). In the selection process, the FAA has
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Is the US behind on airspace regulation for drones?

In May 2000 the US government switched off encryption (known as selective availability) of signals from GPS satellites. The move spawned increased civilian use of GPS and an accelerated market for GPS enabled devices, with the associated jobs and revenues. Are we approaching a similar watershed moment for civilian drones? The countries or policy regions that tailor their regulation to allow for widespread use of civilian drones are likely to see most
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Climbing the Devil’s Needle – bring your drone

Take a national park outside Rio de Janairo, the Serra dos Orgãos, and take two skilled climbers, then add a drone with a video camera. The footage is truly stunning. The climbers Deyvisson Bastos S. and Marcelo Vieira ascend “The Devil’s Needle” and I’m in awe not just of their fearlessness and climbing skills but at their stunt at the end retrieving the quadcopter while balancing on the very top of the summit with no space to
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Comparing the DJI Phantoms

As previously announced, Hong-Kong based DJI expanded their Phantom series of quadcopter drones this month. New to the line-up are the Phantom 2 and the Phantom FC40. The Phantom 2 Vision only started shipping in November so a lot is happening in DJI’s consumer offerings. I thought it would be useful to compare the models and hint at what each model is useful for. Which one to get if you are “quad-curious”? The power pilot should get
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Aerial photos and videos: Stitching, colour correcting, stabilizing

Russel Brown, long-time creative with Adobe, seems to have been bitten by the quadcopter bug. He has put together an impressive set of instructables in the shape of twenty narrated ‘Take Flight’ episodes showing different aspects of photo and video post processing workflow in Adobe’s tools. Each episode is pretty comprehensive and only marginally depends on previous lessons. So if you need to gen up on the process to create a panoram
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