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

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

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

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

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 Mythbu

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

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

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,

A saunter through Amazon’s Drone Store

Earlier this week, Amazon, the online retailer, launched a “Drone Store“. It is another example of how drones are becoming mainstream consumer devices. The Amazon Drone Store features DJI and Parrot prominently on the main store page. The DJI section offers links to the fo

Amateur 3D mapping by drone

Before my GoPro camera arrived, I did a little experiment with my Y6 hexacopter from 3D Robotics: I repurposed a pocket camera for aerial images, set the drone to fly in a survey pattern over a limited area and processed the resulting photos using a free cloud app. As a result, I was

The civilian drone inflection point is near

People almost always come over and chat when I fly one of my hobby drones. It used to be that I had to explain what the thing was up in the sky and the reaction was almost always oohs and aahs that technology has come that far. That was half a year ago. This past weekend I was in a pa

Travel with your cameradrone, shoot a film

London-based filmmaker Philip Bloom recently published a dreamy, captivating five minute film shot on the Thai island of Koh Yao Noi. He then wrote a piece about every aspect of the production: Packing for the trip, gear details, engaging the local kids, safe flying, post production.

An introduction to precision agriculture

When reading about civilian use of drones, it is only a matter of time before one is confronted with heaps of references to precision agriculture. Chris Anderson, co-founder of 3D Robotics, says drones play a big part in the future of farming where the focus is on reducing inputs whil

An in-app reminder of geopolitics

Utter the word ‘drone’ and some may immediately think of geopolitics and extrajudicial reach. There are other ways the two topics are connected. The smartphone app that comes with a DJI Phantom has a nifty feature that allows you to see a map of where you have flown and th

Updated comparison of “the phantoms” from DJI, including the Phantom 2 Vision+

DJI Innovations, based in Hong Kong, started shipping the newest addition to their Phantom line of quadcopter drones this month. The new model is the most advanced yet. The Phantom 2 Vision+ (note the plus) builds on the Phantom 2 Vision from November 2013, adding a 3-axis gimbal to a