Posts tagged "drone"

Project Wing drone in Australian skies

The following summary and accompanied images from a Project Wing blogpost provide an insight on what they’ve recently tested, discovered as well as their ongoing focus.

The last few years has seen Project Wing conducting thousands of flights to get their drone delivery technology ready for everyday use. More recently they’ve been testing in an Australian rural community and stepping it up to an entirely different level of operational complexity- making deliveries directly to people’s yards.

Their testers – alpaca farmers, math professors, equestrians, and artists have been helping them fine-tune how their drones move goods from where they’re located to where they’re needed.

Project Wing drone lowering burrito package

Guzman y Gomez – a Mexican food chain and Chemist Warehouse – a chain of pharmacies are the two Australian merchants who are keen in understanding how drone deliveries could help serve their clients better. At first, merchants receive orders from their testers who’ve purchased items using the Project Wing app. The drone pilots then dispatch their drones to pick up the order from the partners’ loading sites and transport the goods
to the testers at their residences.

Drone delivering to tester’s yard

Alleviating day-to- day inconvenience

Residents near the Project Wing testing area on the outskirts of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) live an idyllic country lifestyle on 10-acre blocks of rolling land. But they face a 40-minute round trip in a car for almost anything, whether it’s a carton of milk, veggies for dinner, or even a cup of coffee.

The Project Wing testers – including young families, busy professionals and retirees – had many suggestions for how drone technology could address this fundamental inconvenience. They wanted fresh meals delivered at dinner time. Some who run small businesses at home wanted to be able to send customer orders from their doorstep. A few with farms wanted supplies to arrive at their paddocks, or spare parts delivered to the ailing vehicle on their property. Almost all said that they’d value having medicine delivered to their door, especially when they’re unwell.

They also shared ideas about delivery drones being used to transport drinking water, food, medical supplies, and mechanical parts to emergency service workers operating in rural areas or places cut off due to floods and fires.

Tester with Project Wing package

Identifying safe and convenient delivery locations

Last year at Virginia Tech, their first deliveries with members of the public were in an open field, not to a specific address or location. Now with each delivery, Project Wing encounter a new yard space with its own layout of trees, sheds, fences, and power lines. This means that in addition to learning what people want delivered – they also have to learn how to best deliver specific items to people.

Their drones are able to deliver items almost anywhere - backyards, public parks, farmlands or even fire-breaks. However they need to train their systems to reliably identify safe and convenient delivery locations, which is more complicated than it looks. They want to incorporate customer preferences - e.g. many of their testers prefer packages delivered to backyards so they’re not visible from the road or near kitchens so food items can be unpacked quickly. Therefore they have to be ready to accommodate changing conditions at the delivery location.

While their Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform allows them to pre-plan a flight route, the sensors on their aircraft are responsible for identifying obstacles that might appear during a flight or delivery, like a car parked in an unexpected spot or outdoor furniture that’s been moved. The more test deliveries they do, exposing the sensors on their aircraft to new delivery locations – the smarter their aircraft’s algorithms will one
day become at picking a safer spots for deliveries.

Loading and delivering packages smoothly and quickly

To operate an effective drone delivery system, Project Wing must be able to pick up packages from anyone in almost any location. This presents an interesting design challenge – their technology must be intuitive and easy to use, so packages can be loaded and received without any specialized infrastructure and by people without specialized experience.

Their partners Guzman y Gomez and Chemist Warehouse will teach them what they need to do to ensure that orders are fed smoothly to their staff so that the goods can be comfortably loaded onto the delivery drones. In the case of Guzman y Gomez, who is their first delivery partner for this trial – Project Wing need to make sure their technology fits in efficiently within the merchant’s kitchen operations as staff deal with many orders at
once to ensure that every customer is served fresh, hot food in a timely fashion. Project Wing will also discover how much notice to give them for a drone’s arrival so that they can cook, pack and load in a seamless manner.

Guzman Y Gomez staff member packing food

Through their partnership with Chemist Warehouse, they want to ensure their system is able to support merchants with a wide variety of products. As part of this test, they’re offering nearly 100 products across categories like vitamins, dental care, sun care and over-the- counter medicines. By practicing how they pack items of very different shapes and sizes into their fixed-sized package – they’ll learn how to optimize how many
items they’re able to deliver per flight.

The information they gather from both of these test partners will help Project Wing build a system in a way that merchants of all kinds can focus on what they’re good at – like making food or helping people feel healthier - rather than being distracted by complex delivery logistics.

The Project Wing crew are expecting the next few months to be filled with unexpected challenges as they undertake these new tests. They are grateful to the communities in the ACT and Queanbeyan regions who have let them into their yards so they can learn even more about building a delivery network ready to fly in the open skies.

Guzman Y Gomez staff member loading drone

The drones

Since the project’s inception, drone-based delivery has been one of the core goals. Traditional quadcopters are potentially unsuitable for serving rural areas which are far from towns and cities. At the same time, these places areas are the ones which can potentially benefit most from UAV-based delivery networks.

Project Wing drones have been designed to incorporate the best aspects of fixed-wing aircraft. They can travel long distances at high speeds using comparatively little power. They are a classic rotary-wing drone which can take off and land without a runway as well as hover in one spot too.

As part of Project Wing’s upcoming tests – they will help the ACT Rural Fire Service assess how their technology could aid their efforts.

Up close – Project Wing drone in Australian skies

Acknowledgements

A personal thank you to Google’s – Project Wing team for sharing their insights on these exciting new developments.

Drones can offer a unique perspective of the Aug. 21 eclipse.

1979 was the last time a total solar eclipse graced the shores of the contiguous United States. It was 38 years ago when the first Sony Walkman came out, when 63 Americans were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran, and when the first Aliens movie hit cinemas. It was a long time ago, a time before drones.

Luckily this time drones will be there to help the whole nation get a unique perspective of a total solar eclipse. This Monday, August 21st, 2017 will be another first for drones and another reminder of how drones can be used for good. Forget eclipse glasses and holes punched in cardboard, drones are the latest and coolest way to view a solar eclipse.

If you have a drone, make sure you carve out some time this Monday morning or afternoon (depending on where you live) to take to the skies and capture this rare event. Our friends over at Drone360 have compiled a great list of the best places to fly to capture the total eclipse and a reminder to make safety your priority by following all FAA and local regulations.

If you don’t live near the path of totality, can’t make the trip, don’t have your own drone, or are looking for a professional drone pilot to help you capture the historic eclipse, head on over to Up Sonder. We have FAA certified drone pilots throughout the path the moon’s shadow will carve across the good old U.S. of A. Just to make it super easy for you, below is a list of Up Sonder drone pilots along the path of the eclipse.

Up Sonder has numerous drone pilots in the path of the solar eclipse.

I am glad to share the following guest article by Julio Ventura from Drones World that focuses on 5 quite affordable consumer drone models. Fun flying everyone!

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By Julio Ventura

Hello fellow drone lovers! Today we bring five of the best low-cost drones currently available in the market. We have compiled a list of five drones with above average specifications and features (regarding its price range). If you are looking for a good quality drone at an affordable price, you will surely find it on this list. These are some of the best and affordable drones for learning and practicing, and the all five are a good value for your money. Without further due let’s move on to our Top 5 Low-Cost Drones list!

5- FY326 Q7

FY326 Q7 droneThe FY326 Q7 drone

Our first drone on this list is the FY326, a very affordable toy quadcopter that was one of drone beginners’ top choices back in 2016 and 2015. Why? Well, besides being extremely affordable and packing all you need to fly right out of the box. This low-cost drones is very easy to control, therefore ideal to learn and practice. If you are a beginner, or are looking for a first drone to gift someone, this might be the one. FY326 excels in control distance, this toy quadcopter has an amazing control range of 150 meters! Way above the average range of other drones within the same price range. FY326 Q7 makes use of a 3.7V 600mAh battery, which powers up to 10 minutes of flight time (better flight time than other drones within its price range). As mentioned previously, FY326 is a beginner’s toy quadcopter, aimed to anyone looking to learning and practice how to fly a drone without having to spend much money. However, due to its low price and above average specifications, the manufacturers had to cut somewhere. FY326 doesn’t come with a wide set of features, in fact the only feature that FY326 has is the 360º aerial stunt with just the push of a button. Overall, FY326 is the perfect beginner’s drone, although it lacks some useful and fun features. One of the best drones you can buy at a very low price.

4- Pioneer JXD 509V

Pioneer JXD 509V droneThe Pioneer JXD 509V drone

The second drone on our Top 5 Low-Cost Drones list is the amazing Pioneer JXD 509V. Contrary to the previous drone on the list, Pioneer JXD 509V packs some very useful and fun features. JXD 509V design resembles the high-cost Yuneec Q500, a very interesting design in my opinion. This being said, let’s now talk about the camera. Although, JXD 509V is advertised has having a 2MP camera, it is in fact more of a VGA module camera. Still good quality, but of course do not expect fantastic high resolution footage. Camera can tilt 30º, allowing for the pilot to acquire different recording angles. JXD 509V, as previously mentioned, packs a wide set of fun features, such functions include: Headless Mode, Altitude Holder, One-Key Return and LED lights. Altitude Holder allows the drone to hover steadily by itself while the pilot focus on recording video or taking photos. On top of all these fun features, JXD 509V also has a decent control range of 80 meters and an amazing flight time of 10 minutes.

3- JJRC H26W

JJRC H26W droneThe JJRC H26W drone

JJRC is one of the most active low-cost drone manufacturers, currently in the market. They are known for producing high-quality toy drones which always have above average specifications. JJRC likes to focus on a feature or aspect of a drone and enhance it. The JJRC H26W model focus on FPV Transmission. Before we discuss the real-time video transmission capabilities of this drone, let me first mention why JJRC H26W is such a great value or its money. First, it includes all you need to fly right out of the box. Secondly, it has an astonishing maximum control range of 300 meters (way beyond any same-price drone). Thirdly, it’s incredibly easy to control, mainly due to its smooth and steady hover. Now to talk about the FPV Transmission. H26W comes from a line of JJRC models, the H26, that mainly focus on the camera aspect. H26W is the model aimed at live video transmission. H26W drone packs a 2MP camera capable of recording 720p resolution, shoots video and takes photos. Live Video transmission is done via WiFi directly to the pilot’s smartphone. The pilot must install a free to download app (available for both Android and iOS) on their smartphone and connect via WiFi to the drone. The pilot will then be able to watch the live video directly on his or her mobile device. On top of all this JJRC H26W also features Headless Mode and One Key Return functions.

2- JJRC H26D

JJRC H26D droneThe JJRC H26D drone       

H26D is the drone aimed at good quality camera for a very affordable price. JJRC H26D is one of the best toy drones for anyone on a short budget looking for an easy to fly drone with great range and camera quality. H26D packs a 3MP camera, other drones within its price range only include 1MP to 2MP. But not H26D, this large toy quadcopter besides including a 3MP camera with a wide-angle lens! The camera is placed on a 2-Axis Adjustable Gimbal capable of tilting 30º (acquiring different recording angles). An above average toy camera, placed on a powerful and easy to control drone. As most products from JJRC, H26D has an astonishing maximum control range of 300 meters, enough for you to fly the drone way past eyesight. Powered by a 7.4V 1200Mah battery, this large drone has a flight time of 6 to 7 minutes. Besides this great specifications and good quality toy camera, H26D features Headless Mode, One Key Return and 360º aerial stunt with just the push of a button. Headless Mode will make the drone easier to control and One Key Return will make sure you don’t lose your drone when reaching maximum range of 300 meters. Thanks to One Key Return, the drone safely flies back to you. JJRC H26D is an amazing and affordable toy drone, currently in the market you won’t find another drone with a 3MP camera and 300 meters range at this price.

1- UPair One

UPair One droneThe UPair One drone

In 1st place of our Top 5 Low-Cost Drones list, is the most expensive drone on the list and is not a toy-grade drone. UPair One is a powerful and yet affordable alternative to a DJI Phantom high-budget model. UPair One packs some amazing features and specifications, an all you need to fly right out of the box drone, UPair One is your affordable alternative to a higher-budget drone. UPair One comes with a 12MP 4K camera manufactured by SONY itself. Expect good quality 4K footage at 24 frames per second. The drone is also capable of transmitting live video via 5.8 Ghz frequency directly to a FPV screen attached to the remote controller. Th Live Video is done in great quality. Other features of UPair One are the GPS Dual Compass, Failsafe Return to Home (drone returns to pilot automatically when battery runs low), GPS Position Hold, Altitude Hold, Intelligent Orientation Control (much like Headless Mode) and Return to Home. But wait, there’s more! UPair One also has a very long range and amazing flight time. This drone can fly as far as 300 meters and staying in air for 22 minutes! Indeed, UPair One is a great value or your money, its less than twice the price of a DJI Phantom 3 and still much cheaper than a DJI Phantom 2.

 What did you think of our Top 5 Low-Cost Drones list? There are more great drones that could be on this list. Which drone would you add or remove? Let us know in the comment section below! Happy flying fellow drone lovers!

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Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and multirotor news!

Thank you to Evan Sparks, creator of the youtube channel Sparks Productions, for sharing this nice video about a first flight with the DJI Mavik Pro.
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Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and mult…

Thank you to Evan Sparks, creator of the youtube channel Sparks Productions, for sharing this nice video about a first flight with the DJI Mavik Pro.
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Stay tuned on the Personal Drones Blog for the latest quadcopter and mult…

The second year of the fpvblog can be summed up as a year with high ambitions, a low article count and the welcome of Alastair Baker our first guest author. Chrashpilot, the editor in chief, hopes that the blog will be more active in 2016  (guest authors welcome). He also expects the next year to be a game changer for pilots and the drone industry in general. Read his thoughts about what 2016 might bring. Happy new Year!

The profession and hobby of pioneering enthusiasts has matured further in 2015. The following three major developments of 2015 will continue to influence the next year. First, capable systems can be bought for professional use from DJI (Inspire, Phantoms, S900), who established almost by itself a billion dollar drone market. Secondly, Chinees manufacturers flooded the market with toys and low-end products for unbeatable prices, making “RC drones” an everyday  commodity. The numbers of hobby pilots grew exponentially and drones became the #1 xmas gift for sons and dads with piloting ambitions in their backyard. Thirdly, regulatory bodies around the world, most prominently the FAA are issuing new legislative measures outlawing the use, specific applications or technologies without a written governmental apploval, e.g. registration, pilot license, equipment certification, airspace restriction or paying a fee.

Therefore Crashpilot’s cristall ball foresees the following major developments in 2016:

  1. Drones continue to crash.
  2. A few people will always fly unresponsibly, despite all regulatory efforts. (it’s like speeding on the highway)
  3. “Bad press” from mainstream media continues to  cover crashes and unresponsible drone flights. “Good press” will be less visible on Vimeo, travelbydrone.com, forums and blogs.
  4. The US government will use its regulatory power to shape a New-Drone-Order, helping domestic corporations and the government to grab a larger piece of the drone market pie. During this process, drones in the hands of private people without a pilot license or FAA certified equipment will be banned. Sad, but bobbyist have no lobby.
  5. New drone models can not legally be announced on Kickstarter anymore (Zippy, Hexo+, Yeair), except Fotokites. Instead, only large corporations such as GoPro, Amazon or Google will have the capacity to develop and promote FAA certified drones.
  6. A small professional FPV racing league will be established in countries with lower regulatory hurdles outside the US.

What do you think will happen in 2016? Please leave a comment. Happy new Year! Fly hard, fly save!

Happy 2016