Zacc Dukowitz

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  1. DJI recently announced that the Phantom 4 Pro is no longer in production, which is leading to speculation that they might be gearing up to release the Phantom 5. Historically, DJI has stopped producing previous Phantom models when they release or are about to release a new one. For example, the Phantom 3 has been out of production since the 4 was released. But there are a few other reasons why DJI might have discontinued the Phantom 4 Pro. Read today's article to learn more, and chime in below with your thoughts on whether a Phantom 5 release might be right around the corner.
  2. Drone delivery company Flirtey recently announced that they have received approval from the FAA to conduct BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flights in the city of Reno, NV. For now, the approval will be used to deliver Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the immediate treatment of people undergoing cardiac arrest. Flirtey's waiver application was assisted by test flights they conducted in Reno as part of their involvement in the UAS IPP (UAS Integration Pilot Program), which was created to allow local and state governments to test various types of flying generally prohibited by the FAA's Part 107 rules (such as flying BVLOS). While commercial drone deliveries seem to languishing, medical drone deliveries have been making steady progress. Read today's article to learn more about Flirtey's BVLOS waiver, Reno's involvement in the UAS IPP, and a look at BVLOS waivers issued in the last six months.
  3. The new drone from Silicon Valley-based startup Impossible Aerospace, the Impossible US-1, comes with a record-breaking 90-minute battery life. The US-1 has such a long battery life because it was specifically designed around the battery, with the drone’s energy source doubling as the drone’s primary structure—its ability to stay in the air for a long period of time was recently put on dramatic display during a police standoff at a Denny’s in Campbell, California. Read today's article to learn more about how the US-1's design allows it to stay in the air longer, as well as how it helped police in Campbell diffuse a dangerous situation. Are you excited about longer battery life for drones and what it might mean for the drone industry as a whole? Share your thoughts and opinions here in this thread.
  4. DroneSeed—a drone company that uses drone swarms to accelerate reforestation by planting and protecting trees—is in the news again, this time with plans to help restore rangelands affected by invasive species in Oregon through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy. A few months back DroneSeed made headlines for their first-of-its kind waiver from the FAA, which allows them to fly heavy-lift drones weighing greater than 55 pounds in swarms of up to five drones at a time. Each one of DroneSeed's drones can carry up to 57 pounds of seeds, and can weigh as much as 115 pounds. Read today's article to learn more about DroneSeed's partnership with the Nature Conservancy in Oregon, as well as how drones could be hugely impactful in restoration efforts throughout the globe. What do you think about drone swarms and their potential for helping with conservation work? Chime in here to share your thoughts!
  5. NASA recently announced that two partners have been selected to host the fourth and final phase of its UTM Project, which will test the system’s ability to safely and effectively manage drone traffic in urban areas—read today's article to learn more about NASA's UTM Project and their plans for testing drone traffic management in an urban environment. While it’s exciting that NASA is closing in on the final phase of their UTM Project, there doesn’t seem to be much information available about how they plan to bridge the gap from technological development to actual use. So what are your thoughts—when do you think we'll see UTM implemented throughout the U.S., as it already is in Switzerland? And how important is UTM to the future of the drone industry as a whole?
  6. An Amazon patent recently published online entitled “Drone Marker and Landing Zone Verification” reveals the system the company might use both for guiding delivery drones to their destination and for verifying that the location where a delivery is made is the correct one. The system can spot obstacles to a delivery, and also proposes various methods for the final handoff of the package (that is, getting the package to the recipient's door and not just to the recipient's house). Read today's article to learn more about Amazon's new drone delivery patent and other patents the company has secured to help them in making drone deliveries a reality. What do you think—is Amazon's new patent indication of progress on the technological front, or do we still have a long way to go in developing the technology needed to make drone deliveries a reality?
  7. Yuneec recently announced that their H520 hexacopter will now be available with an RTK (Real Time Kinematic) system, provided by the Swiss company Fixposition. According to Yuneec, the RTK system will ensure maximum precision for mapping and inspections. The RTK integrated satellite navigation allows for centimeter-precise positioning, with accurate recurring images and faster 3D mapping. This increased reliability will benefit drone operators flying in tricky GPS conditions, such as in cities or canyons. Read today's article to learn more about the H520's new RTK system, and how it helps Yuneec in the fight to maintain their position in the market as a cost-effective professional drone. Are you excited about the release of the H520 RTK system? Share your thoughts here in this thread.
  8. Airobotics recently announced that they are the recipient of the first approval ever granted by the Australian CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) to fly automated UAV missions BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) with no aircrew required on-site. According to Airobotics, this new approval gives their remote UAV pilots permission to oversee missions from their Remote Operations Center. Using systems located at customer sites, remote pilots can use this approval to supervise missions at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers (632 miles) away. Read today's article to find out what the difference is between this new BVLOS approval from the Australian CASA and the BVLOS waiver Airobotics received from the FAA last month. What do you think about Airobotics' new BVLOS approval from the Australian CASA? Do you think automated UAV inspections are going to proliferate quickly in Australia, the U.S., and elsewhere, or do you think we still have a ways to go before they become an everyday occurrence? Share your thoughts and opinions here on this thread.
  9. 2019 looks like it might be shaping up to be the year of BVLOS. Ameren, a power company based in St. Louis, MO, just successfully tested flying a UAV to inspect over 60 miles of power lines in a single, non-stop BVLOS flight. Add to this the recent first-of-their-kind BVLOS waivers issued by the FAA, and it looks like we might be starting to see a trend. Read today's article to learn more about Ameren's successful BVLOS test, and recent BVLOS waivers granted by the FAA. What do you think—will we see more and more BVLOS waivers granted this year, or do we still have a long way to go before BVLOS becomes a regular part of commercial drone operations?
  10. The FAA has issued the first national waiver ever to State Farm for drone operations over people and BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) to conduct UAV missions for damage assessment. The waiver can be used anywhere in the U.S., and is good until November of 2022. Given the number of special BVLOS and flight over people waivers issued in the last several months, it looks like the FAA is starting to feel more comfortable issuing these types of waivers, and that companies are starting to better understand how to navigate the waiver process to obtain a successful outcome. Read today's article for more information on State Farm's new waiver, and the process they followed to get it. Are you excited to see the FAA issuing so many first-of-its-kind waivers? Share your thoughts here on this thread.
  11. Back in 2013, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, predicted that by 2018 drones would be able to deliver items weighing up to five pounds within a 10-mile radius of an Amazon warehouse. Well, 2018 just came and went, and Amazon isn’t quite there yet. So how much progress did we actually make on the drone delivery front in 2018? Read today's year-in-review article for a look back at drone deliveries in 2018, broken down into medical and commercial drone delivery. What do you think—do we still have a long way to go when it comes to drone deliveries being a daily reality here in the U.S., or is that day still a long ways off? Chime in here to share your thoughts.
  12. Airobotics recently announced that they have received a first-of-its kind waiver, allowing them to fly BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) automated drone missions over people, using a VO (Visual Observer) who is not required to maintain a direct line of sight with the drone at all times. 2018 has been a huge year for Airobotics. In October they raised $30 million in a Series D funding round, in June they were picked for the Wall Street Journal's Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch in 2018, and they've received several other awards and recognitions this year. Read today's article on the UAV Coach site to learn more about Airobotics' new waiver, and how they are quickly making a play to dominate autonomous drone solutions around the world. Are you excited to see what Airobotics does with their new waiver? Share your thoughts here!
  13. Looking for presents for the drone lover in your life? Check out our list of 21 drone gift ideas for the holidays. With the holidays right around the corner, we wanted to share some gift ideas for those of you doing some last-minute shopping—hope you find it helpful! Comment here to let us know if you found a gift on our list, or share the other drone-related gifts you've been purchasing this year.
  14. Recently we heard about commercial drone pilots being stopped while in the field by FAA officials from local FSDOs (Flight Standards District Offices) for spot checks. The officials asked the pilots to show their Part 107 certification cards, as well as their flights logs and maintenance records, such as records of how often they change out their rotor blades. According to Jeff Rose, UAS Chief Pilot from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, these checks have been happening somewhat often for the commercial pilots he oversees, usually after the pilots have filed their LAANC airspace authorizations. So what exactly do you need to have on hand if the FAA stops you while you're operating a drone for commercial purposes? Check out our new guide on the Drone Pilot Ground School website for a checklist of everything you should have in case of a ramp check. Have you had a ramp check performed while you're flying commercially, or heard of anyone else who has? Chime in here to share your experiences.
  15. The International Standard Organization (ISO) recently shared their proposed International Standards for Drone Operations with the public. These standards are a big deal because they will help create a global structure for the types of flying that constitute responsible drone use, which could in turn drive drone adoption more quickly and responsibly throughout the world. Have you read the standards? Do you plan to comment? Check out our article on the ISO's standards, and chime in here to let us know what you think.