Top Drone Industry News 14 November 2016

Top drone industry news, hand-picked for you by Skytango’s team with comments from Steve Flynn, Skytango’s CEO. Edition: Nov. 14 2016.

Drone Industry News

Top topics this week are drone deliveries and the changes in the consumer drone market.

One of my most inspiring reads this week was the interview with Astro Teller by Laureen Goode on The Verge. Astro (real name Eric), is in charge of Google X (now just X), the company’s innovation lab. Several cutting edge programs run in X, including Project Wing, which is X’s drone project, mentioned by Astro in the interview.

Funnily enough, the interview was published just a day after Bloomberg released the news that Google curtailed Project Wing and canceled the project’s partnership with Starbucks. I’m not sure of the reasons behind this move, which seems to open up space in the drone delivery sector to other big players, such as Amazon, Walmart, and even other companies like the Chinese company JD, who say they will have over 100 routes available and in operation in China before the end of next year, reports Bloomberg.

From the delivery of burritos via drone to the delivery of pizzas: Mark Hilliard of the Irish Times offers a nice piece on Ireland’s potential to attract companies willing to test drone technologies, including (but not limited to) deliveries through drones.

Staying on drone deliveries, Jeremy Quittner of Fortune offers an interesting profile of one of the top women in drones: Helen Greiner, CTO of CyPhy, which recently partnered with UPS to extensively test drone deliveries.

In addition to Project Wing‘s pull back, more negative news for the industry comes from GoPro’s recall of the 2,500 Karma drones sold so far, due to power outages issues, after just a couple of weeks on the market. The recall was released on the same day as the U.S. presidential election (not a random choice, of course).

I read a few interesting articles on what GoPro‘s failure means for the future development of drone hardware in the U.S., in particular one by Heather Somerville of Reuters and one by Ben Popper of The Verge, this one subtitled “The dream of an American-made drone may be dead”.

3DR is turning from the consumer to the commercial market, hoping to rebuild its business by aiming at the construction industry. They recently launched 3DR SiteScan, a new service which combines flying drones with software to track the progress of construction projects and to spot potential problems from the air.

MarketWatch in the meantime released a positive report on the status of the consumer drone market expected to grow at 23.4% CAGR to 2020.

A great article by Robert Marvin of PC Mag goes deep into the recently launched DroneDeploy’s app marketplace.

Good news if you like FPV: Forbes reports the announcement of Bud Light’s sponsorship with the Drone Racing League, which has raised $12 million in funding to date.

New Drone Products/Ideas

Intel will start shipping a fully loaded drone kit to build a drone from scratch in December, with all the parts including the rotors, software, 3D camera and flight controller, PC World reports. A bit pricey as Christmas present, but it sounds like a great machine.


An interesting piece on Wired by Cade Metz shows how Facebook’s drones could be used in emergencies situations, such as hurricanes, earthquakes or terrorist attacks, to re-establish comms and Internet transmissions to provide help, support, and coordination in the interventions.

Drones in Journalism

The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal has published a short but interesting article on the conflictual relationship between privacy laws and free speech in drone journalism.

Another great recap of the legal framework for drone journalists (at least, U.S.- based drone journalists) comes from Haynes and Boone on Lexicology.

Drone Events

Our own Una Hennessy covered two great commercial drone events this week on Skytango’s blog: the Commercial UAV Show in London, and the Drones Data X Conference in Dublin. If you missed those events, have a read!

Inside Unmanned Systems covered the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas, another big commercial drone event which just took place.

Drone360 magazine announced this week a new promising commercial drone event for 2017: the Ascend Drone Conference & Expo.

Upcoming events till the end of the year:

Drone Film/Photo Festivals

Now open for submissions:

Aerial Video of the Week

This week we pick another great example of how aerials can subtly enrich a narrative.

Redbull Racing – Our Jordan Adventure, video created by Case Productions and Redbull, shows F1 pilot David Coulthard exploring stunning Jordanian landscapes. Drone operator is Robbie Andersen. Enjoy:

Jordan F1 Showrun Story Clip from Case Productions on Vimeo.


Thanks for reading and for sharing and as ever, safe flying.