Top Drone Industry News 21 November 2016

Top drone industry news, hand-picked for you by Skytango’s team with comments from Steve Flynn, Skytango’s CEO. Edition: Nov. 21 2016.

Last week I traveled to the U.S., where I had really interesting conversations with 1776, the US Secretary of Defense, NAB and two big players in the drone industry. In the next months, you will hear about what Skytango is working on!

Hot topics this week: drones in agriculture, DJI’s latest models, drone pilots’ misbehaviours, and drones in science research. Enjoy:

Drone Industry News

Advantages of drones in agriculture and strategy of companies like Drone Deploy in the sector are the topic in this article by Harriet Taylor on CNBC, featuring Chad Colby, one of the top industry experts on drones in agriculture.

For more on this, listen to Ian Smith (‘s latest interview with Canadian farmer and drone operator Norm Lamothe on using drones in agriculture.

I enjoyed reading Pix4D‘s article on Medium showing the vivacity of the drone ecosystem in Switzerland, and explaining the genesis of the Global UTM Association. This association, recently created, works with the top drone companies to promote standardization of the data, registration of drones, and identification of technical solutions for the development of UTM systems.

Alex Davies on Wired talks about the last moves of US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, the man who pushed emerging technologies like drones closer to consumers.

I watched with interest a 2-minute interview with Ran Krauss from Airobotics at the Commercial UAV Expo, about drone automation and the impact in the commercial space.

This week I also read about drone-related misbehaviours. C’mon guys!

A 20-year-old student was charged with aggravated assault, causing/risking catastrophe, simple assault, and reckless endangerment for flying a drone illegally over an anti-Trump protest in the center of Philadelphia, USA. The guy flew his drone over the heads of 300 protesters, and the drone had multiple close calls with one of the police helicopters on the scene.

Also, Alice Ross on The Guardian reports four near misses in a month between drones and passenger aircraft in UK airspace. In one incident at the Liverpool airport, the drone came within 5 metres of the aircraft’s wingtip.

And also, Gill Plimmer on the Financial Times writes about G4S, the private security company guarding the Game of Thrones sets in Northen Ireland, and its battle against drones flown by amateurs and people looking to sell plot spoilers of the seventh season of HBO’s popular series.

On a positive note, on Nov. 20, Disney started its show starring 300 dancing drones flying simultaneously in the Orlando sky, powered by Intel’s technology.

New Drone Products/Ideas

There was lots of attention this week on DJI’s latest announcements: the Inspire 2 and the Phantom 4 Pro.

The Inspire 2 is the next generation of DJI’s cinematography drones, geared towards professional filmmakers. The Phantom 4 Pro is a more versatile version of the Phantom 4, and while it’s targeted at enterprise and “prosumer” customers who need to capture aerial images, it can also be used to carry out inspections, search-and-rescue operations and deliveries.

I liked CNET’s hands on review of the Inspire 2, and review of the Phantom 4 Pro , but I’m sure you will find other great reviews online.

Following on the same topic, I also enjoyed Sally French (’s great piece on MarketWatch on the price pressure that DJI is putting on the industry and its impact on the drone manufacturers competing with DJI. Ben Popper on The Verge also comments on this in an article properly titled: DJI’s biggest competition in drones is itself.

Drone Journalism

The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, an FAA-designated UAS test site led by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, has initiated a training program to develop safe practices for aerial journalism that is being used by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., one of the country’s largest broadcasting companies. The program was developed from a research conducted with a coalition of major media organizations, including Sinclair and other companies such as the Associated Press and Washington Post.

Drone Flying Techniques

I stumbled upon this great guide from Dirk Dallas ( on how to fly a drone, targeted at beginners. Did you just get a drone or planning to get one for Christmas? Make sure you read it!

Aerial Filming & Photography

DJI has released The Circle, first in a series of 4 short films entirely shot with the new Inspire 2 drone. The Circle, directed by Sheldon Schwartz with Oscar-winning Claudio Miranda as Director of Photography, shows the huge potential of the Inspire 2 and the integrated X5S camera in filmmaking.

Watch the film (plus read about the behind-the-scenes of The Circle in our article):

Looking for inspiration for your drone photos? Check the styles of 12 drone photographers picked by Elizabeth Sulis Gear of Feature Shoot (by the way, we interviewed Karolis Janulis, mentioned in that article on the use of shadows and light in his aerial photos).

Alexandra Genova, contributor for Time, dedicates an article to 5 of the aerial photographers featured in a recent book by DJI Above The World.


Drones are increasingly used in science research. Every week I read about surprising examples of how drones are contributing to environmental and biology researches.

Michael Moore, marine biologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Massachusetts, USA) has rigged a fleet of drones with samplers to catch whales’ exhalations from above, writes Chris Baraniuk on Quartz. The aim is to get a good enough samples to analyze exhaled microbes and gain a better understanding of the cetaceans’ health.

Dr Frederic Maire from the Queensland University of Technology has developed an automated detection system which searches for dugongs in the drone’s images. This allows the marine mammal researchers to use drones for aerial surveys, instead of planes and people, reports Mashable.

SpectroDrone, manufactured by the Israeli-based firm Laser Detect System (LDS), is the world’s first drone capable of detecting explosives, narcotics and other chemical compounds from 1.8 miles. It’s amazing how many technologies play in this drone, such as laser beams, laser rangefinder, camera, spectrometers and proprietary algorithm.

The South Korea government announced that firefighters will soon start using drones in their search and rescue missions, and to deliver medicine and emergency supplies in areas affected by seasonal floods or heavy snowfall, reports Yonhap News.

Drone Events

2 big commercial drone events just released their post-event data: the Drone World Expo 2016 attracted 2,700+ professionals, 100+ exhibiting companies and a line-up of 120 speakers, and the Commercial UAV Expo 2016 attracted 1,700+ professionals, 170+ exhibiting companies and a line-up of 70+ speakers.

Upcoming events till the end of the year:

Drone Film/Photo Festivals

Now open for submissions:

Aerial Video of the Week

I picked Disney’s show starring 300 drones powered by Intel. Not for aestethic reasons, but for the potential behind the drone fleet management tehnologies. It’s a glimpse of the future:


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