Top drone industry news 7 November 2016

Top drone industry news, hand-picked for you by Skytango’s team with comments by Steve Flynn, Skytango’s CEO. Edition: Nov. 7, 2016.

Drone Industry News

Of course, I can’t help telling you that the biggest drone industry news this week is that Skytango launched! …well…it’s the biggest for me ūüôā

Skytango, a global marketplace for drone operations built with the support of BBC News and Audio Network, is now accessible to drone pilots and content buyers from all around the world.

Thanks to our partners BBC News, Audio Network, Quadrocopter, UAV Protect, and Drone Cover, and many thanks to Philip McNamara of Drones Data X Conference for inviting us to roll out the product, and to Alan Perlman (UAV Coach), Vali Ciobanu (Droneblog), Betsy Lillian (Unmanned Aerial Online), UAV Vision, Drones UAV UAS, Dronestack and everybody else who wrote about us!

Intel’s big interest in drones is showing up in the number of product releases, acquisitions, and announcements they have been producing in the last months.

Earlier this week, Intel announced the acquisition of MAVinci GmbH, a startup specializing in fixed wing drone technology and flight-planning software for commercial use. As Intel’s Anil Nanduri, head of the drone business said, Intel is positioning itself to provide the compute, sensor, communications and cloud integration for the growing drone ecosystem.

A few days later, Intel unveiled their latest drone: the Shooting Star,¬†designed for light shows. It will initially be used for entertainment, such as shows at theme parks, sports stadiums, and large public events.¬†What’s interesting is that research and its UAV fleets have great potential for more serious pursuits.

Talking about drones for entertainment, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts have been granted FAA permission for night operations and operations with multiple drones. This summer Disney patented a technology system for drones, projectors and screens. If you are interested in this topic, we just published an article on the growing interest in drones in entertainment shows.

Kyle Stock on Bloomberg comments on GoPro’s latest stock drop and the role of Karma in the near future of the company. The release of Karma is seen by the journalist almost as an attempt at saving the company whose revenue is heavily dependant on hardware product releases.

DJI apologized for the delay of the Mavic, and in the meantime is planning the launch of the Inspire 2, on Nov. 15.

Talking about the the GoPro/DJI challenge, Brent Rose of Wired compared the Karma and the Mavic, and picked Mavic as the winner.

The Verge has published a special, showcasing market data from a Goldman Sachs research on drones. While the data is not new (Goldman Sachs released this research in March 2016), the page is still interesting. Between now and 2020, Goldman Sachs forecasts a $100 billion market opportunity for drones ($30 billion for the commercial/consumer, $70 billion for military). Construction, agriculture, and insurance claims are the top 3 industries by addressable market on the commercial side. On the consumer side, demand will grow to 7.8 million consumer drone shipments and $3.3 billion in revenue in 2020.

Drone Deploy announced the opening of its App Market, the first drone industry app store. The store launched with more than 15 apps directed at businesses using drones, including AirMap, AutoDesk, Verifly, MyJohnDeere, WhiteClouds and more. It also offers third-party developers access to the largest dataset in the world of drone 2D maps and 3D models.

The Ministry of Transport of Singapore has selected three vendors to deliver non-tethered and tethered drone services, to support various public operations such as monitoring dengue-hit areas and construction sites.

New Drone Products/Ideas

Miriam McNabb on¬†Dronelife reports about Asylon, an¬†autonomous battery swap station, which can change, and charge the battery for whichever drone you use, tackling the “battery problem” for smaller commercial drones.

Futurism writes about Piccolissimo, the world’s smallest self-powered controllable drone built by UPenn’s ModLab. This low-cost, 3D printed, lightweight microdrone can be equipped with smart sensors and has huge potential for applications in agriculture or disaster relief.

Microdrones are a hot topic in the industry. Nasa is testing the micro drones created by the Swedish startup Bitcraze. Their 27-gram drones can be pre-programmed to work autonomously and fly in coordinated swarms of up to 49 units at a time.


We weren’t the only startup launching at Drones Data X Conference. DJI and DroneSAR¬†announced a new search and rescue app¬†that transforms basic commercially available drones into advanced Search and Rescue platforms ensuring¬†rescue crews can use drones effectively to save lives. Well done Oisin, Gearoid, Matthew and the DroneSAR team!

The Australian RPAS Consortium (ARC), made up of eight groups with interests in the hardware, security and legal aspects of drones, including UAS International and the University of Sydney, launched its Angel Drone project, writes Ariel Bogle on Mashable. This project aims at using special medi-drones to deliver urgent medical supplies first and human tissues and organs later on, to remote communities. Trials carrying vital blood and organ transplants could begin within 12 months.

Research by Mitchell B. Cruzan, professor in the Department of Biology at Portland State University, titled “Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Plant Ecology” shows how¬†drones could be used to monitor habitat restoration efforts and threatened plant populations. Drone surveys could be the holy grail of ecological data, Phys comments on the research.

A Colorado-based startup called Mountain Drones is investigating drones as a method to deliver explosives that trigger avalanches. Drones are safer and more accurate than the current alternatives. GearJunkie reports that the startup is in talks with ski resorts and state-level DOTs to begin pilot programs this winter.

Drone Events

Drones Data X Conference, Expo Drone Mexico and¬†the Commercial UAV Expo¬†took place last week (re: the Commercial UAV Expo, I just read the latest Christopher Korody’s email featuring a great write-up of the Commercial UAV Expo, which is planning to expand to Europe in 2017).

November is another busy month for drone events. Upcoming events include:

Drone Film/Photo Festivals

Yuneec launched a video contest for the Typhoon H. Top prize is $5,000 worth of Yuneec products. The contest will run until Dec. 2, with the winner will be chosen and announced on Dec. 15, 2016. To enter, submit a video captured using a Yuneec Typhoon H or Typhoon H Pro.

Now open for submissions:


Fancy winning a brand new DJI Mavic Pro + Fly More Combo? Bolt Drones, to celebrate the launch of the Bolt Drones Kickstarter, has launched a giveaway with this great prize.

Aerial Video of the Week

Back in March 2016, we¬†interviewed Sergio Abruja, director of the Drone 100 show, which set the Guinness World Record for having The Most UAVs Airborne Simultaneously in Nov 2015. Last week, after less than a year, Intel set a new Guinness World Record, this time flying 500 drones simultaneously.¬†Watch the video of Intel’s Drone 500 spectacular light show:

Thanks for reading and for sharing,