Drone News

Singapore, officially called the Republic of Singapore, is a relatively small sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia with a current population of 5.6 million people.   The World Bank has named Singapore as the best country to do business in for numerous consecutive years.  The country is known for its rapid transition from third world to first world in a single generation – frequently referred to as one of Asia’s economic tigers.

The small country has made it to the top ranks of economic powers by being innovative – and supportive of new technologies and new ideas.

H3 Dynamics Holdings is one of the drone startups shaping the industry in Singapore.  H3 Dynamic Holdings are the developers of “DRONEBOX” – a fully automated and remote-deployable drone solution.  DRONELIFE asked Taras Wankewycz, the Group Founder & CEO at H3 Dynamics Holdings, about his company and the Singapore market generally.

DroneLife:  Please tell our readers about H3 Dynamics.

Wankewycz:  H3 Dynamics has been involved in the early phases of drone evolution – from power systems enabling fixed wing electric UAVs (since 2006), to more recently innovating on commercial drone business models and drone automation.

Singapore is a very small market for commercial drones, and like many areas of the world is looking to apply drones to commercial use cases. Singapore is leading the charge on trying to figure out what the next evolutionary step is for the global drone sector both from the technology innovation and the business model perspectives.

DroneLife:  What does the regulatory environment in Singapore look like?

Wankewycz:  Regulations are tight given there are 5 airports on a small and highly concentrated urban space. All drones and operators need to be registered and there are activity and operator permits that are mandatory for any flight. There are specific designated sites for recreational users. There are procedures for professional operators and clear guidelines from authorities.

BVLOS is being worked on and H3 Dynamics is the first to test solutions in cooperation with authorities. It’s a difficult topic given concentrated urban conditions, but technologies and features that maximize safety of deployments are being worked on. Given the constraints posed by the local conditions in Singapore – innovators in Singapore are working to think ahead of the curve compared to US and European markets which have larger land areas.

With clear drone regulations and the willingness to work with innovators like H3 Dynamics, Singapore is poised to take a significant place in the global drone industry.

Tags: Drone Industry, Small Business


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Skylark Drones Pvt Ltd, one of the fastest growing drone solutions companies in the country, aims to deploy its technology at Tata Steel's flagship Noamundi iron ore mines by the next financial year.

The Bengaluru-based start-up is already in talks with the steel monolith for a tie-up. The engagement could mean offering of a standalone software solution or the deployment of complete end-to-end solutions. Located in Jharkhand's West Singbhum district, Noamundi is one of the oldest operating mines in the country.

"We have co-created India's first mine monitoring system with Tata Steel under the directives of the Indian Bureau of Mines. This encompasses three facets -- compliance, monitoring and surveillance. As part of this engagement, we will have drone-based analytical capabilities being used for compliance reporting, monitoring volumetric production and automating lease boundary management," said Gokul Kumaravelu, the marketing lead at Skylark Drones.

Drone solutions are expected to help Tata Steel operate their mines more efficiently and raise productivity, besides ensuring higher regulatory compliance.

With the Ministry of Civil Aviation unveiling its drone policy and commercialising their usage, Skylark Drones is eyeing wider applications. "We have been awaiting regulatory interventions. Now, we are aiming to get our drones compliant by January or February next year," Kumaravelu said.

The ministry's drone policy has gone live and online registration of drones has kicked off from December 1 this year. Flying drones or remotely-piloted aircraft has become legal in India from December 1 with the National Drones Policy coming into effect. The new policy, called 'Drone Regulations 1.0', clarifies where, when and how drones can operate within the country. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has designated five different categories of drones -- nano, micro, small, medium and large.

Besides Tata Steel, Skylark Drones is in advanced talks with three other major companies to deploy its solutions. The companies in question are active in the mining of key minerals like bauxite, copper and coal. "The engagement should begin towards the middle of next year," Kumaravelu said.

Skylark Drones has placed huge bets on the mining sector. The company expects mining to be one of its top three verticals, alongside infrastructure and solar power. "We started our operations in 2015 servicing legacy B2B (business to business) verticals. In this period, we have achieved scale in our core verticals of mining, infrastructure, agriculture and solar. In the process, we have crossed the initial stages of validation and finding the right product-market fit," he added.

The technology is a web-based analytical platform that works by integrating data from different sensors to form different information layers such as 3D and thermal. It provides thematic analytics based on use-cases and applications. Though Skylark Drones has partnered with a few international tech companies such as Intel and Wipro, most of the technology that delivers value -- such as understanding actual mine layout in the context of engineering plans and haul road route optimisations -- to the mining customer has been developed in-house.

"If a mining or infrastructure conglomerate needs to conduct a complete analysis of all their projects and assets using high-definition drone data as the basis, we can do it because of the distributed pilot networks we have that acquire data rapidly. Not just this, we have a unique delivery platform that makes it easier for end users in these companies to understand and use drone data without changing their systems or workflows," Kumaravelu claimed.

Tags: Mining, Drones


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The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is pushing for the adoption of the drone technology in farms to cut production cost and encourage the youth to plant rice.

PhilRice FutureRice Program (FRP) leader Roger F. Barroga said the drone technology is commercially available but has not been applied in rice farming.

“PhilRice and other public and private organizations are already exploring it so that it can finally be brought to the ground, making it less elusive to Filipino rice stakeholders,” Barroga said in statement.

PhilRice said it recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Davao-based drone firm New Hope Corp. to advance research in the rice sector.

The MOA covers the possible use of drone in fertilizer application, seeding and pest management, according to the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Initial testing conducted by PhilRice and New Hope showed that the drone only uses 16 liters of spray per hectare to apply fertilizer compared to the usual 160 liters per hectare applied by farmers using knapsack, according to Barroga.

“This drastic change in volume can make the farmers turn skeptical on its effectiveness for pest management in addition to investment, roughly ranging from P500,000 to a million pesos,” Barroga said.

He said further research and farm demonstrations may yield possible reduction in the seeds used per hectare from two to three bags to just one bag through the use of drones.

The promotion of the potential of drone technology in rice farming would cut farmers’ production costs while luring young people back to farming, according to Barroga.

“By bringing it to the ground, rice stakeholders in awe of this flying technology would cease to feel that it is out of reach,” he said.

“Through service providers, drone spraying can be made accessible to farmers at a price roughly ranging from P850 to P1,500 rental fee per hectare,” he added.

The DA is promoting the use of drone technology to reduce the cost of producing rice, vegetables and other crops amid the increase in the price of inputs, such as seeds and fuel.

In April, the DA said it would spend at least P7.5 million to pilot test a drone spraying technology in a 5,000-hectare farm in Benguet.

“Five thousand hectares of vegetable farms in Buguias town and other selected towns of Benguet Province will serve as the pilot area of the newest farming technology that the DA is adopting—aerial spraying using remote-controlled Drones,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol  said in a Facebook post in April.

Piñol said he made the commitment following the successful test of drone spraying in vegetable farms in La Trinidad, which was witnessed by Benguet Gov. Crecencio Pacalso and hundreds of vegetable farmers.

The spraying test was conducted by Japanese firm DMM Corp., according to Piñol.

“It took the drone just a few minutes to cover a patch of vegetables and according to the data provided by the Japanese service provider company, it will only take 10 minutes to cover one hectare,” he said.

“The drone could be used to spray foliar fertilizer and other biological pest control solutions and is expected to bring down farm operations costs and increase productivity,” he added.

With the use of remote-controlled drones, the DA chief said farmers will also avoid getting sick as they “will no longer have direct contact with the biological or chemical mists emitted by handheld sprayers.”

Tags: Agriculture, Drone Crop Spraying


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Goldman Sachs forecast a $100 billion market opportunity emerging for drones from 2016 through 2020. We are more than halfway through that window, and real estate is one of the industries feeling the greatest reverberations from drones' arrival. Drones are able to collect data in unprecedented ways, complete tasks like physical inspections too risky for humans and are impacting the marketing of real estate to investors or buyers in ways never before possible.

Real estate is being or will be impacted by the arrival of drones in four broad ways. So says Jake Fingert, partner at Camber Creek, a Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm that invests in real estate tech companies. First, drones can allow developers to tell more compelling stories through video. Imagine being able to build a powerful social media campaign to lure prospective renters to a new urban high-rise apartment building by showing week-by-week progress of the building's construction from a drone's perspective, Fingert says.

Drones are also helping developers build more safely and quickly.

“For example, there are huge delays in construction getting the right materials to the right people at the right time.” he says. “Now, construction teams are using drones to monitor supply inventory across large project sites, so they can better manage delivery of new bricks, steel or other supplies.”

Get ready for droneports

Third, drones are on a path to begin influencing the way developers think about location and infrastructure. Picture a future in which drones deliver groceries, Fingert says. Suddenly, proximity to a supermarket is far less important. If drones are flying everywhere, there will also have to be drone flyways.

“That starts to impact real estate markets as well,” he says. “Meanwhile, you need a whole new network of regional distribution systems [that might be termed] 'droneports.'”

A fourth way drones are affecting real estate is through drone services. Operating and maintaining real estate and infrastructure involves danger for humans, in jobs like cleaning the windows of skyscrapers or handling simple maintenance chores on windy rooftops. Drones combined with robotics will be able to perform the same work without risking human injury. Moreover, they could complete those tasks more affordably and with better quality.

Drone services are also enabling commercial buyers of real estate to handle other tasks like complementing traditional surveying.

“Using lidar – basically radar with lasers – drones can develop highly accurate 3-D maps of land, which can help potential purchasers evaluate challenging issues like how the property would fare in a flood,” Fingert reports.

It is also exciting to contemplate the data capture and predictive analytics opportunities drones afford. For example, owners could use drones to analyze roofs for potential leaks and address the problems before they result in damage to their buildings.

High-flying savings

Many applications currently calling for airplanes or helicopters can be completed far more affordably with a drone, Fingert says. For instance, to shoot a panoramic flyover of a 10,000-acre property, “a drone is just fine,” he says. An average helicopter and pilot can cost between $600 and $1,000 per hour, depending on the chopper and market. That price does not include the videographer or photographer. By comparison, a drone operator will charge perhaps $100 to $200 an hour, including the actual video shooting and production, Fingert reports.

“Similarly, drones are very cost-effective for monitoring. If you have an in-house drone team and have purchased the equipment, your costs per hour per drone drop dramatically.”

Asked if the sky – pun intended – is the limit for drones, Fingert voices caution.

“We're in the very early stages,” he says. “ Can drones take off in a big way? Definitely. Are they certain to do so in the near term? No.”

Tags: Real Estate, Drone Photography


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Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are typically thought of in terms of warfare or entertainment (i.e., film and photography) applications. Yet the technology is growing to unbelievable heights and finding use cases in enterprise as well—particularly in the construction industry.

Today, most clients actually look for a construction team with drone technology. Using drones for construction has made constructing procedures easier and less time consuming. The purpose and use of the drone can change according to the situations, time, people, and the plan. But drones are used in different ways and for different purposes on a construction site, including:

Remote Viewing: Looking at an entire construction site or area is difficult from any point of view. Even a photo or video that covers the entire site will be difficult to capture. Drones can be used to view the entire site from the top of the area. By getting an overhead view, workers can see the entire structure with every nook and corner covered.

Progress Tracking: Drones in a construction site can be used to analyze the progress of the work already accomplished, current work, and the work yet to be implemented. It can give accurate information about the day-to-day progress of the construction site. The site owner does not need to visit the site daily to look at the work going on because the information adopted from the drones will be accurate.

Materials Handling: Drones can also be used to track the count and information about the materials being used. By having an exact count of this at any point in time, the owner can analyze the amount spent and the amount of materials being used. Along with this, the owner can calculate the exact overall budget of the project as it progresses.

“There are millions of changes happening every day on a construction site, so capturing daily progress with daily drone data capture is the single best way to capitalize on drones,” said Jacqueline Guilbault, marketing director at Skycatch, a company that designs drone systems and solutions for enterprise applications. “Some of our customers even fly multiple times a day because their sites evolve so quickly.” The team at Skycatch said the greatest benefits they have found from drones in construction include: quality assurance and control, the ability to bid more competitively, saving time on surveying, increasing safety, preventing expensive rework, and keeping track of schedule changes.

Guilbault noted that satellite maps are outdated by years and not very high-resolution. But using drones to capture data daily allows teams to assess the specific day's progress, identify potential issues before they evolve into larger problems, and plan the next day’s work.

“Users can also go back and identify what was done on the project to the day. And having that historical archive has proven invaluable as customers use them for everything from verifying invoices to resolving claims,” Guilbault said.

The way Skycatch designs drones involves spending time with their construction customers on their job sites, so they can detect firsthand what their customer’s needs entail. During the designing process, Guilbault said, “…We optimize the camera, the data collection, and the processing speed of the flight data. Our ruggedized enclosure, proprietary camera, and the precision RTK [Real Time Kinematic] GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] we have built is specifically designed for high-stakes business. Our onboard computer ties together the positioning from the high-precision GPS and the timing from our custom high-res, mechanical shutter camera so that you know exactly where each photo was taken to within centimeter-level accuracy.”

Skycatch recently entered into an agreement with Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, Komatsu, under which Komatsu will distribute Skycatch's fully autonomous Explore1 drone and accompanying Edge1 base station to Komatsu sites. According to a press statement from Komatsu, more than 10,000 job sites across Japan have been using the Skycatch platform to eliminate the need for ground control points (GCPs).

Think of GCPs as sort of thumbtacks on a map. Marking certain locations in an area of interest (i.e., a construction site) allows drones to more accurately map the area. Here, Skycatch's platform relies on the use of the Edge1, a base station that provides drones with the location data they need without requiring a cloud-based connection or service. The Edge1 integrates a GNSS receiver—enabling signals from various location tracking technologies, such as GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and Galileo—with an Nvidia TX2 mobile GPU to allow for machine learning processing in the device, on the edge.

Drones like Skycatch's Explore1 (manufactured by DJI) are equipped with many technologies that have enhanced their usage in various industries, such as obstacle detection sensors. While these sensors scan the entire area, the software algorithms help in the production of 3D images, which are scanned by the sensor. 3D maps are eventually produced from these images. These 3D maps help the flight controller to sense and hence avoid objects.

Enabling edge processing in its platform allows the Skycatch to create maps and, based on location signals, create predictions in the field much faster than a system that requires cloud connectivity. According to the company, the Edge1 base station, combined with the Explore1 drone, can deliver data as accurate as 5 cm in arbitrary or local coordinate systems within 30 minutes.

“We’re best known for our level of accuracy, time to data, and ease of use,” Guilbault said. “We’ve automated on-site data processing with the Edge1 GNSS base station by integrating machine learning, artificial intelligence, and edge computing so that the data can be delivered to you on-site and the customer can make important decisions faster.”

Tags: Construction, Drone Inspections


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Digital models of the islands of Canna and Sanday in the Small Isles are to be created to provide a new perspective of the isles' archaeology.

A fixed wing drone was used to photograph the islands last week.

The new data will provide information on the shape and extent of the turf and stone structures such as settlement mounds, shielings and hut circles.

Evidence of traditional rig and furrow cultivation strips will also be mapped in detail.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) commissioned the company Geo.Geo to undertake topographic modelling of the islands.

Derek Alexander, head of archaeology a NTS, said: "We are really excited about this project. We are keen to see the first results of the drone photography and modelling.

"While we already have quite a good map showing the location of the numerous archaeological sites on Canna and Sanday, this new work will provide us with detailed imagery of each of the sites - many of which are defined as low mounds."

The work was funded by grants from NTS members' centres in London, Angus and Argyll.

Tags: Archaeology, 3D Mapping, Drone Surveying


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During Inter BEE 2018 we talked with japanese filmmaker Katsuhido Masuda, who is using a very tiny toy drone with 1080p camera for his video productions. As drones are getting smaller and tiny cameras better, are they going to be the future of filmmaking?

Drones are getting smaller and their cameras better very quickly. A good example would be DJI with their Mavic Pro, Mavic Air and Spark line of drones, which can all be considered quite small. Maybe it is still not small enough though. As capable camera units get smaller (smartphones be the evidence), I believe there is still plenty of room in miniaturizing camera drones.

During Inter BEE 2018 we met and interviewed japanese filmmaker Katsuhiko Masuda, who is runing a video production company producing for example VR content for Oculus. He built a very tiny toy drone with FPV camera and uses it now for his productions. He flies the drone often in interiors and through considerably tight spaces to give another perspective to his images.

Impossible Drone Fly-Through Shots

The concept of using a very tiny toy drone for filming is not new. You might still remember the impossible drone shots from Robert McIntosh, who used his great drone piloting skills to promote his own After Effects stabilizing plugin ReelSteady. In case you did not see them or you want to refresh your memory, here are the links to our older articles – Impossible drone shot I and Impossible drone shot II. The resulting videos are very impressive thanks to the multiple very tight fly-throughs.

Robert used a very tiny toy drone and attached a stripped of Gopro HERO4 camera to it. The takeoff weight of the whole setup was only 120 grams including the LiPo flight battery and foam roll cage. The battery had to be tiny so the drone could carry it and therefore the flight time was only couple of minutes. The footage straight out of the GoPro was of course not stabilized, but ReelSteady plugin managed to get a smooth resulting clip.

The point is – this is the most interesting thing about filming with such a small drone. It can fit in very tight spaces and it usually is more agile which is vital for filming in interiors. Very low weight is on the other hand not so great for exteriors as even the slightest wind will affect the micro drone.

According to the japanese website Videosalon, the micro drone which Katsuhiko uses for his shooting is a slightly modified racing drone Nano Vespa 80 HD DVR. The camera unit used on the drone is capable to record 1080p video in up to 60fps and save it to micro SD card. Unfortunately no info about the bitrate or codecs. The overall weight of the setup is 68.4g. Drone operator can fly the drone with FPV goggles. 

Both micro drones (Robert’s and Katsuhiko’s) look actually quite similar and have similar size. The camera unit used on Katsuhiko Masuda’s drone definitely is much smaller than the stripped down GoPro HERO4, but it logically also offers lower video quality. Katsuhiko told us it is a 1080p FPV camera. He also stabilized the footage, so the resulting resolution is probably a bit les than full HD. In my opinion the image quality is sufficient, but there sure is lot of space for improvement and image-quality-wise I am still more convinced by the stripped down GoPro (which on the other hand was bulkier).

Disadvantage of these small toy drones is the flight time. It usually does not exceed few minutes, because the battery cannot be too heavy to keep the drone compact and agile. Katsuhiko’s drone can fly for only about 2 minutes. Such a short flight time requires a certain workflow and lots of practice as every mistake means replacing the battery and taking-off again.

Important part of design of the micro drones is that the propellers are protected with guards. Without them close flying by the actors would increase the danger of injury.

Physical Gimbal or Electronic/Post Stabilization?

I am looking forward for the very tiny cameras to get better, add high bitrate and 4K capabilities. I don’t think this should be a big issue – flagship smartphones already have such a technology in their camera modules. Putting them in a smaller package on the back of a tiny toy drone should be possible.

In terms of stabilization – I don’t think physical gimbals can be the right future for very tiny drones. I would say it will rather be some kind of good electronic stabilization, like for instance the hypersmooth in the GoPro HERO7 black. For non-stabilized footage there is always the option to do it in the postproduction. ReelSteady seemed to do a good job, but there are other options too. In this case it is vital for the small camera modules to get higher resolutions as post stabilization eats up some part of it.

Tags: Drone Film, Micro Drones, FPV Goggles


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A drone delivery service could grow retail sales in the ACT by $30-40 million by 2030, with more than a third of that going to small business, according to an economic impact study commissioned by Project Wing.

The study by AlphaBeta says small business could reap an extra $10-15 million with drones able to reach more customers, more cheaply than by road.

AlphaBeta says businesses could reach up to four times the number of customers with drones bringing more households into range.

It says the current radius of food delivery in Canberra is only about four or five kilometres, but drones flying at 120km/h can deliver a package 10 kilometres away in less time than it takes a car to drive five kilometres.

“Doubling the range to 10 kilometres triples the number of households within range of a restaurant based in central Canberra, from 25,000 households to 75,000 households,” the study says.

Delivery costs could be cut by up to $12 million per year by 2030, assuming consumers receive a fee decrease that is proportional to the reduction in underlying costs, with costs for some items such as takeaway food falling in the long term by up to 80-90 per cent.

AlphaBeta says current delivery costs are prohibitive for some business, with restaurants paying around 30 per cent of each order value to online delivery service providers.

“These costs make it unprofitable for some businesses to offer last-mile delivery at all, despite a growing customer preference for online shopping and delivery,” it says.

With drones saving customers time and money, AlphaBeta says consumers will make additional or higher-value purchases.

“While the value is hard to estimate precisely, drone delivery could generate an additional 600,000 annual retail transactions in the ACT in 2030, worth around $30-40 million in revenue. This benefit could be as high as $12,000-$16,000 per relevant retail business,” it says.

AlphaBeta says drone delivery will suit new market entrants who do not have the scale of bigger companies to offer low-cost delivery, encouraging more competition in the ACT market.

“Drones could be a convenient, affordable option for new local businesses to participate in last-mile delivery and engage in e-commerce. This would facilitate a more productive, competitive business environment in the ACT,” it says.

Kickstart Expresso’s Paul and Liat Davis with the Wing delivery packages.

In a drone delivery trial with Wing, Fyshwick-based Kickstart Expresso has been delivering a limited menu of coffee and breakfast items to 150 potential customers in the Bonython region, making up to 40 deliveries in a three-hour session, averaging six to eight minutes from order to delivery.

Using drones, Kickstart could deliver hot coffee from a single location to 6000 households, compared with the 250 to 400 drive-through customers it serves each day, the AlphaBeta study says.

Project Wing CEO James Ryan Burgess, who visited Canberra last week and spoke to Gungahlin businesses and residents about the company’s move there next year, said AlphaBeta had made certain assumptions about adoption rates and what the penetration would be in the ACT but he believed they were ‘pretty conservative’.

He said the Bonython trial had shown testers were using the service even more than what Wing had predicted they would and appreciating its convenience and speed.

Next year, Wing will be based in a Mitchell warehouse where it will house its fleet of about 30 drones and, after consulting with the community, trial delivery services in the suburbs of Franklin, Harrison, Crace, Palmerston and Gungahlin.

The Bonython experience, which also sparked a storm of protests about noise and privacy that went all the way to Federal Parliament and prompted a Legislative Assembly inquiry, has seen Wing invest in quieter drones and move to reassure the community about privacy.

“If these aircraft are a nuisance to society then society is going to push back,” Mr Burgess said. “As the technology improves it has to show that it’s delivering value without negative impacts for it to be desired and adopted.”

For now, Wing is focused on delivering small, urgent, on-demand packages in the areas of pharmaceuticals, chemist items and food, although Mr Burgess admits that in time there could be bigger drones to carry bigger payloads.

“When you study what people need quickly, you don’t need very much of something, so we’re not planning to replace a trip to the grocery store to restock the refrigerator, but just those items that you need in a moment’s notice,” he said.

And the smaller the packages, the smaller and quieter the aircraft.

Wing’s biggest drone has about a metre wingspan, weighs 4.5kg, and is made mostly of lightweight foam material. They have 12 rotors instead of the standard four on other drones, to withstand multiple failures, but Wing is still to overcome the hurdle of being able to fly in bad weather, with rain affecting the electric motors.

Mr Burgess said deliveries to high-rise apartments was something for the future and Wing was focused on the suburbs where distance from services is more of a factor.

He said the Canberra trials were the most advanced in the world. “There is no other place in the world where we can do this and get that feedback from the community, saying what they like, what they don’t, what we can improve,” he said.

The next step was lodging a development application for its Mitchell warehouse and continuing to talk to the community.


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The Christmas Spectacular show with the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall in New York is one of those must-see shows during the Holiday season. The show has become an annual tradition for a lot of people and over the many decades of the show’s existence little has changed. For instance, the oldest and perhaps most famous aspect of the show, ‘The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers‘ has been a staple since 1933. For this year, however, the organization behind the Christmas Spectacular show has decided to change things up a little by adding Intel Shooting Star Mini drones to the mix and creating an entire new finale, called ‘Christmas Lights’. 

One hundred Intel Shooting Star Mini drones have been added to a brand-new finale scene. A short video of which you can see below. Intel tells us that the drone performance will be Intel’s longest running indoor drone light show with more than 200 performances between November 9th and January 1, 2019, as part of the Christmas Spectacular.

“Intel Shooting Star mini-drones, representing Christmas lights, will create various images and animations that are synchronized to music and lighting effects performing alongside the ensemble and Rockettes. As they build in numbers throughout the scene, the final culmination will showcase a one hundred drone light show, as their movement and flight path will interact with advanced digital projections to make various scenic elements magically come to life.”

The new finale, ‘Christmas Lights’ was overseen by Sam Buntrock, the creative director of new digital content. From a distance, the drones merely look like floating lights. but they do add a special 3D effect to the show.

The video can be seen at https://twitter.com/DroneDJ/status/1064926110729814016

Specifications and Features:

Weighing in at less than 68 grams, the Intel® Shooting StarTM mini-drone is constructed with a soft frame made of flexible plastic. A 180-degree cage covers the four propellers. The Intel® mini-drone fits in the palm of a typical hand – all features designed to promote safety when flying near people.

Type: Quadcopter with propeller guards

Size: 177 x 156 x 34 mm

Take Off Weight: <68 grams

Max Flight Time: 8 Minutes

Average audience Show Time: >4 Minutes

LED: Over 4 billion color combinations based on RGBW

Tags: Drone light show, Events


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The construction industry is changing rapidly and to cater to the booming demand and increased expectations, the role of technology would increase at every level of construction. It is expected that in the next 10 years, the use of drones in construction will register a manifold growth and for futuristic buildings, drones will play a leading role.

Drones would lower the costs of projects, increase productivity and enhance data sets through improvements in photographic visualization. Improvement in surveying accuracy would be another benefit of using drones in construction which would help in saving both time and money. Increased use of drones in the construction industry will create new jobs and add value to the economy.

Transforming construction

As per a PwC report, around 600,000 people will be employed in the drone industry by 2030. The report also says that other than providing inexpensive and efficient surveying construction sites, inspecting disrepair of buildings, drones would also help to collate 3-D information and seamless integration with the BIM systems that would revolutionize the construction sector.

Another report by Goldman Sachs says that the biggest use of commercial drones would be in the construction sector, mainly in surveying and mapping sites. It estimates that total global spending on drones in the commercial market will be $100 billion.

Incorporating drone flight throughout all phases of the construction life cycle would provide a comprehensive record of all activities, enabling the managers and supervisors to keep track of everything until the completion of the project. This would leave no room for speculation and doubt. And unnecessary delays in projects could be avoided as the exact duration by which the project would be completed would be known.

Benefits over other methods

In the age of automation, construction industry cannot keep itself insulated from the changes and this explains the increase in BIM adoption in recent years.

Rob Walker, PwC’s UK engineering and construction leader, said: “Embedding drone flights in the construction lifecycle can provide a compelling ‘golden record’ of activity and we are already seeing tangible benefits from users”. Survey times can be 400 times faster than conventional methods, costs reduced by as much as 40% and data can be shared via the cloud with multiple stakeholders anywhere in the world, stressed Walker.

This enables faster decision making, and people can be freed up to focus on higher-value work – and this is just the start of our drone journey and tighter integration with other sources of management data.”

The highly reliable and precise information collected by drones would offer real-time monitoring and supervision would be easy as there would be no need to physically visit the site of the project. Collaboration between different teams and parties working on a project will be enhanced as everyone would be adequately informed and there won’t be any miscommunication.

Interestingly, the increased use of drones will also boost BIM adoption. Drone would also make it easier to create 3D models which then can be imported with BIM. It would not only increase productivity and efficiency but also provide a better understanding of the project.

Drones can capture dozens of high-resolution imagery of the project area. The images can then be combined. Another crucial benefit of drones would be that the data could be embedded into BIM package in different file formats. This would make the workflow simpler.

A key benefit of using drone technology and the specialized photogrammetry software is that the data can be imported into BIM or CAD packages in various file formats. This makes integration of the digital 2D/3D data into workflow processes simple.

Tags: Drone Photography, Construction, Site Management


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