Drone News

Dassault Systèmes and Delair, a leading supplier of commercial drone solutions have signed a collaboration agreement confirming with the intention to combine Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform, GEOVIA solutions and relevant drone-based technologies developed by Delair, and cooperatively promote these solutions for the mining and construction industries.


“In just a few years, companies of all sized have embraced unmanned aerial vehicles for land and mine surveys. Surveys traditionally performed by personnel often in dangerous conditions are now conducted by drones, eliminating the need to expose surveyors to unnecessary risks. These technologies are also revolutionising how mining companies are using survey data to manage their operations. It’s now possible to automatically fly a drone several times a week to accurately measure stockpile volumes or monitor the progress of a large construction site like a hydroelectric dam without even interrupting the operations,” says Raoul Jacquand, GEOVIA Brand CEO at Dassault Systèmes.


Over recent years, Delair have developed photogrammetry techniques and machine-learning based imagery analytics allowing the high fidelity capture of changing conditions at the surface of large-scale infrastructure projects, which ultimately result in actionable insights. This valuable information, typically generated in the form of large point clouds and photogrammetric scenes, can be further exploited using GEOVIA Surpac or the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The implementation of technology developed within Dassault Systèmes, allows Delair generated actionable intelligence to inform downstream processes of mining or construction companies.


“As more and more high-resolution aerial imagery is captured and processed, the ability to inject in near real time point clouds in design and planning decisions will differentiate best-class operators from the average ones. This vision of digital continuity from the drone takeoff all the way to models and operational plans is really exciting. Delair and Dassault Systèmes share that vision and our collaboration aims at making it a reality”.


“This cooperation agreement will enable to explore the synergies between the software solutions of both companies for the benefit of the industry processes which are mission-critical to our common customers,” said the statement.


Tags: Mining, Construction, Drone Technology



23/11/2018

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TORONTO — Real estate markets across the country may be showing signs of softening, but home stager Monique Shaw says her business has been booming.


“People were using staging as a way to sell in a hot market,” said the owner of Homes Beautifully by Monique Shaw in Calgary.


“But we’re still finding the opposite too. The market isn’t as red hot and it’s becoming more of a buyers’ market now than a sellers’ market then, but we’re doing a lot more vacant staging. We’re just as busy.”


Although housing markets may be off the price peaks seen in the spring of 2017, not all related industries stand to lose when property prices head lower. From staging services to renovation companies to drone operators, some industries that support the real estate market expect demand to remain strong. 


Shaw says she’s seen a recent uptick in business, as homeowners invest more into selling a home because properties can often sit unsold longer on the market. She charges $2100 for the first month for a fully-staged property, and a discounted rate for each following month the house remains on the market.


The latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association signals that a weakening in markets like Toronto and Vancouver is starting to attribute to lower national home sales.


In October, national home sales fell for the second time in a row while the average price for a sold home came in just under $496,800, down 1.5 per cent compared with a year ago.


Shaw, who is a trained interior designer, says a downturn in the Canadian oil-patch over the past three years has left many landlords scrambling to offload their rentals when tenants lost their jobs.


“When you have an empty property, that’s all it appears to be — empty and a property,” she said. “When you stage that home, it becomes a home. It looks like a home. You can imagine yourself in it. You can imagine yourself living in it.”


David Foster, who is with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, says a weaker real estate market can also mean more demand for renovations as homeowners forgo a move up due to lack of supply.


“Renovation is seen as the affordable option when someone can’t get their dream home either because they can’t afford it or it’s not available,” said Foster, whose group represents 8,600 contractor firms across the country.


“They start thinking, ‘What can I do to make this house better? Maybe it’s a bathroom reno.'” 


The CHBA says home renovations was a $77 billion industry in Canada in 2017.


Foster says home improvements are often done within the first two years of purchasing a home, but they also remain a popular option for those who want to wait out a slow market in undersupplied cities like Toronto and Vancouver.


“Affordability is still a huge issue and supply is still a huge issue,” he said. “When people see home prices are softening, they’re inclined not to sell and instead wait and see what happens next. In the meantime, that might mean improving their current home.”


Drone pilot Misha Herschorn doesn’t anticipate a quieter real estate market will ground the videography business he started last year.


The majority of business from First Class Drones comes from commercial clients who often want to showcase the size of a property lot, but he’s also getting more jobs from real estate agents representing luxury properties.


Herschorn says the commissions realtors receive when selling high-end properties make paying for drone photos and videos worth the cost of doing business — even in a slowing real estate market.


Tags: Drone Photography, Real Estate, Housing



23/11/2018

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Drones fitted with infra-red cameras could soon be flying over paddocks helping sheep farmers save newborn lambs.

The drones take thermal images of flocks that can then be used to assess the health of lambs.

The so-called 'lambulance' is a concept devised by a team at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA).

"The ewe and the lamb have a heat signature," lambulance co-creator Andrew Bailey said.

"What we're trying to do is relate that heat signature to the likelihood of success for that animal staying alive."

Rae Young (centre) watches as the drone is used over her sheep.


Mr Bailey wants to develop a smartphone app linked to the drone data so farmers can receive real-time warnings when a lamb is at risk.

"The drones exist already, the thermal imaging exists already. What we're doing is essentially stitching together all that imagery and then making a diagnostic tool to go with it," he said.

Tasmanian merino farmer Rae Young said she thought the technology was a great idea.

"We'll always embrace new technology," Ms Young said.

"But I think the uses for something like that to go around and check your lambing ewes will be fantastic over time."

Ms Young watched test flights of a TIA drone over one of her flocks.

She said she thought the heat-sensing drones could also diagnose ewes with mastitis — a bacterial infection of the udder.

"If its got mastitis it'll have an infection [and] it'll be hotter, and if a drone can find that earlier on in the piece that'd be fantastic as well," she said.

A lamb feeds off a ewe in a paddock in Tasmania.


Mrs Young and her husband Lindsay have 4,000 lambs on their farm near Ross in Tasmania's Midlands.

Their lamb mortality rate is approximately 8 per cent or 320 lamb deaths a year.

At an average sale price of about $150 per lamb, mortality costs the farm about $50,000 a year in lost revenue.

Frank Chester, president of the Marino Breeders Association of Tasmania, said some farms have mortality rates as high as 20 per cent, and that would make a lambulance cost effective.

"You don't have to save a lot of lambs to pay for the technology," Mr Chester said.

The lambulance is a finalist in this week's Australian eChallenge — a competition for entrepreneurs run by Adelaide University.

The competition is designed to help start-ups get their products market-ready, with grants of $10,000 on offer to the best entrants.

Mr Bailey now has to pitch his concept in a scenario similar to those faced by contestants on the TV show Shark Tank.

"Which is new ground for a sheep officer to go into a shark area," he said.

Mr Bailey believes the Lambulance would have applications right across the livestock sector.

"If all goes well, we could have something in the marketplace within the next 12 months," he said.

The eChallenge winners will be announced on Thursday night.

Ewes and lambs in a Tasmanian paddock.


Tags: Thermal Imaging, Agriculture, Drone Photography



23/11/2018

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DJI, Peugeot, and the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt partner to bring you the Drone Film Festival for 2018 and 2019. There are four categories in which you can submit your video: Sports, Landscape, Story Telling and Experimental. The festival is in its third year now. Last year it had over 400 films submitted. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt in Spring 2019 in the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt for the grand finale. Another drone film festival that might interest you is the NYC Drone Film Festival.

PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL 2018-19

The use of drones in conjunction with high-quality digital film cameras opens up completely new creative possibilities for the filmmaker at a very low cost. Together with its partners DJI and Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt, PEUGEOT has dedicated its own festival to this new film genre and has brought the development of this technique closer to filmmakers, creating an audience for these types of films, showing the use of state-of-the-art film technology as a gain and a new opportunity for creatives. After a festival 2016 with great inspiration for filmmakers, a festival 2017 with more than 400 submitted films, breathtaking recordings and high-quality film art, the festival starts its third edition.

THE COMPETITION

From 15 May 2018 filmmakers and drone pilots can submit films. The competition consists of four categories, in each category the jury chooses the best three. The jury is led by festival director Marie Bäumer and consists of actress Lisa Maria Potthoff, actor Simon Schwarz, director and Grimme award winner Stephan Wagner and three directors of the Federal Association of Film and Television Directors in Germany. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt in Spring 2019 in the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt for the grand finale.

GRAND FINAL

The grand finale of the PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL will take place in Spring 2019 at the new luxury hotel The Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt. The winners of the categories and the Grand Prix of all submissions will be announced by the jury. All finalists will also receive a three-day intensive and creative training with the drone specialists from DJI, the jury and Marie Bäumer.

AWARD

The Grand Prix of the PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL is a six-week drone filming event – free of choice: the winner will get for six weeks two free PEUGEOT travelers including running costs, a DJI drone with extensive equipment and EURO 5,000 for travel costs.



18/11/2018

Read full article


DJI, Peugeot, and the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt partner to bring you the Drone Film Festival for 2018 and 2019. There are four categories in which you can submit your video: Sports, Landscape, Story Telling and Experimental. The festival is in its third year now. Last year it had over 400 films submitted. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt in Spring 2019 in the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt for the grand finale. Another drone film festival that might interest you is the NYC Drone Film Festival.

PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL 2018-19

The use of drones in conjunction with high-quality digital film cameras opens up completely new creative possibilities for the filmmaker at a very low cost. Together with its partners DJI and Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt, PEUGEOT has dedicated its own festival to this new film genre and has brought the development of this technique closer to filmmakers, creating an audience for these types of films, showing the use of state-of-the-art film technology as a gain and a new opportunity for creatives. After a festival 2016 with great inspiration for filmmakers, a festival 2017 with more than 400 submitted films, breathtaking recordings and high-quality film art, the festival starts its third edition.

THE COMPETITION

From 15 May 2018 filmmakers and drone pilots can submit films. The competition consists of four categories, in each category the jury chooses the best three. The jury is led by festival director Marie Bäumer and consists of actress Lisa Maria Potthoff, actor Simon Schwarz, director and Grimme award winner Stephan Wagner and three directors of the Federal Association of Film and Television Directors in Germany. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt in Spring 2019 in the Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt for the grand finale.

GRAND FINAL

The grand finale of the PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL will take place in Spring 2019 at the new luxury hotel The Diaoyutai Mansion Frankfurt. The twelve finalists will be invited to Frankfurt. The winners of the categories and the Grand Prix of all submissions will be announced by the jury. All finalists will also receive a three-day intensive and creative training with the drone specialists from DJI, the jury and Marie Bäumer.

AWARD

The Grand Prix of the PEUGEOT DRONE FILM FESTIVAL is a six-week drone filming event – free of choice: the winner will get for six weeks two free PEUGEOT travelers including running costs, a DJI drone with extensive equipment and EURO 5,000 for travel costs.



18/11/2018

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IF AT FIRST you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That was the angle many news outlets took this week with a viral video of a brown bear mother and cub. Shot by Dmitry Kedrov this summer with a drone on the coast of Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk, the video shows a baby bear repeatedly climbing up and falling down a treacherous, snowy slope.

And though the video has a happy ending—the cub makes it to the top, and the duo walk off into the wilderness—numerous scientists have expressed concerns on social media about the way the video was shot.

For instance, at just over one minute into the video, the camera zooms extremely close to the bears. At the same time, the mother appears to look directly at the remote-controlled helicopter, and even appears to swat at the device—which then seems to cause the cub to fall back down the slope.

Kedrov told a Russian website that the zoom effect was done in post-production and that his drone did not scare the animals in any way. But some experts aren’t so sure.

“It could be a zoom on the video camera, but most consumer drones don't have the payload capacity to carry a camera with a high quality zoom lens,” says Mark Ditmer, a wildlife ecologist at Boise State University who has studied the physiological impact drones have on black bears. “I could be wrong, but I would have to guess this is the drone approaching rapidly and the mother panicking and swatting out of fear.”

“You look at the mother bear in that video and she’s staring straight at the drone for chunks of time,” Sophie Gilbert, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Idaho. “From her perspective it’s literally a UFO. It’s an unidentified flying object.”

“She has no idea what it’s doing. She’s probably never seen anything like it in her life. She’s got a very young cub with her, and of course her response is going to be fear,” Gilbert says.

In fact, the presence of the drone—and the desire to flee from it—could explain why the mother and her cub are traversing such treacherous terrain to begin with; Mothers with such young offspring usually avoid difficult travels unless necessary.

The sound and the flurry

While the details of this particular incident are still coming out, there are many other videos online that show the effects drones can have on wildlife.

Gilbert points to videos of drones hovering above brown bears eating salmon, of a wolf attacking a moose, and of pronghorn antelope apparently trying to escape a low-flying drone as examples of where the machines are actually influencing the behavior of the animals.

“I don’t know how much time you’ve spent around drones being flown, but they’re really loud,” says Gilbert, who conducted a review of how drones are being used in research in 2016. While some of these videos have soundtracks, many of them peaceful, “that is not how it sounds in real life.”

Noise alone can take a toll on wild animals. It distracts them from other necessary functions, like eating or competing for mates. In some animals, these machines may trigger a fight or flight response, while others show increased vigilance like they would in the presence of a predator. And some animals appear not to be affected at all.

Looks can be deceiving, however. In Ditmer’s study from 2015, he was able to show that while most black bears didn’t run away or react in obvious ways to drones flying overheard, their heartrates were going through the roof.

“Large spikes in heart rate indicate a stress response,” he explains. “In the most extreme example we saw bear's heart rate increase from 41 beats per minute prior to the drone flight to 162 beats per minute when the drone was overhead.”

And while it’s true that bears and other creatures can handle a quick heartbeat now and again, Ditmer notes that wild animals are already under a lot of stress trying to find enough food and avoid predators.

What’s more, humans are adding to this stress load all the time as we continue to encroach into wild areas, piling on still more noise with cars, airplanes, ships, and oil and gas extraction.

Flying drones safely

One thing that was clear after speaking with several experts is that nobody is saying we should ban all drones.

“After reading some of the comments on the bear video, I am concerned that people demonize drones,” says Margarita Mulero-Pázmany, a lecturer in unmanned aerial vehicles at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom. “That would be a mistake. We should not blame the tool just because it can be misused.”

Instead, we should develop best practices for scientists, hobbyists, and outdoors-enthusiasts alike that protect both animals and people.

In a review she conducted in 2016, Mulero-Pázmany suggests that drone operators avoid flying at animals head-on, as this is thought to be most threatening. Similarly, all flights should be as short and discrete as possible, while using models are smaller and electric which are much quieter than larger, gas-powered drones. Altitude is also key, and operators should strive to stay as high above the scene as possible while still gathering useful data.

Finally, care should be taken to avoid endangered species, animals that may be more vulnerable to drone presence like those that fly or who have evolved to fear aerial predators, and to never interfere with animals during sensitive times in their life cycle, such as breeding seasons.

“I think it’s a double-edged sword,” says Gilbert. On the one hand, when drones are operated correctly, there’s a chance to help people feel more connected with wildlife, which she says is extremely important for conservation outcomes.

But people also need to remember that animals have their own lives, needs, and fears to attend to, and we “need to not interfere,” Gilbert says.



18/11/2018

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Envision a frog riding a drone holding a camera in its front foot while flying through the air.


This is the image Rio Rancho business owner Dan Sellers wants potential clients to think of when they need his services.


Sellers, mastermind and owner of Aerial Frog, one of three drone videography and 3D imaging companies in the state, said he wants his business to stand out, hence the aforementioned logo.


“I got into videography when I started flying RC (remote control) planes eight years ago,” he said. “I noticed the drone age beginning to creep in at the air field in the form of racing drones.”


Sellers said he tried his hand at racing drones but never really got the feel for them. Instead, he said he liked the fact that he could strap a camera to the drone and capture images from the sky.


“I picked up a consumer-grade aerial photography drone five years ago before the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) became involved and there weren’t any rules on where you could and couldn’t fly,” he said. “I flew my drone everywhere around New Mexico, the coast of California, everywhere I could to get great images.”


Sellers said he started a YouTube channel featuring many of the videos he captured around the country.


“Soon, the FAA said if you were making money with your drones, then you had to become a certified pilot,” he said. “Since I had a YouTube channel that made money, I went to get my license.”


Then, Sellers said, he moved back to New Mexico from California, a move that gave him the opportunity to start something new.


“I wanted to try my hand at doing professional drone photography and make a living out of it,” he said. “So I opened Aerial Frog, but soon I realized it was going to be hard to make a living out of just doing drone photography.”

Sellers said while he was prepping his business, he was also advertising, which brought no phone calls.


“It was hard because I was investing into a new business, doing this and going here, and meanwhile, no phone calls,” he said.


Sellers said after researching what real estate agents want, he came up with a plan to offer 3D images so potential clients could see the dimensions of a house for sale online.


“I invested a substantial amount of money into a 3D camera,” Sellers said. “It’s called a Matterport and it creates a three-dimensional walk-through of a home.”


After acquiring the equipment, Sellers said he used his own home for practice.


“I can’t tell you how many pictures I took of my own dining room before I finally got it right,” he said with a smile.


Since offering this imagery and drone video, Sellers’ business is on an upswing.


“I have steady work with several Realtors and agencies that really like what I have to offer,” he said.


In business since March, Sellers said he has a full plate of upcoming projects.

“Basic photography comes in at eight cents a square foot,” he said. “So if someone called me on a 1,800-square-foot house, you’re looking at $160. That includes 45 pictures and most of those are HDR (high dynamic range) photos.”


After an initial in-person meeting, Sellers uses a program called DocuSign for other projects for the same client.


“After I do a couple of properties for a client, all I do is a phone call, and this makes doing business so much easier,” he said.


Sellers allows clients a couple of days to review his images in case they want a different angle or a new shoot altogether.


“This type of imagery is becoming the industry standard for real estate agencies because it cuts down on ‘looky-loos,’” he said. “If a potential buyer can see the exact layout of a house online, if they call the agent, that means they are serious.”


Sellers also offers floor plans for homes that were built a long time ago and don’t have original plans.


“My 3D camera offers this to potential buyers and home owners to be printed or used online, plus my 3D images can be used on any social media platform for advertising,” he said.


Tags: Small Business, Drone Photography



15/11/2018

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The 15-year-old beat over 127 other competitors of all ages from across the world to clinch the title as the four-day championship came to a close on Sunday.


Event organisers the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), also known as the World Air Sports Federation, said Browning will take home a US$24,000 ($33,350) winner's cheque, along with his gold medal.

Browning took out the final in front of more than 10,000 drone-mad fans at the Shenzhen Universiade Centre Stadium, according to Chinese state media agency Xinhua.

"I dreamed of this, and it is incredible that it has come true. I couldn't be happier," Browning said after his victory.

"I'm still shaking actually."


Australia also took out the team title, beating Sweden and South Korea who received silver and bronze medals respectively.


"I'm very proud of the boys," Australia's team manager David Crepaldi said.

Wanraya Wannapong, an 11-year-old racer from Thailand, took out the top women's prize at the event, competing against 13 other women.


"I loved this track a lot. I liked flying it at night, it was a lot of fun," she said after her win.

A racing drone from 2018 World Championships used in an attempt at the world record.


Susanne Schodel, secretary general of the FAI, said the championship was a resounding success and showcased the best that drone racing has to offer.


Drones have become extremely popular worldwide, with estimates that in Australia alone there are up to 150,000.


In a drone race, four pilots weave through gates and past obstacles.


Each pilot wears a pair of video goggles that are linked to the camera on board their drone, giving them a first-person view.


In this year's competition, pilots had to navigate a stunning 650-metre course designed in the shape of a Chinese knot.

At night, the course was lit up with 7,000 metres of LED lights, creating an exciting course to match the futuristic sport.


Shenzhen, the host of this year's championships, is home to drone super power DJI, which commands over 70 per cent of the worldwide drone market, according to drone industry research specialists Skylogic Research.


Alongside the racing, some pilots also attempted to crack the world record for speed over 100 metres.


Beating out 62 other pilots, Switzerland's Timothy Trowbridge hit an average speed of 114.2382 kilometres per hour to claim the record and the accompanying $US3,000 ($4,170) prize.


Tags: Drone Racing, Events



15/11/2018

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PrecisionHawk’s acquisition of Uplift Data Partners, its fifth in nine months, highlights the emerging consolidation of the drone industry as companies seek to build scale in a rapidly evolving market.


Uplift specializes in the delivery of turnkey inspection services for construction, building information management and real-estate. It has provided drone services for leading companies, including Amazon, Apple, Macy’s, CVS Pharmacy, Dollar General, and others. Uplift’s network of commercially trained drone pilots will join PrecisionHawk’s Droners.io’s network of more than 15,000 drone pilots, one of the largest in the industry.


The Uplift acquisition, announced Monday, comes less than a week after France’s Delair purchased key portions of Airware, including construction and mining specialist Redbird. Delair gained a proven software solution, an engineering team in Paris and an installed base of customers and dealers worldwide. It also gained a stronger position in construction and surveying.


PrecisionHawk and Delair are two of the largest commercial drone companies, and both are pursuing strategies that involve organic and acquisitive growth.


“There will be a few large market leaders,” Michael Chasen, PrecisionHawk CEO. In building market leadership, acquisitions are a critical element. Companies need to move quickly as the market evolves to build the scale them need. They need to take advantage of opportunities emerging opportunities that will enable them to provide a broader range of technologies and services to meet the needs of clients. For PrecisionHawk that means building a full solution provider that can support other companies’ hardware, develop and provide software, training pilots for other companies and provide inspection services.


As a co-founder and chief executive officer of Blackboard.com, Chasen has considerable experience in making acquisitions. He purchased some 30 companies before selling the business for $1.8 billion to private equity.


Scale is key,” stresses Benjamin Benharrosh, co-founder of Delair. “You need size to have a worldwide footprint.” Size is critical to provide research and development to stay at the forefront of technological development. It is also crucial to provide the full service that large companies need, he said. Delair’s vision of scale is slightly different with the company developing and manufacturing unmanned systems hardware and software. However, the company leaves its hardware to other companies to operate.


The market is at a stage where companies are beginning to realize that they need to get larger to develop further, according to Chasen and Benharrosh. For some companies that means selling to larger companies that will get them closer to the goals, they are seeking to reach. "A lot of companies have built up good markets and recognize the need to get to the next level,” Benharrosh said. As this realization has built up, some valuations of potential acquisitions have become much more reasonable.


PrecisionHawk and Delair attribute part of their success to being early movers in the field. PrecisionHawk and Delair were founded in 2010 and 2011 respectively. The companies have 150 and 180 employees respectively, making them two of the largest, if not the largest startups in commercial UAS. PrecisionHawk recently laid off some employees, but that stemmed from overlaps created by recent acquisitions. Neither company reveals financial results.


Both companies have a prestigious list of clients. Both have branched out from agriculture, a particularly tricky market segment, into more rapidly growing areas such as construction and energy. Both see more rapidly growing market opportunities in the United States than in Europe with liberalization by the Federal Aviation Administration of rules for flying drones commercially in 2016. That led Delair to open an office in San Francisco.


Both companies by developing hardware and moved into software. Since then they have diverged somewhat. PrecisionHawk got out of the manufacture of drones and instead relies on using DJI Innovations and Harris drones. Delair continues to develop and produce fixed-wing drones, which are not widely used by consumers and so better resist commoditization than multi-rotors.


The two companies are also diverging on the type of scale they see as critical to thrive in the industry and whether hardware and inspection services need to be part of that larger enterprise.


The extent to which they focus on international sales also differs. Delair derives three-quarters of its sales from outside the United States, with China, as well as the United States, offering rapidly growing opportunities. Airware does international work but finds the rapid growth and acceptance of new technology in the United States means it focuses heavily on the home market for now.


PrecisionHawk, which is the fourth-best-funded drone startup in the world with $104 million in investments, has made a series of acquisitions in 2018 to build its breath in offering services and depth to provide capabilities in a broader range of market niches. In February 2018, it purchased two professional drone operators networks—Droners.io and AirVid to support the delivery of on-demand, drone-based imagery to large clients. In September 2018, it followed those acquisitions with the purchase of Hazon, Inc. and InspecTools Inc. Hazon is a leader in providing drone flight operations and inspection services to the energy industry. InspecTools develops high-fidelity machine vision software and data analysis tools built for solar panel and wind turbine inspection.


Delair has focused more on organic growth than acquisitions, but still purchased Belgium-based Gatewing, an unmanned aerial systems manufacturer based in Belgium, from Trimble in 2016. That acquisition gave the company a strong foothold in the construction and surveying market, its leading market segment now. Delair current work includes fixed-wing drones, cloud-based data processing and analysis, local customer support and custom consulting services.


Delair is focusing on integrating Redbird, but it is open to opportunistic acquisitions, said Benharrosh. It is seeking to build up its work in areas such as utilities, oil and gas, and agriculture.


PrecisionHawk continues to be acquisitive, with a particular interest in companies that will further its strength in energy, construction and agriculture, according to Chassen.

Tags: PrecisionHawk, Drone Industry



09/11/2018

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THE DESERT STAR

DEBRA & RICHARD HOVEL

ARCHITECT: HOWARD LAPHAM


“We love nothing more than being together, launching crazy projects, and making our dreams come true,” says Debra Hovel, one half of the highly creative power couple that lives in and manages this Class 1 Historic property completed by a local designer and developer in 1956. Howard Lapham built the Desert Star as a vacation rental, and the six poolside units adjacent to the Hovels’ home still function as such.


Before relocating full time in 2010 to Palm Springs from Minnesota, the Hovels built a successful retail and trend-research design company. These self-described soulmates are makers (Debra handcrafts shoes, and Richard is a multimedia artist), collaborators (they present together as part of the “think and drink” Mod With a Twist events during Modernism Week), and the ultimate dinner–party hosts.


“We entertain friends and ‘chosen family’ weekly, as we strive to invite as many people into our home as possible,” Debra says. “We feel it is a privilege to live in this very special place, and it makes us happy to share it.”


Guests often ask them what it’s like to “live in a fishbowl” surrounded by glass walls. “We laugh and tell them we love the whole concept of outside-inside living,” Debra says. The Hovels also appreciate the modular design of the home’s spaces. They regularly move art around, eliminate excess to reduce stress, and live by phrases that include: form follows function, less is more, and simple is good.


“There are no extra, unused rooms. No waste,” Debra notes. “The home seems human-scaled and completely appropriate. It is a good and true reflection of our lives.”

The Hidden Frey

THE HIDDEN FREY

GRETA & BRIAN HEADMAN

ARCHITECT: ALBERT FREY


An active lifestyle takes on new meaning when your vacation home has a tennis court. Yet Greta and Brian had plenty of interests before purchasing their sporty pad this summer. Greta is an avid yogi and trained yoga instructor; sailor Brian keeps a racing sloop in Marina Del Rey. These foodies are also spoiled by Greta’s cooking, care of ingredients from their Topanga Canyon home garden. “We both work full time, but we travel as much as possible to keep a balance,” Brian says. “We recently returned from a whirlwind week in Edinburgh, Scotland, for the Fringe Festival and saw more than 35 theater, dance, and comedy performances in eight days.”


Now, to hit the court. “Greta grew up playing, and I have played for years, though she is admittedly the better player — for now,” Brian smiles. “A bit of friendly household competition is healthy.”


An excuse to dust off their rackets wasn’t the only attraction to the home constructed in 1966 for W.I. Hollingsworth, a prominent L.A. developer. Referred to in architectural texts as the Hollingsworth Tennis Estate, it was restored by Thomboy Properties and unveiled during Modernism Week 2018.


“As the story is told, Hollingsworth was an avid tennis player but hated waiting for court time at the Palm Springs Racquet Club, so he bought an adjoining lot to build his own private tennis estate,” Brian explains. “Charlie Farrell, the club’s owner, caught wind of the plan and objected to City Hall, claiming the tennis court and its chain-link fence would be unsightly next to his club. Ever resolute, Hollingsworth excavated the entire lot and hired architect Albert Frey to design the house, pool, and tennis court below street level, entirely hidden from view. Frey was also designing the Schiff Residence at the Racquet Club, so there was a bit of one-upmanship at play.”


Brian says they like to imagine all the glamorous people who may have played tennis and enjoyed poolside cocktails here during the Racquet Club’s heyday. Believing their home is meant to be shared, the couple has made it available to rent when they are off sailing or seeing the world.

Villa Sierra


VILLA SIERRA

BLAKE & SEAN ROGERS

ARCHITECT: UNKNOWN


When Blake and Sean Rogers aren’t powering down in Palm Springs, they’re running on full batteries in L.A. The two are passionately involved in the music industry by way of the famous EastWest recording studio in Hollywood and also own a software company.


By the time they escape to the desert, they’ve earned every bit of pool, privacy, views, and lifestyle — their reasons for choosing the home. “This house offers relaxation that is really hard to find anywhere else in Southern California,” Sean says. “You can shut off the outside world and just enjoy a private escape. And if you want it, you are close enough to the restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.”


When the temps are reasonable, the pair spend most of their time outside, whether taking an early morning swim, lounging in the cabana with their favorite drinks from Koffi, sitting by the fire at night sipping a bold red wine, or watching a movie in the outdoor theater. They even tied the knot on-site.


“We always knew we wanted to get married in Palm Springs. But after an exhaustive search for a wedding venue, we couldn’t find a place we liked more than our very own house!” Sean laughs. “It’s large enough to have our whole family visit at the same time without ever feeling crowded. While some are having drinks and playing pool at the indoor bar, others can be cooking a big meal together in the chef’s kitchen.”


Though the gentlemen don’t know who built it, the home has virally become one of the most well-known examples of midcentury chic in town.


“Our front door is big and pink and became a social media star on Instagram a few years ago, which is a bit crazy,” Sean says. The house is also a vacation rental for those who need an up-close experience. “We love 

that people love it, but we do ask that they respect our privacy and the privacy of our guests and neighbors.”

Leonard- Hamma Residence


LEONARD-HAMMA RESIDENCE

MARK LEONARD & KEN HAMMA

ARCHITECT: LANCE O’DONNELL


Buying land and building your retirement home on it has distinct advantages. Mark Leonard and Ken Hamma signed off on everything they love about their place, right down to the angled edge of the pool. “In the summer months, the pool and spa are in frequent use, either as a quick way to cool off or as a good place to nap,” Leonard notes.


He and Hamma moved to Palm Springs full time in 2017 after retiring from careers in the museum world of Los Angeles. Leonard was the head of the Paintings Conservation Department at the Getty Museum, and Hamma, who trained originally as a classical archaeologist, retired from the Getty Trust as executive director of digital policy and initiatives, then spent 10 years in independent consulting.


After Leonard was invited to consult on a conservation project at the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2014, he and Hamma returned home as landowners. The couple was happy to let local architect Lance O’Donnell lead the design and build, with construction completed in late 2017.


“Lance not only created a house that resonates with the environment and exploits the location and spectacular views, but a home that provides constant visual stimulation and comfort,” Leonard says. “The thoughtful overall design and architectural details throughout the home echo Palm Springs’ rich architectural history.” O’Donnell even factored into his design a light-filled artist studio where Leonard paints daily.


“The house turns its concrete-block back to the street and shelters the interior courtyard and pool, where all rooms have walls of glass,” Leonard says. “This allows us to move, both physically and visually, between the indoor and outdoor areas throughout the day and night.”

Family Retreat


SCHNABEL FAMILY RETREAT

KATHRYN & KORT SCHNABEL

ARCHITECT: SEAN LOCKYER


Growing up at his grandparents’ vacation house in Cape Cod, Kort Schnabel envisioned one day having a place where his own family could make long-lasting memories. “Multiple generations of family always gathered there. There was a wealth of different activities to engage in together, and life lessons were shared among all,” Kort recalls. Those East Coast summers inspired the Schnabels’ Little Tuscany compound where Kort, wife Kathryn, and kids Erin (13), Michael (11), and Daniel (7) spend weekends and holidays, with their yellow Labrador, Gus, in tow.


“He absolutely loves the pool and would live in Palm Springs full time if he could,” Kort shares. “We invite our guests to bring their dogs as well.” Family and friends are part of the home’s fabric. It was designed for entertaining, now and for generations to come. Rare is the afternoon when the six Schnabels have the place to themselves.


“The kids really use all of the property,” Kort notes. “They typically end up off in the boulders, playing all sorts of creative games and finding various hiding spots, while the adults sit by the pool or relax in the living room.”


It’s no surprise the active family, who plays sports, loves being outdoors, and travels often, chose this site to build their home away from Los Angeles, where Kort works at a private equity firm.


“From the moment we stumbled on these two adjacent lots, we couldn’t stop talking about them,” Kort says. “The vision began taking shape, and it was impossible to turn it off.” Neighbor J.R. Roberts referred the couple to architect Sean Lockyer, and the match was immediate.


Lockyer also served as general and landscape designer of the project that integrates with nature, offering 360-degree views. Kort and Kathryn were highly involved in decision making and idea generation, although the form and aesthetic beauty were fully created and executed by Lockyer. Since the home’s completion in October 2015, the family has kept busy making those Cape Cod–style memories.


Tags: Aerial Photography, Architecture



09/11/2018

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