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Industry News

Buy a drone air force for less than £30k - you’ll also need some Bacofoil

The Royal Air Force has celebrated its formation in 1918 with a series of superb displays and parades that show off their professionalism, panache and pride and demonstrate their global status as a leader in air and space power. The RAF’s creation lies in part with the threat posed by the manned Zeppelin raids on the UK mainland of World War One. The last attack off Great Yarmouth was unintentionally marked a hundred years ago to the day, by the drone attack wreaking a similar terror from the skies on the President of Venezuela. For air forces around the world and their political masters, there is now a new kid on the urban block. The £30K air force is available now with minimal running costs, no infrastructure requirements and comes pre-loaded with the mother of all irony bombs; soon it could be delivered to you straight from the warehouse, by drone.   So, the new kid on and above the block is an illegally modified drone. However, they have been around for decades,... Read More »


Taking Flight: The Future of Drones in the UK

The measures in the consultation are part our wider drones programme and strategy and will help shape the content of a draft Drones Bill which will be published later this year, as well as other future measures. The measures under consultation include:   • Proposals for regulating and mandating the use of ‘apps’ on which pilots would file flight plans ahead of take-off • Additional powers for the police to enforce the law • Using new counter-drone technology to protect public events and critical national infrastructure, and stop contraband from reaching prisons • Introducing minimum age restrictions for drone owners in addition to the new tests they will need to take • Whether the 1km restriction around aerodromes, introduced as an amendment to the Air Navigation Order in May this year, is sufficient. The consultation will run until 17 September 2018 and they're keen to engage with as wide a group as possible. Please... Read More »


Drones Are Increasingly Being Used To Help Save Lives

Drone Major supplier, DJI, is on a mission to follow how many times drones save lives. DJI said that last week "marked a new milestone in public safety drone use". Drones were used to rescue four people in three separate incidents on two continents in one day. “This brings the total number of people rescued from peril by drones around the world to at least 133,” says DJI, as there are now countless incidents in which drones are used in law enforcement, firefighting and rescue operations to assist in saving lives. Last Thursday, police and fire departments recorded three rescues: Police in the UK used a drone with a thermal imaging camera to find a missing semiconscious man at the edge of a steep Exmouth cliff face. Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police posted a video of the rescue here: https://twitter.com/PoliceDrones/status/1004368785346912256 An Indiana fire department dropped a life vest to a criminal suspect who ha... Read More »


AMENDMENT TO THE UK AIR NAVIGATION ORDER 2016 – 30TH MAY 2018

Tomorrow morning the Department for Transport (DFT) will be laying an amendment to the Air Navigation Order 2016 in Parliament. Following the government’s consultation last year, this will put into law the requirements for: 1. operators of drones above 250g to be registered 2. pilots flying these drones (known as ‘remote pilots’) to obtain an acknowledgement of competency from the CAA, having passed requirements set by the CAA such as an online safety test to prove their knowledge of the restrictions 3. a height limit of 400ft for all drone flights 4. a restriction from flying drones within 1km of protected aerodromes in the UK, unless you have the permission of the Air Traffic Control unit in question. Measures 1 & 2 will not come into force until 30th November 2019 to give drone users time to adjust to this change and allow the Civil Aviation Authority to complete their work on the systems and educational materials required to implement these poli... Read More »


Thousands of manufacturing and building drones could boost GDP by £8.6bn

Thousands of drones could fill the skies above building sites and factories over the coming decade, boosting the UK's GDP by £8.6bn. The construction and manufacturing sector could save up to £3.5bn from widespread introduction of the machines, a report from accountants PwC found. Throughout the whole economy, Skies Without Limits forecast a £42bn GDP increase by 2030, with more than 76,000 operator-controlled drones taking off. The most common applications in construction and manufacturing will be monitoring and surveying building sites, infrastructure maintenance and stock-taking, the report predicted. Companies already commonly use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as cheap and efficient tools for tracking construction progress and checking wear and tear on installations such as wind turbines. Andrew Watts from building engineering firm Newtecnic also previously told Professional Engineering that drones will physically interact m... Read More »


UK MoD Successfully Trials Unmanned Minesweeper

Following a period of successful trials, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a new unmanned minesweeper which could go on to be used by the Royal Navy in the future to defeat the threat of modern digital mines. The first of its kind for UK forces, it comprises an 11m long, 10-tonne unmanned surface vessel (USV) that tows three boats behind it. The boats emit signals that can detonate a variety of mines, including a new breed of digital mine that can detect and target passing ships above. According to the MoD, the vessel features 'sense and avoid' capability and is designed to operate alongside other autonomous systems for the common goal of making UK waters safe. Operated either from a ship or a portable control cabin, the minesweeper has been undergoing trials for the past four months. As well as the overall system performance, it was graded on how well it could clear mines and how successfully it could avoid obstacles. Read more Read More »


Underwater Drones used for Search & Rescue and Surveillance in India

Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious gatherings on earth. It is a mass Hindu pilgrimage on the banks of Ganga of faith where Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. In preparation for the event, local police are planning on using underwater drones at the fair in 2019 for the first time for surveillance and rescue operations. Hundreds of thousands of people will be bathing daily in the river so Visual and SONAR (Sound Navigation & Ranging) sensors would be utilised by the police to ensure visibility up to 300 meters underwater, maintaining a close watch on river banks and deep water, and ensuring safety and security of pilgrims and preventing them from drowning. It also helps with inspection of any underwater structures. Furthermore, the drone will help the police with underwater inspections and maintenance & repair operations, exploring areas which are not accessible by divers, for example, areas with low visibility. The pilgrimage will be held on the b... Read More »


Drone Major: Counter Drone Technology

Drones will inevitably occupy our skies in the future, but how will we defend against them? In an ever-expanding market there becomes an increased threat from the misuse of technology. There is now an increased need for counter drone systems for a number of reasons, asset protection, anti-terrorism and privacy to name a few. Avoid near misses and collision by protecting airspace at airports Protect large gatherings of people at events Prevent illegal deliveries of drugs, phones and weapons at prisons Stop surveillance and damage to critical infrastructure Counter drone technology is now an expanding market within the drone industry and this document intends to outline the basic differences to enable buyers to source suitable systems that meet their requirements. Detectors Radar The word RADAR is an acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging, and in its simplest form, it consists of a transmitted radio signal aimed by an antenna in a particular direction, an... Read More »


Over 100 MILLION reasons to join Drone Major

We are delighted to announce that, since our launch on 27th Sept 2017, Drone Major has offered over £100 million of opportunities to our suppliers and we are receiving requests now which will push this figure well towards £200 million by end Q2. Drone Major was created specifically to connect all stakeholders in all environments of the global drone industry (Surface, Underwater, Air & Space) in order to support the growth of the most exciting emerging market mankind has ever witnessed. We achieve this by facilitating collaboration, assisting our suppliers to place their products and services with each other and by generating business through our drone technology advisory team who are helping with companies and governments around the globe implement drone solutions for FREE! We could not be happier with the results and the reaction to the Drone Major concept. If you are a manufacturer, distributor, inventor, service provider, operator or other business operating... Read More »


12 things to look for when buying a drone this Christmas

So, if you are planning to buy a drone for a loved one (or yourself) this Christmas, here are a few things you need to consider first:   1. What will they want to use it for? If you say the word ‘drone’ to some people, it instantly conjures up images of incredible aerial photos. Others may see racing potential. Consider how the person you are buying for would use the drone. Most drones fit into two categories: large camera-bearing drones and small, light drones built for speed or indoor flying. There are a few drones that purport to do both. However, it’s worth checking the megapixels on any inbuilt cameras. Some less expensive units may leave you wanting more from your aerial shots.   2. Who are you buying for? Are you buying for an adult or a child? Is it their first drone? If you’re buying for a child, check out reviews to ensure that the drone you are considering is sufficiently robust. Consider where they will fly thei... Read More »


How Spiderman is helping scientists extend drone flight time

Flight time is one of the biggest limitations on drone usability that we face. However, teams at Imperial College London’s Aerial Robotics Labs are working on a solution. They’ve developed a drone that can shoot synthetic web-like material out to nearby walls to act as an anchor. If you’re thinking Peter Parker, you’re on the right lines. The modified drone shoots out this material using compressed gas. Once anchored, drones can reduce the amount of energy they use to stay in the air. The drone, a modified DJI Matrice 100, can be fitted with one of two different modules; one for stabilising and one for perching. Then, once it has located a magnetic surface to perch beneath, it launches an anchor using a launcher and a spooling system packed with polystyrene thread. SpiderMAV then reels in the thread to make it taut. Fully anchored, the SpiderMAV can slow or shut off its motors to save power. The stabilisation module enables threads to... Read More »


Do robots or humans make better drone pilots?

This was a question that was vexing researchers from NASA two years ago. After 24 months of hard work, culminating in a head-to-head challenge on one of the toughest courses imaginable, they may finally be close to an answer. The challenge saw world-class drone pilot Kevin Loo take on an AI-powered drone to see who was faster and more accurate over a set period of time. Loo averaged 11.1 seconds for the dense circuit designed by NASA researchers, whilst the autonomous drone was a whole 2.8 seconds slower, completing the loop in 13.9 seconds. However, when the performances of both drones were analysed, the robot drone maintained a more consistent speed and a more accurate course. Over the 2 years, NASA researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, developed 3 AI drones: Batman, Joker and Nightwing, funded by Google. Read More »


12 ways your world will be changed by drones

‘The world is on the brink of a technological revolution’ Last week Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the Government’s intention to embrace the technological revolution. The Autumn Budget held promises to overhaul regulatory frameworks to enable safe testing of driverless vehicles. These changes are essential if the Government is to meet its target of getting self-driving cars on UK roads by 2021. Whether we like it or not, drone technology is transforming our world. Gartner reported a 65% increase in drone sales in 2016, and with a further 39% increase this year, there’s no sign of any let-up. Featured on Geoconnexion.com, Drone Major Founder, Robert Garbett, says: “The sky above us is an untapped sea of air, which will have incredible value as the drone industry expands its operations into the future.  As data is the new oil, airspace will be the new gold.” He explains how “developments in... Read More »


How drones are making surfing safer

Since the year 2000, 15 people have been killed by sharks off the West Coast of Australia, and many more surfers and swimmers have been injured. However, it’s possible that drone technology means that’s about to change. This autumn has seen the rollout of Shark Spotter ©. Shark Spotter © uses battery-powered drones to identify sharks up to a depth of 30 feet below water. Live video feed is sent back to the drone operator who, using identification software, is able to identify the sharks in real time. The software uses a sophisticated Deep Learning Framework (artificial intelligence) for shark detection and recognition. The system’s algorithm is dependent on information collated from videos of sharks available publicly to help it ‘learn’ to differentiate sharks from other marine animals, surfers and swimmers. The use of identification software increases the accuracy of shark identification in real time, enabling operators to identif... Read More »


Is it a drone or is it an RPA? What’s really in a name?

The benefits of using drones are being recognised universally. The White House’s recent announcement of the UAS Integration Pilot Programme is just one example. They can improve safety in dangerous jobs, save lives in rescue missions, improve marketing, and provide a source of entertainment and challenge for hobbyists. But with such a diverse range of uses, can we justify using a broad-brush, catch-all name for this technology? The main problem many drone users appear to have with the term “drone” is that it is often associated with the early militaristic use of drones. This aversion seems to be inspiring references to UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircrafts), to name a few. Why are we trying so hard to avoid the D word? But, as it seems that all of these terms are interchangeable, why are we trying so hard to avoid the D word? Drones used to be equated with military technology but times have chan... Read More »


Is DJI’s drone ‘license plate’ reader bringing new levels of control to the industry?

Striking a balance between controlling and monitoring drone usage and not stifling an industry that has so much potential is a tricky one. Airspace in and around airports and cities needs to be monitored. But monitoring the movement of all drones isn’t a practical consideration. DJI believe they may have found a solution. AeroScope, unveiled by the leading drone manufacturer last week, makes critical information on a drone and its operator accessible to authorities, as and when a drone moves into the region of a prison, airport or other restricted airspace. AeroScope will be usable with DJI’s existing drones, extracting information from the radio transmissions between the drone and its remote controller. It then reveals key information such as the location of the person operating the drone, where the drone took off from, its speed, direction and altitude, to law enforcement authorities. In relation to the demo of this ground-breaking new technology, the company&... Read More »


DJI Phantom responsible for revolutionary Blue Planet II footage

If you’re one of the 10.3 million people watching Blue Planet II, you’ll have seen the drone footage everyone is talking about. Captivating aerial footage of sea lions hunting yellowfin tuna in the Galapagos, by forcing them into coves, has uncovered previously undocumented sea lion hunting behaviours. Just two weeks into the airing of the long-awaited Blue Planet II, the series has already earned itself a reputation for challenging the traditional concept of video footage. The series uses the latest technology to uncover what is really happening in our underwater world. Using DJI Inspire and Phantom drones, Dan Beecham and the team of cameramen for Blue Planet II were able to capture footage of this highly evolved hunting technique – a feat that previously would only have been possible using a helicopter and Cineflex. In his blog, Cameraman Dan Beecham says that “Drones have revolutionised aerial filming in natural history documentaries (as well as in... Read More »


The UAS Integration Pilot Programme: What is it and what does it mean for the drone industry?

The drone industry is brimming with opportunity. But whilst we wait for regulations to reflect the technological progress being made in the UAS industry, how do we make the most of these opportunities? Whilst governments around the world are wrangling this very problem, the USA has taken its first step on the road to understanding the potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems by launching the UAS Integration Pilot Programme. What is the UAS Integration Pilot Programme? The programme is designed to support business initiatives that push the boundaries of existing recognised practices around the safe flight of unmanned aircraft systems. The programme enables state, local, and tribal governments to partner with private sector organisations, such as UAS operators and manufacturers, to apply to trial a product or service initiative that uses unmanned aircraft systems safely. Entities wishing to take part in advanced operations - such as drone flying out of the line of sight, and... Read More »


1.5 Million Reasons to Look at Drone Major

We are delighted to announce that, since our launch on 27th Sept 2017, Drone Major has offered over £1.5 million of business to our members and we are receiving requests now which will push this figure into the 10's of millions by year-end. Drone Major was created specifically to connect all stakeholders in in all environments of the global drone industry (Surface, Underwater, Air & Space) together in order to support the growth of the most exciting emerging market mankind has ever witnessed. We do this by facilitating collaboration, assisting our members to place their products and services with each other and by generating business through our drone technology advisory service. Well, I am very pleased to announce that it is working even better than we dreamed it would! If you are a manufacturer, producer, distributor, inventor, service provider, financier or other business operating in any area of the drone industry (Surface, Underwater, Air or Space), there ar... Read More »


DJI and SkyPixel launch 2017 drone photography competition

Drones are opening up a whole new type of photography, and DJI is celebrating this by launching their 2017 photo competition in collaboration with SkyPixel, giving you the chance to win prize packages worth up to $90,000! To be in with a chance of winning, you have to submit your best drone images in one of the three classifications; Landscape, Portrait and Story. Submissions in each of these categories must have been taken in 2017. Entry submission will close on the 29th December at 1.59pm CST (China Standard Time), which is 5.59am GMT. So if you haven’t yet snapped that perfect shot, there’s still time. If you’re after an upgrade, check out our aerial imaging platforms, and if you need some help finding the right one for you, why don’t you give us a call or chat with us online and our team of drone experts will point you in the right direction. Landscape and portrait submissions must be single image submissions, captured on an aerial platform, of... Read More »