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If You Fly, We Can’t: New Information Sharing Initiative Aims to Stop Drone Incursions over Wildland Fires

Many of us drones for good fans know that UAVs can help fire fighters by providing information for a fire that’s hard to see due to smoke or other factors, or by using aerial thermography to understand where a fire might still be smoldering.

But it turns out drones have actually been hindering many large wildland fire fighting operations.

fire-fighting-aviation

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In response, the U.S. Department of the Interior recently launched a data sharing program called “Current Wildland Fires” with the goal of keeping private UAV operators from flying over ongoing wildland fire operations.

We hadn’t heard about drones creating problems for fire fighters until we learned of this new data sharing program.

But it turns out that drones encroaching into ongoing firefighting operations is a growing concern. From 2014 to 2015 the number of unauthorized UAVs flying over or near wildfires grew from two to 25, and then jumped up to 42 in 2016.

Several times, when drones were present near wildfires that were being actively fought by various agencies, fire suppression aviators (like the one pictured above) had to take evasive action to avoid crashing into a UAV.

Twelve of these drone encounters forced fire fighters to stop aerial support altogether until the drone vacated the area, putting other firefighters’ lives on the line and placing the surrounding communities in danger for a longer period of time.

About the Current Wildland Fires Program

In some respects, this problem isn’t surprising.

As the number of drones in the U.S. grows, we can expect to see more drones in the sky. Unfortunately, this also means more drones potentially posing a nuisance, or even a real threat, to other aviators (not to mention the people on the ground those aviators may be trying to help).

One of the great things about the Interior’s Current Wildland Fires Program is that, by providing information on where fires are happening in real time, it hands drone operators a tool to help them fly more responsibly.

“By providing greater public access to a wider array of wildland fire location data, drone operators will Know Where Not To Go in near real-time.”

– Mark Bathrick, Director of Aviation Services, U.S. Department of the Interior

According to the Interior more than 73,000 wildfires are reported across the United States each year.

About 98% of them are contained within the first 24 hours, before incident managers ask the FAA to issue a Temporary Flight Restriction. This means that most fires were never plotted on dynamic aeronautical maps, and therefore were never made known to drone operators before the Interior launched its 2016 initiative to share fire location data with commercial mapping services that support drone operations.

When it comes to sharing data to increase safety, that is a monumental achievement.

The 2017 program expands on the 2016 program, providing location data on any wildland fire reported in the last eight days, which makes it more robust than the previous year, when reports only included information from the previous 72 hours.

It’s not surprising that the program aims to educate UAV operators, since it was spearheaded by Mark Bathrick (quoted above), who oversees a fleet of over 200 drones as the Director of Aviation Services for the U.S. Department of the Interior. Check out the Interior’s Office of Aviation Services to learn more about all of the ways they are using UAVs, from fighting fires to helping with geological and other surveys, and more.

(By the way, if Mark’s name is familiar, it’s because he gave an impressive keynote at the Commercial UAV Expo last year called “What It Takes to Succeed in Drones: The Four Key Competencies.”)

How Can You Help?

Easy. Make sure you’re aware of fires in your area before you fly, and don’t fly near them.

To use the Current Wildlife Fires program, drone operators can create an account on the GeoPlatform ArcGIS Online Organization at https://idp.geoplatform.gov/registeruser.html.

After your account is created go to https://geoplatform.maps.arcgis.com/home/index.html and sign in using the GeoPlatform.gov account, then search for the group “Current Wildland Fires” and request to “Join this group” to gain access to wildland fire location data.

We created an account to play around with the map, and found it really easy to use. Here are some screenshots we took:

wildland-fires-map

wildland-fires

Given that we’re in the height of summer, there are a lot of wildfires burning right now.

Check out this article that USA Today published yesterday covering 27 wildfires burning across the west right now, and then use the Current Wildland Fires map to avoid flying in those locations (and others!) where fires are happening.

According to the article there are 8,400 fire fighters working around the clock right now to keep all of these fires from spreading. Let’s do what we can to help them out.

The post If You Fly, We Can’t: New Information Sharing Initiative Aims to Stop Drone Incursions over Wildland Fires appeared first on UAV Coach.

The State of Drone Regulations: How to Build a Real Estate Marketing Business that Includes Drones

Last week we co-hosted a record breaking webinar with Real Tour Vision on the state of drone regulations and real estate marketing. We had over 600 people sign up and about 300 attend, indicating a huge amount of interest in drone regulations and in learning more about how to grow a real estate marketing business that includes drone services.

In case you missed the webinar, you can watch a recording here.

real-estate-marketing

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Leading up to the webinar we wrote about the last year in drone regulations, and what we can expect to see in the future.

This final article in our three part series will answer questions that came up during the webinar. Many of you asked about what it takes to build a real estate marketing business that includes drone services, from marketing to pricing to building out the skill sets required, so that is the focus for this post.

Since Jay Stringham and Jason LaVenture of Real Tour Vision are the experts when it comes to real estate marketing, we’re going to let them take away.

Check out this awesome, in-depth video Jason shot to answer all of your questions (I’ve listed out the highlights below the video, with links so you can skip to the sections of most interest to you):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpPH3_j-Plc&feature=youtu.be

Skip around in the video to find answers to your questions

Even More Pricing Advice

Jay Stringham also wrote up some advice to address pricing, which lays out a concrete process you can follow for deciding how much to charge per job.

We’d recommend paying close attention to the last sentence in what Jay wrote—sometimes less work can lead to more money if you’re confident in your worth, and decide not to haggle with those who don’t want to pay for quality work.

Here’s Jay’s advice:

First you want to figure out what your costs of doing business are, including reasonable gear purchases, marketing budget, etc. That can be done weekly or monthly, but in the end you will want to multiply it out so you have a ball park on the year. Then you want to come up with a reasonable idea of what you would like to make in a year. Add those two numbers together.

Determine how many days you can realistically work in a given week. Divide the total of expenses plus preferred salary by the number of days you want to work in a year, taking into consideration holidays, vacations etc.. 

That will determine how much you will need to make on a daily basis. Then you will want to take the amount of daily income you will require to meet your expenses and salary and divide by a realistic number of jobs you can complete in a given day. You will now have an idea of what you will need to charge per shoot to meet your needs.

You will want to determine if that number is realistic given the market, and adjust expenses and salary accordingly. There will inevitably be people who will want to try to talk you down in price, but you will have a very reasonable argument to present to them on why you charge what you do, and convince them that the service you are offering is worth it.

Be aware of what your competition is charging and what their quality is, so you can present facts to as to why a potential client should hire you over your competition. At the end of the day, the potential clients who refuse to pay reasonable prices are often the most difficult to work with. You may find yourself in a situation where you are able to make the same amount of money or more doing less work and dealing with less hassles by eliminating clients who try to lowball your services.

Still have unanswered questions? Email them to us at support[at]uavcoach[dot]com, or post them on our Facebook page.

The post The State of Drone Regulations: How to Build a Real Estate Marketing Business that Includes Drones appeared first on UAV Coach.

DJI’s Geo-Fencing and the Russian Company that Helps You Avoid It

DJI’s geo-fencing firmware GEO (Geospatial Environment Online) has been around for some time, and it generally works. If you try to take off in restricted airspace your UAV will stay on the ground, and if you try to fly into restricted airspace, your drone will freeze and hover right at the border.

Which is a good thing, in theory. We certainly don’t want drones flying near airplanes or in controlled airspace.

But in application there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out.

We heard recently from a UAV pilot in Florida who’s having trouble flying his Mavic within permitted airspace due to an apparent glitch in a recent update to GEO.

We’ll let him tell his story:

I live in Starke, Florida. About 10 miles from my house is Camp Blanding (an Air Force and National Guard Training facility). Of course, flying around the base is a “no-no”, which is to be expected.

However, I live roughly 10 miles away and I have never had a problem with flying my DJI Phantom 4 or Mavic Pro until this last DJI update for their geo-fencing firmware. My whole city is now in a NFZ!

The FAA’s B4UFly app below shows that I am “good-to-go” with flying in Starke.

geo-fencing

And here is the screen capture from my Mavic Pro of DJI’s new geo-fencing with the NFZ being in RED.

At the very top, below the “ATTI” graphic, is Jacksonville’s International Airport (JAX) and it’s correctly identified as an NFZ area. Almost directly south of JAX airport on the river is one of the military bases in Jacksonville. The HUGE Red NFZ in the bottom left side is my small town of Starke.

geo-fencing-dji

With DJI’s latest firmware update, I have now lost all of my ability to fly commercially for local car dealerships and other business that want my services.

Below, the red triangle with the purple circle is my house. I’m roughly 3/10ths of a mile from being out of this over-reaching NFZ.

dji-geo-fencing

Is there ANYTHING I can do to have DJI change this crazy NFZ since the FAA themselves say that’s it’s okay to fly in my city and at my house?

What Do You Do When the Technology Is Wrong?

We could write an entire article on the nuances of the airspace in question (for those who are interested, this specific situation was hashed out to an impressive level of detail in a recent thread in our community forum), but suffice to say that this pilot should be allowed to fly around Starke, but can’t due to flawed information in DJI’s GEO firmware update.

So where do you go from here?

For a commercial operator building a local business, this kind of error could be devastating. Your fledgling customer base could fade away into nothing while you wait for the technology to be corrected.

So, since waiting isn’t an option, you’re left with either choosing to buy a new drone from a different company that doesn’t have this problem (which could be cost prohibitive), and hoping they don’t implement similarly flawed geo-fencing, or turning to some kind of black hat solution. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, essentially.

Enter the Russian company named, ironically in our opinion, Coptersafe.

Coptersafe provides software created specifically for DJI drones that allows pilots to “jailbreak” their drones, and trick their GPS into thinking they are flying in approved airspace when they are in fact in an NFZ. It also allows allows drones to fly higher than the 500 meter height limit, and to fly faster than currently permitted by DJI.

dji mavic

One rather big limitation to Coptersafe’s software solution is that it only works until DJI releases another update (which are almost impossible to pass up, at this point).

We should be clear here. We aren’t suggesting that pilots should use Coptersafe’s services. In fact, we feel strongly that you shouldn’t. Software like this could allow less responsible pilots—or those with malicious intent—to fly in or near airports, which could put people at risk of real harm.

And more generally, using shortcuts like the one provided by Coptersafe bypasses the larger, harder task of finding a way forward that actually works for everyone, keeps people safe, and provides a stable foundation for the drone industry to grow.

If UAV pilots are seen as rogue agents who take the law into their own hands when it suits them, it will be that much harder to convince people that drones can actually be used for good. That is not something we need, especially at a time where there is so much uncertainty about the regulatory future of the industry.

But what can you do? Waiting for change, buying a new drone, or installing shady Russian software are all terrible options.

We suggest you flood DJI with calls, emails, and messages on social media letting them know that this is a really big deal. That’s a good starting place. Also, chime in on our forum thread with ideas or even just to find people going through similar experiences.

The frustration is real, but together we should be able to move forward.

 

 

 

 

The post DJI’s Geo-Fencing and the Russian Company that Helps You Avoid It appeared first on UAV Coach.

Meet Elios, Flyability’s Newest Drone Designed to Crash and Keep Going

While DJI has sensors in its drones to help them avoid collisions, Flyability’s Elios drone was designed to crash and keep on going.

And its design reflects this fact:

elios-drone

But why would you ever need a drone that can crash and keep going, you might ask?

Because certain tight spaces—like boiler rooms, or the site of a nuclear reactor after a grave catastrophe—may be packed full of rubble and rife with unpredictable conditions, making collisions unavoidable, and also making the need for a remote view crucial to keeping people from harm.

Switzerland-based Flyability’s drones have showed so much promise as a way to keep people from harm that they won the UAE Drones for Good prize in 2015, which, along with the prestige, comes with $1 million dollars in cash.

Read on to learn about their journey, and how they became the first company to create a drone that can crash without being forced to the ground.

The Flyability Origin Story

The tsunami that hit the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 is what first led to Flyability’s co-founders imagining a drone that could explore dangerous, unknown spaces instead of humans (or faulty robots that weren’t up to the job).

Flyability co-founders Adrien Briod and Patrick Thévoz were students at the time of the tsunami, studying robotics.

As they watched the coverage of the nuclear disaster, they saw land-based robots attempt to roll into the site to gather information, but they continued to get stuck and crash.

They thought that there had to be a better way to use robots in disaster scenarios, where information was desperately needed about the condition of hard-to-reach, dangerous places.

Adrien began his PhD thesis around the idea that there must be a way to create a robot to address these scenarios. The result, several years later, was the Elios, the drone that can crash and keep on flying.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s96Q2GXgoeE

How Flies Informed the Creation of Elios

After deciding to create a drone that could do the dirty work of inspecting tight, dangerous places, it took several years of experimenting and tinkering to find a design that actually worked.

Initially Flyability designers considered creating a drone that could avoid collisions altogether, which would use sensor technology similar to what we see on current mainstream consumer drones.

However, after testing and research, it became clear that collisions would be impossible to avoid in the kinds of scenarios for which these drones were being made.

So if collisions were unavoidable, how could a drone be created that would be collision tolerant? It would mean finding some way for a drone to crash without the props being hit or affected—a tall order, which would require some creative thinking.

Flyability’s research took them down an unlikely but promising path. It turns out that insects are really good at tolerating collisions (they’re also good at avoiding them, but in case they do happen, they’re built to survive).

A fly, for instance, can hit a glass window and still find its way back to a stable position in the air without crashing to the ground.

fly-flyability-elios

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To mimic a fly’s collision-tolerant design, the Flyability team first experimented with adding a fixed cage to the drone to protect it. This didn’t work— when the drone hits a wall with a fixed cage attached, the drone tilts forward, flipping over from the force of the collision. This points the propellers straight down, shooting the drone crashing into the ground.

To be crash tolerant the drone needed to have a way to absorb force within the cage, which wouldn’t impact the drone itself. Somehow the cage had to be detached from the drone.

The solution ended up being a completely decoupled cage, which you see in the Elios. The cage can rotate on three axes, with each part of the cage completely independent from the interior, flying part of the drone.

That is pretty darn cool.

Applications and Use Cases

The Elios was created exclusively for inspections, but its use cases are many.

Boiler Inspections

One of the most common uses for the Elios is boiler inspections, which are dangerous, and occur in hard-to-reach places.

As Marc Gandillon of Flyability explained to us recently, the alternative to using a drone for a typical boiler inspection, where the boiler is situated 300 feet or so off the ground, could involve weeks of preparation at a cost of $100,000 or more for building the scaffolding that would allow a person to climb up the boiler.

This approach is dangerous, since the scaffolding could collapse or something could go wrong during the inspection. Using a drone avoids all of these dangers for people, and cuts costs by a huge amount—just another instance of drones doing good in the world.

Research

Back in May the Elios was the first drone ever used to explore the area of a cave for scientific research. Without the Elios, the information gathered would have been impossible to access safely.

What’s even cooler is that the expedition was primarily meant to train astronauts in an environment that replicated extraterrestrial conditions.

https://youtu.be/yLs3BJE6_Ls

Mining

Mining inspections present another use case for the Elios , where a huge drill might be stymied by large rocks deep within a massive tunnel.

The Elios can provide information on easier routes for the drill to take, and help identify the best path forward in a systematic manner, as opposed to the random approach taken in the absence of first-hand footage of what’s in front of the drone.

Search & Rescue

The Elios was recently used to explore a crevasse as part of a research mission in partnership with the Zermatt Mountain Rescue team.

The mission was made to test the idea of using the Elios for Search & Rescue missions. Looks like a win to us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vklo_ng1hv8

The post Meet Elios, Flyability’s Newest Drone Designed to Crash and Keep Going appeared first on UAV Coach.

Kicking Off the 2017 FPV Racing Season: An Interview with Drone Racing League CEO and Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski

The Drone Racing League has seen meteoric success since the launch of its 2016 season.

Last week they announced a $20 million Series B funding round, along with new partnerships with Amazon Prime Video, Swatch, and Allianz. They also shared the news that their 2017 season will be broadcast in 75 countries this year, up from 40 last year.

We were excited to have the opportunity to speak with DRL CEO and founder Nicholas Horbaczewski about DRL’s amazing success and the 2017 season, which starts today.

Read on to learn about how DRL was first started, the incredible technology that makes FPV racing possible, and the future of drone racing.

Want to tune in to the 2017 season? Races will be played live on ESPN every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm EST starting tonight—learn more about ways to watch here.

Begin Interview:

UAV Coach: The Drone Racing League has seen insane growth in a very short period of time. Can you tell us the story of how the company was created, and how you’ve achieved so much success?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: The story really begins with drone racing itself.

Drone racing as a sport and a hobby has been around for five or six years. It started in places like Australia and France, where people were first building high speed quadcopter drones and putting an FPV camera on them. People were exchanging information on message boards, meeting up in parking lots to have these underground amateur races, and by the time I came across it in early 2015 drone racing had spread around the world as a global underground hobby.

I was first exposed to FPV racing with a group of people who fly in the New York area. I was out in a field in Long Island watching them race, and I just thought it was incredible. It reminded me of science fiction and video games, and I thought it had the potential to become a major mainstream sport.

I began an investigation into why even though drone racing had been around for several years, and had clearly gained a global following, it hadn’t gained more ground as a mainstream spectator sport. And that initial research is really the origin of the Drone Racing League, which was in the middle of 2015.

What we discovered as we began the journey of trying to build DRL into what it is today was that the main roadblock was technology. The drones being raced at that time used consumer, off-the-shelf tech that was simply not reliable or robust enough to really elevate drone racing to the level of a true sport.

So we had to build all of that technology, and really figure out what was needed to make FPV racing happen.

We launched publicly in January of 2016, and showed the potential of what drone racing could be. We had our first season in 2016, and off we went.

UAV Coach: Describe what the Drone Racing League does in one short sentence.

Nicholas Horbaczewski: We are the global professional circuit for drone racing.

UAV Coach: How did you first get involved in the drone industry?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: Prior to DRL, I was the Chief Revenue Officer at Tough Mudder, the mud run series. But before that I was the Chief Information Officer at a company that sells consumer products to the law enforcement and military space.

We were the first to begin selling portable quadcopter drones to law enforcement and the military for various reconnaissance purposes, and this was long before you saw drones on the shelves and heard people talking about them. We sold hundreds of thousands of different products, but I still remember the glowing feedback we got from everyone about how powerful drones were as tools.

So drones have always been on my radar, and it didn’t shock me when I saw them explode onto the consumer scene, and people adopt them with such passion.

But I do have some of the same challenges other people have on the consumer side. Drones are really cool, but if you’re not using them as a flying camera, what is the purpose of having a drone?

That’s one of the things I love about FPV racing. Flying is the purpose—you fly the drone for the pure enjoyment of it.

UAV Coach: How can people reading get more involved in drone racing? Do you have to spend a bunch of money just to try it out?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: Here is what I’d recommend for people who want to get involved with racing drones. The first step is to watch DRL’s 2017 season on TV, which will give you a sense of how incredible drone racing can be. The 2017 season starts tonight at 8pm EST on ESPN, so you can tune in and learn more there.

In addition to racing, we spend a lot of time educating people on equipment, techniques, and different aspects that make drone racing challenging.

Once you’ve seen drone racing, the second step for getting involved is learning how to fly. One of the challenges with drone racing is that it’s a relatively high skill activity, with a steep learning curve. For most people, the first thing that happens after buying a drone is that you crash.

To address this problem, we’ve built a brand new simulator called DRL High Voltage, which will take you through the basics, all the way from having never flown and up (the simulator is available on Steam).

The simulator will get you reasonably confident with flying a drone, and that’s really important because it allows you to focus on actually flying when you first pick up a drone, instead of figuring out how to fix it when you crash.

The third step is to get a real drone. We have a drone coming out in the next few months that we created with our partner Nikko that’s a durable remote control drone. It’s a toy and meant to be a starter drone, but it’s real FPV flight. It comes with goggles and a controller, and we think it’s the best drone on the market for learning how to fly.

Once you’ve gone through that learning curve—watch it, simulate it, actually do it—from there, there’s a whole world of amateur drone racing that you can get into. You can find a local community and go out to fields and start racing with a performance craft.

UAV Coach: How close to real life is the simulator?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: The simulator is a lot of fun and like a video game, but you can also use it to learn how to fly.

Actually, you can even use it to try out for DRL and get a pro spot and contract. Last year we ran a tryout for the 2017 season with the simulator, and that’s how one of the pilots competing this year won his spot.

Even if you don’t make it all that way, when you’re done with the time you’ve put into it you’ve developed a really useful skill, and you can walk outside and put that skill to use flying your drone. It’s hard to think of another video game that’s so immediately applicable to the real world beyond the screen.

UAV Coach: DRL’s 2017 season is kicking off today. What are you most excited about this season?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: The races you’ll see this season take place all over the world—in the U.S., in London, in Munich. We’re racing our new, dramatically improved drone the Racer 3, which just completely ups the level of play and allows us to do racing on a scale we’ve never done before.

We’re also introducing a number of new partners like Amazon Prime Video, Swatch, and Allianz.

But for me, what I’m most excited about is the racing.

It is just epic, white knuckle, photo finish racing. We have the 16 best pilots in the world battling across six enormous, elaborate race tracks using ultra high performance drones.

It’s just wild. I find the racing gripping. I’ve been at all these races, and I’ll still watch them again on TV because it’s just great sport.

UAV Coach: Where do you see drone racing going in the next five to ten years?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: Often when people ask me about drone racing they’ll analogize it to another sport. They’ll compare it to Formula 1 or UFC or eSports, but one of the things that gives me a lot of passion for what we’re doing is that we are trying to build a new, unique sports entertainment ecosystem.

What I think you’ll see in the future is that we will benefit from the fact that we’re not a traditional sport, which creates restrictions on what you can do.

So we don’t try to put too fine a point on what the future is going to look like. Our vision is to build a major sport around the world of drone racing, and the world of drone racing keeps evolving. And that’s what makes it fun, and it’s also what our fans love.

We’re going to stay incredibly innovative. Every season you’ll see us improving and changing the technology, and the scale on which we do the races. We are extremely open minded about continuing to evolve the sport. It doesn’t need to look exactly like it does today forever in the future.

We change the technology on the drones between every single race, and every time we change the tech it creates possibilities we’ve never seen before.

UAV Coach: Can you give us some examples of advances in technology that have pushed drone racing forward and opened up new possibilities?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: DRL is first and foremost a technology company. We sat out to build a race league, and discovered the tech didn’t exist for it, so we began building our own tech, and we remain very focused on the development of novel technology.

On our new Racer 3, the improvements to the onboard avionics allow it to fly with incredible precision, and improvements to things like ESC technology allow us to drive more power through the power train more reliably.

A lot of our innovation at DRL is around radio systems. We just held a drone race at Alexander Palace with more than 2,000 people in the building. We raced six drones through a complex three dimensional space, with multiple rooms where the drones were a kilometer away from the pilots. To do that on a radio system is a massive accomplishment.

People take this for granted now, but in the recent past drone racing was limited to the shadows because if you put too many people near the radios it really interfered, and could take down the entire system.

This has been a step-by-step process for us, where we’ve gone from barely reliable radio systems with a limited range to bullet proof systems that allow us to have thousands of people in the audience, with six drones racing at once on tracks that are massive in size.

UAV Coach: One tech-related issue that comes up a lot with drones is battery life. Are you doing any work at DRL to extend battery life?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: Battery life is an issue across the drone world.

When we moved from the Racer 2 to the Racer 3 we moved to an entirely custom-designed battery, which gave us significantly more flight time. We’ve managed to find improvements, but those improvements fit within the bounds of existing battery technology. We’re being smarter about power extensions on board, and smarter about design.

But what people are really looking for is a step change—something that will double battery life. We don’t know where that’s going to come from, but we certainly think there’s more optimization to do in the racing world within the existing Lipo tech.

UAV Coach: We’ve seen a lot of changes in the drone industry recently, with companies like Parrot, Autel, and GoPro going through massive layoffs, and construction and FPV racing emerging as solid verticals in the market. Can you share your thoughts on the future of the industry, as well as where you think we might be headed regarding regulations?

Nicholas Horbaczewski: I think the drone world is evolving. A lot of my feelings about the consumer market is related to what I said a little bit ago—drones are very cool, and whenever we talk about drones people crowd around. Right now in New York there’s an exhibit on display at the Intrepid Museum on drones, and it’s drawing huge crowds.

So the fundamental interest is there. But I think what we’re catching up to now as an industry is that fundamental interest needs to translate to some sort of purpose. I think racing is just one example of a purpose. Racing drones isn’t about a type of drone, or a type of technology. It’s a description of a use of drones.

With some of the recent layoffs we’ve seen, it seems like there was a little too much of just putting a drone out there and saying to consumers: here’s a drone. There wasn’t a lot of effort made to say what the drone should be used for, beyond it just being a flying camera.

So I think we need to be talking about drones more in that context going forward—really asking, what is the use of each particular drone for a consumer?

I think what we do with racing drones is great, but there’s a lot more that can be done, and I think we’ll see consumers finding more and more applications.

Regarding regulations, we aren’t so impacted by the regulatory environment. We have a great relationship with the FAA and with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as international agencies like the CAA (which is the equivalent of the FAA in the U.K.).

But I think drone regulations are a little bit of a red herring when it comes to looking at the future of the drone industry. I think regulations have basically moved in the right direction, and that we’ll continue to see them move in the right direction. These are thoughtful, smart people that want to see progress continue in a safe way.

Don’t forget to tune in tonight for the first race of the season in Miami, FL.

Here are some pictures of the course, to whet your appetite. We can’t wait!

drone-racing-league-miami-1

drone-racing-league-miami-2

drone-racing-league-miami-3

drone-racing-league-miami-4

The post Kicking Off the 2017 FPV Racing Season: An Interview with Drone Racing League CEO and Founder Nicholas Horbaczewski appeared first on UAV Coach.

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