It seems like Drone racing is on its way to becoming a legitimate sport, or at least more mainstream. The Wall Street Journal reports that the owner of the Miami Dolphins, Stephen Ross, invested $1M in The Drone Racing League.
RSE Ventures, a venture-capital firm co-founded by Mr. Ross, is providing $1 million to the first round of funding for the Drone Racing League, a New York startup that is planning its first public race later this year. The League intends to make money through sponsorships, media and ticket sales.
One of the challenges, is to provide spectators with live streams and more data, but it seems like they’ve got that pretty much figured out, from The Verge:
The firm has already developed a service named FanVision that gives NASCAR spectators access to live video feeds from race cars on their smartphones. Using this technology to offer drone racing fans access to pilots’ video feeds could help the would-be sport attract interest on the ground, as well as online.
What do you think? Do you think this will help change people’s perceptions about drones? What about the legal aspect? It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.
New America, a self-described “intellectual venture capital fund, think tank, technology laboratory, public forum, and media platform” has released a free ebook titled: DRONES AND AERIAL OBSERVATION: New Technologies for Property Rights, Human Rights, and Global Development. You can read it online or download the PDF here.
It is a very interesting and that seems to want to prove that UAV technology can be used for better causes than what the media seems to be focusing on, invasion of privacy, shooting guns and interfering with wildfires. Highly recommended.
The FAA has granted a 333 exemption to the Yamaha R-MAX, a remote-controlled crop dusting unmanned helicopter that tips the scales at over 200lbs fully-loaded. The R-MAX was developed in Japan in the 90’s and is a great tool for “precision agriculture”, which allows farmers to precisely target areas in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. From the FAA pdf: More…
If you are planning on traveling to Cuba, now that the US-Cuban relations are thawing, and you are thinking about packing your favorite UAV to get some amazing aerial footage, do yourself a favor and leave it at home. From The Verge:
Dane Christensen was entering Cuba in February when a customs official pulled him aside: he was carrying a DJI Phantom, which the officials viewed as a kind of contraband. The drone was seized at the border, and stored at customs until Christensen left the country. “It was my full intention to use my drone to get some amazing shots of the beaches and Cubanos surfing,” Christensen says. Unfortunately, without the drone, all Christensen’s footage had to be handheld.
For those of you that were hoping to get some cool aerial shots at the 2015 Boston Marathon, Boston Police has declared that it will be a no-drone zone, so you might as well unpack your gear and plan otherwise:
The entire route of the Boston Marathon will be a ‘No Drone Zone.’ The public is being advised NOT to operate any type of drone (unmanned aerial vehicle), including remotely controlled model aircraft, over or near the course, or anywhere within sight of runners or spectators.
In this episode of the podcast, I break down “drones over Paris” incidents with a timeline of the events. I explore the media frenzy over a letter that a UAV hobbyist received from the FAA where they equate his monetized YouTube videos as a commercial endeavor. I interview the aforementioned hobbyist Jayson Hanes to get a first-person account of what really happened.
The Verge is reporting that everyone’s favorite drone-maker (har har) is flush with money: DJI is about to become the first billion dollar consumer drone company. They are in the process of raising additional capital, Silicon Valley style:
And The Verge has learned that the company is currently in talks with Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms to potentially raise a new round of funding. Sources familiar with the negotiations say DJI reported around $500 million in revenue for 2014, roughly four times what it did in 2013, and is on pace to do about $1 billion in sales this year. The potential valuation of the company would be a healthy multiple of that, several billion dollars, although no deal has yet been finalized.
Jayson Hanes, a UAV enthusiast, is in the middle of an FAA-induced controversy. He received a letter [pdf link] from the FAA telling him that they received a complaint about his commercial use of UAVs and it appers to be valid because he has monetization on his YouTube channel. He does’t do commercial aerial photography, in other words, he has never been hired nor is he for hire for your next wedding. He simply flies his DJI Phantom Vision around, records the sights and posts the video on YouTube. Ah, he is also enrolled in YouTube’s monetization program, so ads show up either before you watch his videos or a small banner is shown. More…
Paris, the city of light, seems to have a “drone” issue, as reported by the media. There have been many accounts of unmanned aerial vehicles flying illegally around the city, around landmarks, and generally arousing the anger and suspicion of Parisians. According to the reports I’ve read, it is illegal to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle in Paris. The following is a timeline of the events, and they seem to be a recurring issue, as there are still reports coming out. More…