3D Robotics

Finally, a good article on "drone journalism"


ABC News Australia has a thorough piece on the state of "drone journalism", which gives some good examples and cuts through the sort of silliness that characterized some earlier reports, such as those featuring Occupy Wall Street types flying a Parrot AR.Drone inside.

It includes an important quote from Matt Waite, who runs the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska

Despite America's love affair with new technology, Professor Waite says the rate of take-up of drone journalism is still very slow - for one single reason.

"Here in the US the law doesn't allow it - plain and simple," he said.

"The rules right now in the US are basically this: nothing over 400 feet, nothing out of sight, nothing near people and no commercial purposes.

"If it were (just) the first three, drone journalism would have a fighting chance. The commercial restrictions are the hardest to overcome."

Sounds like Professor Waite, at least, is taking a realistic and responsible approach. 

[Thanks to Gary Mortimer/sUAS News for the link]

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  • That's just to start.  One of the reasons I got involved in this was to get into aerial filming of different outdoor and motorized sports.  Whitewater kayaking, off-road motorcycle racing, etc.  As well as capturing low-altitude photographs of remote areas in Canada.

    I'm involved in "Overlanding", and one disappointment is always that when you're in the Canadian Boreal forests, you "can't see the forest for the trees".  It's hard to get spectacular panoramas like in the SW US, Nevada, etc.  I want to get a camera above the trees to get a better perspective.

    For fun, OR for profit, if I can.

  • Robert, why do you need an SFOC if you're just flying at an RC Airfield?  Sounds like recreational to me, unless they're going to pay you to fly there.

  • @Stephen, ok, that sounds interested.  So there is some judgement used, as opposed to the government using a form with checkboxes and rigid "what you want to do doesn't fit the parameters of this program"?

    Is it easy to get started?  Say, flights at my local RC Airfield?

    I'm not sure if land access control would be an issue where I want to go.  I'm talking, far, far away from civilization.

  • @Robert For the SFOC it is probably best to start small and work your way up. Start with a single location and limited time, and very specific conditions (no spectators, private property where access can be controlled to reduce risk to 3rd parties, not close to airports, etc etc etc). Then once you can prove you can operate safely under these conditions, work to broaden your operating limits. Not sure how the research vs. commercial plays into it, probably won't be a big issue if you can show you will operate safely. I am guess it would be somewhat difficult to obtain blanket coverage for unspecified locations, especially without significant documented experience, and also on land where you may not be able to control access by 3rd parties. I do know one organization with blanket coverage for most of south-eastern Alberta for both commercial and government type work.

    I am sure it wouldn't hurt to contact the local TC people and ask them a few questions, they might be able to tell you more.

  • Yes, 900Mhz xbees are certified for use in Canada. http://www.digi.com/technology/rfmodems/agencyapprovals

  • Developer

    My current test setup:

    TG-9x RC radio w FrSky DJT TM module on 2.4 ghz with optional 500mw booster, has 500m range simple TM from D8R v2 receiver

    Xbee 910 MHz for longer range TM over Mavlink protocol

    Pilots OSD on 5.8 ghz

    Optional 1.3 ghz video link for HD camera operator pan tilt view, requires Mavlink joy stick setup. or optional head tracker to RC tx.

    Dual diversity ET Ground Stations using IBCrazy antenna technology

    All these frequencies plays well together, but I have not tested for beyond my poor eye sight.

    (from top of Pikes Peak Lol :-)

  • No 910mhz xbee in Canada?

  • Mark, anything certified by FCC should be usable here.  From what I see the regulations are pretty much in sync.

  • Developer

    China military was only interested in Airframe & Power plant, wonder whose AP they cloned?

  • Developer

    I better get my Winnie Brave ready for trip to Alaska,  I might want to fly some drones on the way... Sign me UP.

    What frequency bands are available, same as US?   But No 910 mhz Xbee 

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