New Use for Drones – SnotBot

Drones have an interesting new purpose: collecting whale snot.

Scientists know that whales are currently in danger due to overfishing, trash, and noise pollution. However, it is difficult to collect information from whales about these dangers without disturbing them. Thus, scientists and robotics companies have worked together to create a drone capable of collecting the mucus-like substance whales exhale out their blowholes, these drones have been aptly named SnotBots. The mucus or ‘whale snot’ can be used to help scientists learn about how pollution is affecting the mammals.

SnotBots hover just above whales as they surface for air, then they lower petri dishes to capture the whale’s snot spray, collecting DNA, microbiome information, and hormone levels. Before these drones were available scientists would attempt to position a long pole over the blowhole, a difficult and tedious process, or collect snot from dead whales.

These drones are particularly useful because they can analyze whale health in real time, allowing scientists to determine if a whale is sick before it descends into the ocean depths.


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How to use a Drone for Real Estate

The real estate business is changing. The market is increasingly competitive and most prospective Phome buyers check online listings before contacting an agent or viewing homes in person. Drones can help your online listings leave a lasting impression on potential clients.

How do I use drones to enhance my real estate listings?
Drones are a great tool for capturing the scope of appropriate homes and properties. For example, drones can be used to provide a moving tour through the inside of large homes, giving prospective buyers a much better idea of property layout and dimensions than photos. Drones are also useful for displaying properties with magnificent views or large yards. Often drones are used to take video or pictures from high altitudes to capture a full view of the yard in relation to natural surroundings such as lakes or woods. The photo above is a particularly dramatic example of using a drone to capture the magnitude and beauty of properties.

Do I have to follow any regulations to use drones for my real estate listings?
Yes, all commercial drone pilots must possess a Remote Pilot in Command Certificate which can be obtained by passing the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Exam.

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

Check out our Complete Guide to Commercial Drone Use for more information.

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Drone Taxi

The head of the Dubai transportation agency intends to start using self-flying taxis this July. Dubai will use the Ehang 184 for the service. This drone flies for 23 minutes at a speed of 63 mph without human direction. Ehang carries a single passenger and a bag weighing up to 100kg.

Potential passengers will enter their destination into an app, the drone then maps a route to the passenger and to their destination.  Ehang cannot fly straight, instead it flies along a specific flight line, much like a public bus system. This is intended to avoid potential collisions with other air taxis or drones.

Potential passengers have been assured about the Ehang “fail safe” malfunction system.  If anything goes wrong during the flight the drone will automatically go to the nearest landing pad.

Las Vegas has also shown interest in using Ehang for taxi service in the city.

Commercial Drone Pilots Must Follow these Steps to stay within FAA Guidelines

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

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DRONES FOR JOURNALISM

The benefit of drones in journalism is no secret. Drones save journalists money by providing a birds-eye view that was formerly only gained by helicopter. This perspective allows journalists to gain a greater understanding of the story and take great photos and videos. While drones are relatively easy to use for journalistic ventures, FAA imposed guidelines must be followed to avoid fines and legal recourse.

Drones used for journalism must be flown by an individual at least 16 years old and holding a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the supervision of an individual with a remote pilot certificate, and pass applicable TSA vetting.  Remote pilot airman certificates can be obtained by passing the applicable exam.
Note: Pilots must pass the FAA Remote Pilot exam every 2 years to maintain their certificate.

When choosing a drone, keep in mind it must weigh less than 55lbs and undergo a pre-flight check by the FAA Remote Pilot Airman certificate holder.

STEPS TO GETTING YOUR REMOTE PILOT LICENSE

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13 

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World’s First Drone-Proof Shield

The Channel Island jail is the world’s first to use innovative technology designed to keep drones from bringing in contraband such as weapons, phones, and drugs. The system uses a device to create a 2,000ft shield around and above the prison to deflect UAVs. The device works by using a series of “disruptors” to jam the drone’s computer and block control protocols. When activated the pilot’s screen will go black and the drone will bounce back to its launch location.

The drone-induced contraband issues are not specific to Channel Island jail. Drones all over the world have been looking for solutions to their drone issues. Aside from jails many businesses and homeowners have been looking for ways to keep drones off their grounds. Notably, the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada is on constant guard for drones because other companies are looking to steal trade secrets. As drone shielding technology progresses drone pilots can expect to see it used in a variety of settings. 

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Would Drones Benefit your Construction Company?

Photo credit: Jessica Lea/DFID

A recent study of two construction companies focused on how company size affected the use of drones. Bough Engineering is a family owned construction company that employs 13 people. PCL Construction is a group of independent general contracting construction companies operating in the US, Canada, and Australia. PCL employs 4,400 people. Contrary to what many may expect, representatives from both companies use drones in much the same way.

How will a drone impact my construction company’s bottom line?

Bill Bennington, a spokesperson for PLC Construction, found the impact of drones hard to measure, “How do you quantify the value of a quality issue that never happened because it was prevented through our use of a drone?”  We are tracking the time and resources spent utilizing the drone to determine grades and contours vs the cost of a traditional survey.”

According to Bough, on the other hand, “You can’t use the drone like you’d use a survey crew for exacting work. They can get you close though, and that can work really well…” Bough is enthusiastic about the drone’s quick turnaround time for surveys.  The drone sends him a cut/fill map the same day as the survey takes place, this allows him to figure out what needs to be done the day after the survey.

What kind of data will I get from using a drone at my construction company?

According to Bough the data collected by drones is the same as the data collected by survey crews. In fact, the topographic surveys and digital terrain models provided by aerial mapping, a process that has been used since the 50’s, are identical to those collected by drones.

Bennington suggests crews begin thinking of surveys as a two-step process. The survey itself being step one and the consumption of data at the office being step two. Bennington agrees that the data provided by drones is the same as the data provided by other survey methods.

Will I have to train my crew to use drones at my construction company?

Any employee operating the drone must be at least 16 years old and hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the supervision of an individual with a remote pilot certificate, and pass applicable TSA vetting. A step-by-step guide to getting your remote pilot airman certificate can be found here.

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THINKING OF USING DRONES TO ENHANCE YOUR BUSINESS?

Commercial Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) must be operated in accordance with FAA operational rules.

What constitutes commercial drone use?

  • Any drone used to provide contract services, i.e. Industrial equipment or property inspection.
  • Selling pictures/videos taken from a drone.
  • Drones used to monitor the progress of your company’s work.
  • Using drones for professional services, i.e., security or telecommunications.

What are the requirements for commercial drone use?

Any company using a drone for commercial purposes must be at least 16 years old and hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the supervision of an individual with a remote pilot certificate, and pass applicable TSA vetting.

How do I obtain a FAA Remote Pilot Airman certificate?

Step 1: Pay the $5 fee and register any aircraft that weighs more than 0.55lbs.
Step 2:  Pass the $150 Small UAS Remote Pilot Exam – exam prep is available here.
Step 3: Pass a TSA background check
Step 4: File FAA Form 8710-13

Are there continuing education requirements for remote pilots?

Yes. Pilots must pass the $150 FAA Remote Pilot Airman exam every two years.

What are the requirements for the drone/UAS?

The drone must weigh less than 55 lbs and undergo a pre-flight check by the FAA Remote Pilot Airman certificate holder.

What are the commercial drone operating rules?

  • Fly under 400 ft above ground level unless you are within 400 ft of a structure.
  • Keep the UAS in sight of either the remote pilot in command or an observer
  • Fly during daylight hours or 30 minutes before and after official sunrise and sunset.
  • Fly at or below 100mph
  • Yield right-of-way to manned aircrafts
  • Do not fly over people
  • Do not fly from a moving vehicle in densely populated areas.


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DRONES MAY REVOLUTIONIZE MOSQUITO CONTROL

Drones have the potential to be incredibly valuable to the mosquito control industry for site mapping and pesticide application.

Drones can create 3d surveillance maps by flying over a designated area and collecting continuous data.  Mosquito Control can use these maps to find pools of standing water perfect for mosquito larvae.  These pools have been difficult to find without the aid of drones. Traditionally several individuals would spend hours trekking through sparsely inhabited areas to find such pools and there was no guarantee the pools would be infected at that time. With drones, pools can be mapped and checked routinely for larvae.

The drones used for pesticide application will be waterproof so they can land in the pools. Once the drone has landed, it will capture real-time video images to determine whether larvicide application is necessary. These drones are able to carry larvicide to dispense directly within effected areas.

Placer County’s Mosquito and Vector Control in California is planning to use drones for surveillance and application this summer. Placer County plans to use drones to map inaccessible areas and apply pesticides at a height of 400 feet or higher. The drones will also measure weather conditions, land in water, pick up and put down traps, and measure water conditions.

REQUIRED LICENSING FOR COMMERCIAL DRONE USE AND PESTICIDE APPLICATION

  • Commercial drone pilots must pass the FAA Remote Pilot in Command Certification Exam
  • All commercial applications of Restricted Use Pesticides must be carried out by a state licensed applicator

Certified Training Institute offers online FAA Remote Pilot in Command Certification Exam Prep, as well as, online Pesticide Applicator Exam Prep & Continuing Education. Certified’s courses are available 24/7 on any device with internet access. Should you have any questions or IT issues do not hesitate to call or email Certified’s friendly staff.

 

 

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History of Drones

Military to Commercial Use

For over a hundred years drone use was mostly exclusive to militaries. For example, the Kettering Bug, designed by Orville Wright and Charles F. Kettering, was able to drop bombs on predetermined targets up to 75 miles away.  Operators could direct the Bug after calculating wind speed, direction, and desired distance. Today’s military uses far more sophisticated drones for surveillance and targeted warfare. Jeff Bazos of Amazon announced plans to begin using drones for delivery in 2013. Since this announcement, many commercial industries have begun finding ways to use drones to enhance their business.

Commercial Drones

Some of the industries currently using drones are construction, real estate, and search and rescue. In construction, drones are often used to survey job sites. Specialized software is also used to make 3D models and topographical maps after drones collect appropriate data. The real estate industry uses drones to capture compelling, aerial listing photos and examine properties for damage. Search and rescue teams fly drones over disaster areas to locate individuals in need of rescue. In each industry, drones are used to provide a unique perspective.

Drones used for commercial purposes must be piloted by an individual who has passed the FAA Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Exam and been vetted by the TSA.

FAA Unmanned Aerial Systems Exam Prep & Drone Pilot Courses

Certified Training Institute offers online exam prep and drone pilot training courses. Specialized courses are available for drones in real estate and drones in construction; each of these courses is approved for continuing education in various states. Courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they can be completed at your convenience.

 

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Drone Racing

LED lights are used to trace drone paths and obstacles  DAVID T KINDLER

Imagine zipping through the air at 60 miles per hour, avoiding obstacles, using only your thumbs to steer. Drone racing is an exciting new sport with leagues popping up all over the nation. Pilots make their own drones and wear First Person View (FPV) goggles which give them a drone’s eye view of the race. Drone racing is gaining prevalence across the board but it is especially popular among individuals with disabilities that prohibit other forms of racing. Zoe Stumbagh, a former motorcycle racer, has taken up drone racing since a medical issue forced her into bed rest for two years.  She describes the experience as “… almost spiritual because you’re seeing something you physically can’t do, and that elevates your consciousness.”

For now, most leagues are small and regional but the Drones Sports Association and Drone Racing League want to go professional.  Interest in the sport is increasing, ESPN recently signed a deal with the Drone Racing League (DRL) and Bud Light has signed on as the title sponsor for DRL tryouts. However, drone officials are having a hard time determining how to make drone racing a spectator sport.  Pilots are standing stock-still in their goggles and drones are little more than large buzzing flies to spectators. Leagues are currently experimenting with LED light decorations for drones and obstacles to give the viewer a better idea of what’s happening.

ESPN will be airing 6 races of the 2017 Allianz World Championship in June.

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