Need some drone photo inspiration? The winners of the 2017 SkyPixel drone photo contest are out, and their images do not disappoint.
More than 44,000 drone photographers from 141 different countries entered the contest, which had categories in landscape, portrait and story.
French photographer Florian Ledoux nabbed the grand prize with his shot of a polar bear jumping across ice floes in Nunavut, Canada. He walked away with up to $15,000 in prizes, including a DJI Inspire 2 Premium Combo, Nikon D750 Body + 24-70 mm VR 2.8 Lens, a DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo, DJI Spark and more.
My personal favorite? It’s called “Hanging Up Noodles” and was entered into the enthusiast portrait category.
Here are all the winning images that sum up the best drone photos of 2017 (all images courtesy of SkyPixel):
Grand Prize Winner
“Above the Polar Bear”
SkyPixel 2017 Winners: Landscape (Enthusiast Group)
First place: Lobsters Farm
Second place: Geometry of Liquid Gold
SkyPixel 2017 Winners: Landscape (Professional Group)
First place: Sun’s Up, Nets Out
SkyPixel 2017 Winners: Portrait (Enthusiast Group)
SkyPixel 2017 Winners: Portrait (Professional Group)
And here are some other incredible images that were nominated:
Which photo is your favorite? Leave a comment below!
See the best drone photos of 2017, according to SkyPixel was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/02/17/see-best-drone-photos-2017-according-skypixel/ by Sally French
Yuneec partners with Parrot to put Pix4D’s mapping software in its commercial drones
As drone companies look to compete with drone industry king DJI, two companies have come up with a unique strategy: combine resources and team up.
Yuneec, a Chinese drone manufacturer known mostly for its Typhoon hobby drone, has partnered with Pix4D, a 3D mapping software company owned by French drone manufacturer Parrot, which is known for its Bebop and AR toy drones.
The two companies announced this week that Parrot’s Pix4Dcapture software would now be available on Yuneec’s H520 ST16S ground station controller. The software gives users the ability to create georeferenced maps and models from drone imagery, Pix4D capture is used in verticals such as law enforcement, inspection and construction, where drone pilots can customize flight plans and parameters and view maps in multiple orientations.
Yuneec’s H520, which was announced in January 2017, is a six-rotor drone targeted at commercial applications. It looks very much like the Typhoon H drone (but is bright orange for high visibility), building off the six-rotor platform (that is capable of flying under emergency situations with just five rotors) while incorporating commercial-grade cameras and applications for high-end commercial use.
The partnership is unique as Parrot opts to extend the reach of its software into drones outside of the Parrot family. Pix4D has been integrated into Parrot’s enterprise-level drones, including the Disco-Pro and the Parrot Bluegrass. But it’s interesting to see Parrot drones appearing in drones by what is seemingly a competitor company.
Meanwhile, DJI’s attention when it comes to consumer drones is on the thermal imaging market. The Chinese drone behemoth, which has an estimated 70% share of the drone industry, recently announced a partnership with thermal camera maker FLIR to integrate its thermal cameras into its drones alongside a traditional 4K camera with the launch of the new DJI XT2 camera.
Yuneec partners with Parrot to put Pix4D’s mapping software in its commercial drones was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/04/06/yuneec-partners-with-parrot-to-put-pix4ds-mapping-software-in-its-commercial-drones/ by Sally French
FAA seeking more LAANC suppliers months after industry criticism about “ol’ boy’s club forming”
The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking more applicants to participate as a supplier in its Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) drone program.
A month after announcing that it would expand tests of its real-time approval processing program to 500 airports by the fall of this year, the FAA wants more companies to supply LAANC services.
The LAANC program allows drone operators to use an interface from one of four providers that were hand-picked by the FAA — AirMap, Project Wing (an entity of X, formerly known as Google), Rockwell Collins and Skyward — to request approval to fly in restricted airspace. Operators would then receive approval almost instantly.
That instantly speeds up the ability to legally fly in controlled airspace such as near airports — a cumbersome process that had required individual applications and took months.
While the drone industry was generally excited that the process to get permission to fly in controlled airspaces has gotten easier, many industry players feared that the FAA selecting just 4 companies to provide such a service with no clear criteria of how to get chosen was a threat to other companies, particular small startups with minimal resources.
“Getting exclusive access to what is essentially a national resource doesn’t seem like a fair gig at all,” said Joshua Ziering, founder of Kittyhawk, a drone-operations platform similar to Skyward in a past interview with The Drone Girl. “With this, the FAA is essentially picking winners in the private industry.”
Since that time, the FAA announced that it considering agreements with additional entities to provide LAANC services. The period for new entities to apply will run from April 16 to May 16. Interested parties can find information on the application process here.
FAA seeking more LAANC suppliers months after industry criticism about “ol’ boy’s club forming” was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/04/03/faa-seeking-laanc-suppliers/ by Sally French
China’s second-largest courier just got permission for drone delivery
Drone delivery has arrived in China.
SF Express, a courier in China, announced that one of its subsidiaries received the first official permit to deliver packages via drones.
The courier is focused on delivering items via drones to more sparsely populated areas. The company said it intends to use a few types of drones. Traditional manned aircraft will delivery items at large scale to major warehouses, followed by big drones delivering items to local warehouses and small drones making the actual deliveries to customers.
Tests of SF Express’s drones have been spotted as early as 2013, the same year Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon was working toward drone delivery. SF Express is the second largest courier in China after China Post.
With the new government approvals, SF Express can legally make deliveries in approved airspace. But that still doesn’t mean drones will be making deliveries anywhere and everywhere just yet. The flights are still in beta mode, with SF Express launching a pilot zone in the Nankang district of Ganzhou, a city in Jiangxi province, where it had already been testing drone deliveries. After that stage, drone delivery would expand across the entire provence.
China has made huge headway in the field of drone delivery. Another company called JD.com, which has been described as the Chinese version of Amazon, has a fleet of drones making deliveries near Beijing.
JD’s heavy-load drones can carry payloads weighing more than a ton and focuses on flying along fixed routes from warehouses to special landing pads in rural villages, where local contractors for the company then deliver the packages to the customers’ doorsteps.
That model is similar to that of Iceland’s Flytrex, which flies fixed routes from warehouses to specified points across the city. From there, a human courier handles the packages between that drop-off point and the customer’s house, filling in the “last mile,” or the customer can come to the drop-off point to receive it themselves.
China’s second-largest courier just got permission for drone delivery was originally posted at http://thedronegirl.com/2018/04/02/chinas-second-largest-courier-just-got-permission-drone-delivery/ by Sally French