Tag Archive | startup

Drone Startups – Top 10 drone startups @dronologista

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Two months ago when I started posting Drone Startups articles here, I didn’t expect that I will have enough material to run with it as long as I would like to. And I would like to post on this topic for years, if possible, a very moderate goal.

Yet, two months fast forward, and there are ten articles covering a very vibrant community of entrepreneurs that are not only bringing change to the UAV environment, but are about to change the world. Some of them are genuine and ingenious, others are slightly bizarre and there is even one fake startup.

Here is the list of 10 startups that have been featured at dronologista:

1. Matternet

When you realize that more than 1 billion of Earth population, 1.000.000.000 human beings have no access to all season roads, it is sort of shocker. That is a problem Matternet wants to tackle, with the envisioned network of autonomous ground stations and UAV that can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime.

2. Honeycomb

Precision agriculture is one of the biggest markets for sensor equipped Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Honeycomb is a Oregon based startup that wants to tap into that market with their AgDrone fixed wing UAV equipped with visible and multispectral cameras for high-resolution imaging and NDVI-based crop stress detection.

3. Skycatch

Skycatch is San Francisco based, Google backed startup developing a platform for capturing data at scale using small autonomous aerial robots. Their platform consists of  UAV, ground stations and logistics dashboard enabling autonomous and remote drone operation.

4. Garuda Robotics

Garuda Robotics is the first startup featured here that is not US-based. They are from Singapore, and they offer drones and drone fleet management system called Garuda Cloud that comes with the dashboard, multimode flight plan generator, cloud storage and flight simulator.

5. Gofor

This is a complete fake startup. It created a lot of internet buzz, and even people from Google and Texas Instruments called Alex Cornell, the original prankster, asking if he was hiring. Well, he is not because Gofor was a sort of April Fools-day joke. But it just might happen that today’s prank becomes inspiration for a future startup.

6. DroneDeploy

DroneDeploy is a web-based control and management system that offers drone operators things like browser-based operations control, fleet management and tracking, electronic filling and related paperwork and data logging. Managing of multiple-drone operation is a complex task and DroneDeploy is among first to tackle this problem.

7. FlexBot

Flexbot is  tiny, crowdfounded, open-source nanocopter, which can be controlled by a smartphone. With the price of only $49 for the basic product and whooping $159 for more expensive version that comes with 720p real-time video sending webcam, it is inexpensive and fun to fly.

8. EasyDrone

One of the personal favorites, Easy Drone is a plug-and-play aerial filming platform, incredibly compact and easy to assemble. It proved to be a smashing hit on Kickstarter as it reached it $20.000 funding goal within two weeks, and is now nearing its stretch goal of $30.000 that will include some very advanced features.

9. Skyteboard

This startup made me ask myself “why?”, for the first time since I am covering this topic. It goes in the bizarre category, since I am not sure why would anyone finance and buy “social network controlled quadcopter”. It seems that I am not alone, since crowdfunding is not going quite well for Skyteboard. Kudos to the engineering displayed, it is the only bright element of this project.

10. Skysense

One more entrant in the remote drone operation arena is Berlin based Skysense. Their inductive charging landing pad and drone hangars might be tapping into the same market in which Skycatch already is. If inductive landing pad and drone hangar is the way to go, the future will tell.

 

This list will continue to grow, since the drone market seems to be quite interesting for entrepreneurs, and dronologista will follow the topic with great interest and share the news with great devotion.

Do you know of a startup (not mentioned here, preferably) that is using, making or supporting drones?

 

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Drone Startups part 10: Skysense

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Multirotors and fixed wing drones are being used for precision farming, land monitoring and industrial inspection. Limited capacity of batteries and high costs of field operators constitute a severe limitation in operations that could be highly automated.

Skysense, a Berlin based startup, is trying to solve that issue in a very innovative manner. Instead of developing better batteries, they are developing charging pads and drone hangars.

Skysense charging pad and multirotor drone

Skysense charging pad and a multirotor

Charging pad is a robust, waterproof aluminium plate, with a wide landing area, that enables wireless battery charging. It is very thin, only 1.5 inches (less than 4 cm) and very light, 4 pounds (less than 2 kg).

Skysense charging pad

Skysense charging pad

 

The charging pad can charge batteries as fast as a regular charging cable, and it supports nearly all existing multirotor and VTOL drones.

Skysense hangar is another product in development, and it is supposed to store and charge UAV between the flights. It is a protective structure that includes charging pad, it is remotely managed, and it provides syncing of collected data between the UAV and the cloud data storage.

Construction, mining, oil & gas,  solar & wind and other industries are already using drones for land surveying and inspection, but operation of these industrial UAV requires a human operator. Skysense is a step into direction of fully automated drone operation. In that sense, it is somewhat similar to the Skycatch, another startup that is targeting the same market. The difference is that Skykatch enables automation through battery swapping, where Skysense does the same through wireless recharging. And while Skycatch enables almost instant operation of the drone, Skysense trades off speed of recharging for significantly less moving parts, theoretically improving reliability.

Which concept will be winning, we will see in coming years.  At the end it might be something in between, like swapping the batteries, while enabling their wireless recharge.

Images courtesy of Skysense.

Drone Startups – Announcement

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Two of the startups mentioned here, Easy Drone and AirDog, smashed their way through the Kickstarter in rather amazing fashion. Both projects successfully reached their goals in just a couple of days ,  and are now definitely becoming more than just a great idea.

And in case of Easy Drone, there is a stretch goal #1 that will be incorporated in the original product, giving some extraordinary capabilities to an already extraordinary drone.

Great job guys!

 

Drone Startups part 9: Skyteboard

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Social network controlled quadcopter, what in the world is that?

That would be Skyteboard, a quite nicely designed foldable quadcopter. It is controlled with an iOS or Android device, through a centralized social network, Fatdoor.com.

Skyteboard in flight mode

Skyteboard in flight mode

Being controlled via social network should allow multiple friends connected via Fatdoor social network to “do things never before possible with their mobile phones and tablets, such as “fly together” through formation flights, and do amazing coordinated activities”

Skyteboard features internal full HD camera, onboard 3G cellular, WiFi and payload capacity of 1lbs (bit less than 0.5kg). That payload capacity allows mounting of a GoPro camera for quite interesting double camera mode. Also, it should theoretically allow neighbors to exchange cupcakes or books (no, not books, no one reads books anymore). That is actually the whole idea behind Fatdoor robot business (they have one more robot called ‘Bot Appetit‘ – you should be able to imagine what it is for). Idea of neighbors connected through the social network, exchanging goodies, and having their meals delivered from corner deli shop.

And that is the biggest question mark looming over this project aiming for a $300.000 crowdfunding goal: why would someone send a drone over to his or her neighbor for a cup of sugar instead of just getting out of the house and doing it old school style? It might be that Skyteboard gets you more Fatdoor likes…

Startups are supposed to offer solutions to existing problems. Dronologista is not sure what problems Skyteboard solves apart of a problem of getting social network likes, which is not even a first world problem really. Beside dandy design, foldability (this feature is very valuable), integrated 3G control and possibility of carrying two cameras, it is not offering anything really novel and innovative. And it is not cheap either, as it should cost $1099.

If you would like to read more about Skyteboard you can check Kickstarter, Tom’s Guide, News For Shoppers and DIY Drones.

Picture and video courtesy of Fatdoor.com and Skyteboard.

 

Drone Startups part 8: Easy Drone

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

If you would like to make a good aerial photos and videos, you should have at least some knowledge of all the nuts and bolts of the gear you want to use. You must be able to set up your equipment, or in extreme cases you need to build, modify and calibrate the UAV you want to use, almost from scratch.

There are people, believe it or not, that are not that technically inclined, and they just want to take the flying machine, attach a camera to it, and fly it while making some breathtaking shots. They cannot choose a lot. One of the bestsellers that caters for that group is the DJI with the Phantom series of quadcopters. However, beside all the good sides, Phantom is not quite modular, and not that easy to transport.

That is where Easy Drone steps in. It is a flight ready, plug-and-play, out-of-the-box solution, for taking high quality aerial shots.

Easy Drone with Turnigy 9x RC

Easy Drone with Turnigy 9x RC

A modular frame, designed for the ease of transport and assembly, consists of detachable carbon rods with integrated motors and contacts, and can be assembled in mere minutes, without any tool. The Fly Bot command unit is then plugged in, and you are ready to go.

 

Frame assembling steps

Frame assembling steps

Plug the bot

Plug the bot

Impressive video of how small the transport box is and the ease with which the Easy Drone is assembled, you can see below.

The frame can carry up to 1,5 kg of load, which can include Sony NEX, Panasonic GH or Black Magic Pocket Camera with standard Sony lens. The command unit, Fly Bot is programmed to handle any combination of motors and blades, and will auto configure best settings without manual tuning.

Some of the key features of the Easy Drone are:

  1. Unique, light-weight frame – it is a proprietary design, that makes transportation and assembly breeze, while providing incredible strength
  2. One command unit – the Fly Bot, plug-and-play solution
  3. Fly Bot use on multiple frames – whether you prefer larger props and slower motors or other way around, just load the settings, and it will be optimized to a new frame
  4. Auto tuning – Easy Drone determines its own optimal settings
  5. Telemetry module built-in – connect to your computer or tablet to wirelessly change settings or choose a new flight path
  6. Video stream comes as a standard feature
  7. Flight data on the video screen – Altitude, speed, battery life and other data available on the preview video

 

Easy Drone mission planner

Easy Drone mission planner

Flight times are depending on the combination features and equipment turned on, but some average times are:

  • all features on (camera power, gimbal power, video link on) – approx. 12 minutes
  • gimbal on – approx. 14 minutes
  • no additional equipment – 16 minutes

Easy Drone is featured on Kickstarter. After only a couple of days the project has gathered 75% of the funds, and backers can grab their Easy Drone for $900 already. The success is no wonder, since it is an advanced modular multicopter (with built-in features such as automatic landing – check the video below), designed  for videographers that need quick, easy and affordable aerial shots. For more info on Easy Drone check their Easy Aerial webpage.

Launch date will be towards the end of the year. Parts are 95% finished, which means that assembly and shipping will start as soon as project is funded.

Dronologista considers Easy Drone one of the benchmark projects that can influence the design of multicopter UAV in the future, and will keep a close eye on new developments of Easy Drone.

Easy Drone – well done!

Drone Startups 7: Flexbot

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

Flexbot is the smallest UAV featured here so far. It is a tiny, crowdfounded, open-source nanocopter, which can be controlled by a smartphone. A successful Kickstarter project has more than $500K pledged, and a small army of followers and users worldwide.

FlexbotBut it was not always peachy keen for Flexbot. When it was founded it was called Hex, and the whole fundraising campaign was run under that name with large Hex logo included. However, at the end of 2013. backers were informed that due to copyright conflict, the name of the quadrotor has to be changed. It had a snowball effect on production, and the pre-Christmas launch was delayed until February this year. But that story is a history now, and Flexbot is shipping their product on a massive scale.

With the price of only $49 for the basic product, Flexbot is inexpensive and fun to fly. It is world’s first consumer electronic product that uses 3D printing technology to achieve personalization. Users can select one of several shell designs for their copter, or they can send their design and Flexbot will print it out for them.

Flexbot at the beechTiny drone comes with a cool app for a smartphone that is open-source and hackable. One of their more expensive  products, costing whooping $159, comes with a small 720p webcam that sends real-time video to users mobile device.

Flexbot App Screenshot

Assembly of the drone takes less than five minutes, and requires no soldering, which is kind of cool if you don’t have a soldering gun at your disposal. How easy it is to assemble this nifty little drone, you can see in this video:

Flexbot is a perfect device for everyone interested in flying drones, but not interested in tinkering with the frame, motors and other pieces of hardware. But if you do want to do that, you can create your customized, personalized, pimped out copter, you can hack the app and get the drone you always wanted.

Pictures and video courtesy of Flexbot.

Drone Startups 6: DroneDeploy

Dear friends,

Although only five months young, dronologista blog has grown and needs a new attire.

As of 1st of September, dronologista.com moves to a new hosting, new address and slightly changes the appearance . Content will remain the same, and dronologista will continue to provide information about non-military drones only.

Enjoy!

In this edition of Drone Startups, dronologista presents DroneDeploy, another startup from the Silicon Valley. Instead of developing hardware, DroneDeploy develops the cloud based software that manages operation of multiple UAVs.

DroneDeploy Logo

DroneDeploy Logo

The web-based control and management system offers drone operators things like:

  • browser-based operations control
  • fleet management and tracking
  • electronic filling of required paperwork
  • data logging

It allows simple workflows for things like high precision terrain surveys and precision agriculture mapping. Data collected is transmitted and shared in the real-time. In essence, it enables single person using one laptop to safely operate multiple commercial unmanned systems over the internet.

The DroneDeploy system consists of

  • UAV – any drone with APM or Pixhawk autopilot
  • DroneDeploy CoPilot – smart cellular telemetry radio that replaces original Ardupilot or PX4 autopilot
  • Cloud Control – web-based control software
Cloud Control

Cloud Control

 

Managing multiple drones is no simple affair, and up until now a single operator couldn’t cope with it. DroneDeploy is among first to tackle this problem, and the solution provided looks sound and feasible. Their simple and powerful platform will certainly help commercial UAS operators to get things done with their drones.

Interesting articles about DroneDeploy could be found in Gigaom, sUAS News and TechCrunch.

Pictures courtesy of DroneDeploy.