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Disruptive Drone Innovations (New Vision)

Parrot RTF Swing (X-wing) VTOL
Phone App Control Drone : 7-8.5min Flight
Bombing enemies, inspecting infrastructure, innovating logistics, searching with new perspectives and a video recording platform that spans the gamut of use cases ^^ Drones are a disruptive technological breakthrough changing that ways that people are able to see everything! 

I started flying a drone 6 years ago with an original A.R. Drone + iPod Touch ^^ long before the FAA required a license! I flew it with 3 batteries for 4 years then Meg sold it for me :) 

General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper 
In government Aerospace Defense the UAV's (drones) are replacing manned aircraft in all platforms from low radar signature stealth bombing to high resolution ground imaging espionage that provides superior performance when compared against classical space based satellite imaging technologies. Unmanned aircraft use less fuel, are made with fewer materials, weigh less, cost less and can travel further at faster rates with greater maneuverability, giving UAV's unmatched performance! Without a onboard pilot they also increase the safety of military personnel :) 

In the commercial sector drones are starting to deliver packages with Amazon and USPS at the forefront of logistics drone technology development! 

Amazon Prime Air Drone
ASCTEC Drone inspecting Cell Tower
Drones are being used to inspect bridges, cell phone towers, pipelines, electrical distribution lines, roof mounted HVAC air handling equipment, elevator shafts, skylights and other hard to reach infrastructure! At 1/100 or less the cost of a manned helicopter, search and rescue teams, law enforcement and security personal are now using drones to see in ways that were previously impossible. 

Drone Wildlife Photography
Drones can go places that helicopters are too big to reach. Drones are also silent by comparison to a traditional helicopter, allowing wild life photography that was never previously possible. 

Red Epic Drone Filming Platform

Filmmakers from hobbyist to hollywood budgets are flying everything from action cameras to epic RED digital cinema cameras.  

Photography Hobby FPV flight with HMD 
Absolute safety can be achieved with synthetic vision + AI! Intel's real sense drone piloting technology is an early example! 

Intel Realsense Drone Tech 

Add caption
Even a simple toy UAV like the AR. Drone 2 by Parrot makes use of sonar, multi axis gyroscopes & compasses, inertial sensors, synthetic dual camera vision analysis and other complex computing platform technologies that allow safe flight with HD video streaming FPV! 

CX-10 Drone
Toy Drones

Palm sized sub $20 drones like the CX10 represent the entry level of the RC drone platform technologies! The DJI Phantom 4 platform is at the top of the professional consumer drone tech spectrum. Expensive, elaborate, amazing drone technology is available to commercial, industrial and government customers at price points that would shock most consumers! 

DJI Phantom 4 
The drone toys of today are the result of cost reducing miniaturization technologies, cross platform IC technology integration, and sensor fusion technology that is also being used to provide early autopilot functionality in cars like the Tesla Model S that can pilot themselves. 

Syma X5C 
Syma makes an X5C drone that represents a good cheap sub $100 platform toy drone to practice with if you are just starting out, or want something less expensive to practice with! There are literally hundreds of small cheap drones in the market! Prices start to climb into the hundreds of $ when brushless motors are used, when FPV function is present and with greater performance possibilities. Get an RTF system if you are looking for a fast 5 min from unboxing to flight option! I recommend getting a few spare batteries too! 

Parrot Bebop 2
Consider Connections 

If you get a drone that uses Wifi or Bluetooth, beware that your control connection range is going to be limited to about 50 ft in practice, sometimes less in signal congested multi-family housing where everyone has 2.4Ghz wifi routers! 

Manufacturers will claim better range from wifi and bluetooth, but beware of their claims vs reality! The reality is that the 2.4Ghz spectrum is very crowded today because of wifi! 5.8Ghz often used to stream FPV video is also a busy spectrum because of wifi, so beware of degraded video quality feeds if you try to FPV in a RF heavily populated residential zone. 

Dedicated controllers with 200+mw of RF power are going to get you much better control range than a smartphone wifi control setup,  but anything over 25mw is technically going to require a special permit from the FCC. 

My first drone was wifi controlled and that was flaky even in a rural suburban setting with minimal RF pollution! Make sure to get a drone that uses something other than wifi or bluetooth if you want to fly the drone further than about 50ft away from you!

Google Play Store : Drone Simulator App 

Digital Flight Training

There are smartphone apps for IOS & Android that allow you to practice piloting a drone digitally without the risk of damaging actual drone hardware! There are good reasons to practice digitally as there is no good substitute to practice time on the "stick", even if the controls are on a touch screen, practicing more will make you a better pilot regardless of which physical drone platform you end up going with! 

A DJI phantom Kit 
The Platform 

Get some spare propellers, a few batteries, a bank battery charger, and set aside some time to slowly warm up your skills! Skill chain is the sequential building of new skills. This process is true when learning how to play a new instrument and similar when you are learning to pilot a drone, toy or otherwise. If you find a $40 drone, the platform is going to cost about $65 with spares!

Consider the newest DJI Mavic Pro. This foldable awesome drone is about $1000 raw, but you can easily spend many thousands total when you budget for a case, spare batteries, backup camera setup, spare motors, spare props, memory cards, FPV goggles, enhanced light bridge radios, better controllers, better antennas, better optics, better GPS, better AI vision control safety, etc, etc. 

Brushed vs Brushless
Brushless motors give better battery life, greater performance, longer functional life and are more advanced, more efficient and all around better than their cheaper brushed counterparts. Brushed motors are cheap but they wear out, so you might consider getting a set of spare motors for your mini-drone! 

Crashing + Safety & US Law

Drone crashes by new pilots are extremely common! Crashes can be minor without damage or expensive. Propeller blades often spinning at many thousands of RPM's and are therefor dangerous to eyeballs, so be extra careful if you are flying your drone near people. The blades are often made of plastic that breaks if you fly the drone into a tree, rock, concrete, vehicles, phone poles, buildings, walls, etc.

The drone racing league or DRL offers a desktop computer drone simulator that works on PC or MAC, but as of now the software is still in Beta testing form. I bookmarked this site and will be back to load it on my iMac with an Xbox controller as the UI at some point when that software is more polished! 

In the USA, if you drone weighs more than 249grams or 8.7oz, then to fly this drone outside your home you are going to need a $5 FAA license to do so legally! Please visit the following website in order to register your drone for legal operation outside your home!

Understanding Drone Batteries 

Almost all drones run on LiPo or lithium polymer batteries! 
These thin lightweight high energy density cells provide the best power to weight ratio of any affordable battery tech! 

Store 1/2 Charged Disconnected from Drone

Never Store LiPO batteries fully charged! Discharge them slightly to 3.8v and store them disconnected from your drone in a cool dry location! This is true of digital cameras, laptops, or anything lithium ion! 

Never Deplete to 0 % 

Never fully deplete a LiPo battery unless you want it to wear out after a dozen or so cycles. When you notice the charge is low, land, disconnect the battery, let it cool off for ~20min, then recharge it! 

Never Camp on Charger

Never leave a LiPo battery connected to a charger for a long period of time after it is fully charged. Doing so not only damages the battery by shortening its cycle life and ruining its charge holding performance quickly, it also posses a fire hazard. 

Prevent Fires 

Charge on a large ceramic tile or other fireproof surface like concrete! Never charge on a wood floor, carpeting, near curtains, sheets, clothing or anything else flammable like a filled propane tank, gas can, or natural gas line. Consider getting a charging container that is made of charging LiPo batteries safely! 

If you notice a LiPo pack swelling, heating up abnormally hot, off gassing, or doing anything unusual, immediately disconnect the battery from the drone, place the pack into a fireproof container, like a metal bin, and move the container outside to a well ventilated  area away from anything combustable! 


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