Civil Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

version franšaise

Photokina 2016

Evolution of photography adapted from Lily drone designers view

The Photokina is a photo show that is every two years set in K÷ln (Deutschland) in September. It is most important mess of the world where photo manufacturers present their new cameras. This year, in a flat photo market, many leisure drones (UAVs) were presented.
The Americas comprised the largest market size for commercial drones as of 2014, and the APAC market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 37.74% between 2015 and 2020 among all the regions. The global commercial drone market size was estimated to be USD 552 million in 2014. Drones are also called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

DJI Phantom 3 4K

shooting picture with a leisure drone
(c) jarleton

drone GoPro Karma

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Matrice 600 with Hasselblad A5D

Alongside the traditional cameras, smartphones or actioncams, new connected devices now allow to take pictures unthinkable few years ago. For example leisure drones: They offer for the price of an advanced photo compact new perspectives. DJI proposes its bestseller Phantom 3 with camera included for $450 (September 2016).

GoPro that tries to diversify its market, presents the Go Pro Karma, a drone with folding arms to store it in a dedicated carrying case that also contents the remote control. The drone operates with a detachable 3-axis stabilizer that can be used with an actioncam independently of the drone. It accepts Hero 4 and 5 actioncams.
It is available at a price of $800 for drone Karma alone and $1100 for the Karma drone with HERO5 Black (October 2016).

A few days after Photokina, in response to Go Pro Karma, DJI presents the DJI Mavic Pro, a new drone with foldable arms, smaller than the Karma and that can fit in a backpack. It has a 4K movie mode or can take picture on 12 megapixels (28mm lens) and has many sensors (GPS and similar, ultrasound ...) allowing to fly autonomously, to track automatically the subject, to avoid obstacles, to keep a steady altitude or even to make a selfie by gesture recognition. Its sensors are duplicated to prevent incidents and it comes with a new more compact radio control.
The DJI Mavic Pro is also available for $1100 with the remote control (mid-October 2016).

If you prefer the DJI matrice 600 drone with the Hasselblad A5D, a middle format aerial camera of 50 or 80 megapixels, it will cost $26000 or more.

Royal eagles to "hunt" drones

a bird of prey catching a drone

The Dutch police use birds of prey trained to catch drones. The Dutch police called the company Guard From Above specialized in the use of birds of prey to intercept hostile drones.
This "low-tech solution for a high-tech problemö was taken over by the French Air Force which chose the royal eagles.
In November 2016, Air Division General Jean-Christophe Zimmermann indicated that the French Air Force had acquired four eggs of royal eagles in Austria. They hatched in the spring and were trained with encouraging first results. These eagles were fed on drones and should be operational in 2017-2018.
These eagles may be equipped with GPS tracers and cameras in order to identify the pilots of offensive drones.

One year after and despite intense training, the eagles didn't always act as intended, reports NOS, citing a statement from a police spokesperson. Given these training troubles, officials worries that the eagles might not perform as expected when used outside of their training environment.

Between this possibility and a (surprising?) lack of demand for drone-catching eagles, the program is now officially shut down.

pierre j.

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Texts of this page are on the responsibility of their author only.
The text on French law proposal is written by Marc David.
DJI, Go Pro, Hasselblad, Prox Dynamics are register or trade marks
Black Hornet, Predator, Reaper are products of these trade marks

Created September 29th 2016, Updated the December 14th 2017.
© Pierre J.