A Tethered UAV Solves the Biggest Problem With Drones

Tethered UAV “Unleashes” Perpetual Drone Flight Time

The major problem with using drones for aerial surveillance, mapping, or inspection is the limited battery life.  Landing every 20-30 minutes to swap out batteries is a major pain.

Though the Tesla drone under development will have up to 60 minute flight time, a Boston-based upstart has a better solution.

CyPhy works has developed an ultralight microfilament tether to allow indefinite flight time, and data transfer.  They’ve coupled it with their newest drone system, called PARC (Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications).

“It’s basically a robot with unlimited time-of-flight. You send it up and it stays there,” said Cyphy Works founder Helen Greiner at the recent EmTech 2015 conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

tethered uav

The real secret is the ultra-light tethering cable developed by Cyphy.  Their tether is more like fishing line than a wire.  It  allows a 500 ft. flight altitude, and has an automatically controlled spooled real on the ground unit, to keep constant tension.


Key benefits of the PARC tethered UAV system are:

  • EXTREME ENDURANCE  Ground power enables flight durations measured in days, not minutes.
  • SECURE COMMUNICATIONS  Direct connection with GCS can’t be intercepted, jammed, or spoofed
  • HIGH DEFINITION VIDEO  High quality, full frame rate, unbroken, hi-def video
  • NIGHT VISION  Combined EO/IR means no need to swap payloads when lighting changes
  • GYRO STABILIZED CAMERA GIMBAL  Clear video starts with stable video
  • 500 FEET ALTITUDE  See and communicate farther
  • FLEXIBLE POWER INPUT  Connect to generator, grid, vehicle, or other power source.
  • AUTONOMOUS OPERATION  Launch, hover, and land automatically
  • COMPUTATIONAL POWER  Vehicle has real-time access to GCS computer

Cyphy is also exploring the drone delivery market, following Google and Amazon.  Their most recent funding round of $22 million came from UPS and other venture capital firms.  They also have hobby drone models under development.

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Article & images source

Drone Flyover Of “Secretive” Apple Spaceship Campus

Apple spaceship campus

Progress Flight Over Apple Campus #2 Construction

Hey guys!  Check out the steady progress of the new Apple Campus 2, currently under construction.

You can see why they call it the Apple Spaceship Campus!

Watch the September 2015 progress video, narrated by Steve Jobs

Some Quick Facts:

  • Location:  Cupertino, California
  • Employ 12,000 people
  • 2.8 million square feet ring building (The Pentagon is 3.7M SF; currently the world’s largest office building)
  • 100,000 square foot fitness center
  • 120,000 undergound auditorium for hosting events
  • Scheduled to be completed at end 2016
  • Hundreds of trees and orchards will adorn the campus (apples maybe!?)
  • Central garden inside the ring

Aligning with Apple’s “tight-security” directives, the entire campus will be surrounded by earth-berm banks which obstruct views from the adjacent community.  However, the campus will contain a visitor’s center, complete with a cafe, observation deck, and an Apple store (of course!).

Watch the updated Set-Oct progressvideo

Update:  In San Jose, Apple is securing a development agreement for a plot of land that could hold a 4.15 million square foot campus!   As if the 2.8 Million Apple Spaceship Campus wasn’t big enough!

Thanks to UAV pilot Duncan Sinfiel for these flyovers!

image via

You’ve Probably Never Seen Istanbul Like This

Incredible Aerial View of Istanbul From A Drone

Istanbul is the 5th most visited city in the world today, with over 12 million visitors in 2015.  But how many have seen it like this?  These are some incredible views, shot with a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.

See if you can spot these famous landmarks in the video below.

1. The Hagia Sophia Museum was originally built as a church in the 6th century by the Justinian the Great.  It was once used as a mosque, but now is a museum.


2.  The Bosphrus waterway is one of the busiest in the world.  It’s the only route between the oil-rich Black Sea and the Mediterranean.  Over 200 million tons of oil are shipped through this channel each year.


3.  Maiden’s Tower  is located at the south entrance of the Bosphorus waterway, and has a history dating back to ancient times.  It was used as a strategic defense tower, watch tower, lighthouse, barracks, and quarantine station. In modern times, it was used in the 1998 James Bond movie “The World Is Not Enough”.  Now, it’s a popular restaurant.



Can you spot these landmarks in this video?

Special thanks to Adem Duvan for this awesome video – see his you tube channel for more cool videos.

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image 1 source: “Turkey-3019 – Hagia Sophia (2216460729)” by Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada – Turkey-3019 – Hagia SophiaUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.

Image 2 source: “Ships under Second Bosphorus Bridge (September 2011)” by TariqabjotuOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Image 3 source: “Maidens Tower“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

Drone Camera Reveals Alarming Greenland Ice Melt

Up Close View Of Earth’s Climate Change From Drone Camera

There is very little on-the-ground data that researchers have to show how fast the earth’s polar ice melt is happening.

This mission of this recent expedition was to collect actual data to help scientists better understand how fast the ice is melting, and predict rising sea levels.

While there, NY Times staff member Josh Haner was able to capture this beautiful, and terrifying footage of the ice melt with his drone camera.


Part of this drone video was used as an exciting interactive online feature that shows the melting of earth’s the largest ice chunk.

The cold temperatures limited the drone’s batteries to about 8 minutes flight time, so the flight had to be very carefully planned.

Also, the brittle nature of the ice made it too dangerous to recover the drone if it crashed!

Watch the video if the ice melt below, and share what you think about this!

See the crash landing of the drone on the next page–>

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All 5 Shark Tank Investors Are Now In The Drone Business

2 Drone Guys Get Rare Backing Of All Shark Tank Investors

When was the last time all the Shark Tank Investors backed an investment?  It rarely happens, but these 2 drone guys pulled it off.  Not only that, they even got more money than they asked for!

Watch the Sharks take the bait!

Xcraft is the Company, and they make the XPlusOne UAV, which is a hybrid between a quadcopter and an airplane.

Xcraft also has a new product in development that turns a smartphone into a drone, and it’s called the “Phone drone”.  After this episode of the shark tank aired, the funding goal for the drone phone kickstart was met in just 1 hour!

Article via

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Drones Emerging As Profitable Tool For Construction Industry

The Future Of Construction With Drones

The construction industry relies on skilled labor, with problem-solving skills that are beyond reach of the most advanced robotics today. Nevertheless, UAV’s are already being used in strategic situations, to help inspect buildings more efficiently, and safely at construction sites using aerial imaging capabilities.

For example, Danis Construction based in Dayton OH recently acquired a DJI phantom drone, and had this to say:

“There are a lot of ways this could help us do things more safely,” said Rob Mauro, MEP coordinator for Danis. “Whether it’s surveying an unsound roof or some kind of situation where we need to set up scaffolding or where there’s risk involved, this could help.”

Beyond aerial inspections, and mapping, UAV’s can actually be used to build structures.  In Switzerland, researchers have used a fleet of quadcopters to assemble a 6-meter tower by laying 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam bricks.


The installation involves a fleet of quadrocopters that are programmed to interact, lift, transport and assemble the final tower, all the time receiving commands wirelessly from a local control room. The tower, which will boast a height of 6 meters (19.7 feet) and a diameter of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet), will be constructed within a 10 x 10 x 10 meter (32.8 x 32.8 x 32.8 foot) airspace, in which up to 50 vehicles can be tracked simultaneously

This video shows a swarm of quadcopters flying in coordinated formations, and even around obstacles. It demonstrates the huge potential for construction automation.  In fact, Swiss researchers have programmed quadcopters to build a working rope bridge.

Worldwide, drones are helping construction companies save time, money and risk with data collected with aerial mapping and inspections.  And with future advances in artificial intelligence, UAV’s may actually become master builders themselves!

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Articles & images via and via

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Incredible Drone Footage Of Danny Macaskill

Hot Shot Mountain Biker Defies Death On A Scotland Ridge

Danny Macaskill is a 29 year old Scottish trials cyclist from Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye.  He’s famous for riding all over the world, but here he’s returned home.

In this video, he climbs to the top of the rocky Cuillin Ridge, then rides it down to the sea shore, doing some amazing stunts along the way.

The quadcopter shots are remarkable – Enjoy!

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Drone Flyover Of Tesla’s New Gigafactory

An Early Look At A Building That Could Change The World

When completed, this 5.5M sq. ft building outside Sparks Nevada will produce batteries for Tesla cars, allowing production of affordable electric cars.

Elon Musk intends for this building to propel humanity forward to sustainable transportation, by bringing the entire lithium-ion battery manufacturing process under one roof.  Battery production would start in 2017, and be up to full scale production by 2020.

Not only will it be the biggest lithium-ion producing factory on earth, but bigger than all existing Li-ion battery facilities in the world combined!

Watch the video and share what you think!


See Tesla’s Next Generation Drone Design

The entire building will be completely powered by renewable energy via rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal energy.  The factory is perfectly aligned with true North to maximize solar efficiency, and allow GPS placement of the internal production centers inside the building.

The roof should be completed by Feb 2016.  Solar panels will be installed later, but the white covering will keep the roof cool, and optimize solar panel efficiency.


The Gigafactory’s electrical infrastructure reportedly cost approximately $300,000.


The foundation alone cost an estimated $16 million, and just the steel and concrete for the buildings mezzanine cost nearly $13 million.


Let us know what you think!

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Thanks to Tech Insider and Tesla’s gigafactory for this article!

The First Anti-Drone Jamming Gun To Neutralize Hostile UAV’s

Radio Jamming Gun Can Disable UAV’s To 400 Ft. Away

The latest in counter-UAV (C-UAV) technology is this portable radio jammer gun. It emits an instant 30 degree cone of radio waves, that can quickly and safely neutralize a percieved drone threat.

Check out this simulation video of an anti-drone gun disabling naughty drones.

This anti-drone gun is being developed and tested by Battelle, a security R&D company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

Even though the video was a demonstration, the company creators say that it has been successfully tested.

This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

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To read more, check out Battelle’s press release.

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How To Use DJI Auto-Flight Modes App

Use These To Sharpen Your Quadcopter Camera Skills

DJI phantom 3’s and DJI Inspire 1’s have some new automatic flights mode apps to capture great shots (like follow me, waypoint, point of interest, etc.)

This is a really helpful demonstration video on how they are used.

Thanks to Colin Smith for testing and reviewing these modes!  He ran into a snag on one of them , but found a work-around right on the spot.

Watch and happy flying!