8 Products Taking the Drone Industry to New Heights

Drones

The drone industry has grown at a rapid pace over the last few years. Every month, a newer, better and more affordable UAV seems to come onto the market, getting huge attention from enthusiasts and expanding the industry from a small niche into a mainstream hobby.

In 2015 and 2016, we saw some massive developments in drone technology. We also saw a few new developments around the drone industry, from AirBnB-style rent-a-drone websites to self-flying UAVs designed specifically for recording adventures.

Below, we’ve assembled a list of eight products – from digital marketplaces to self-flying UAVs – that are taking the drone industry to new heights in 2016 and beyond.

Droners.io

[browser-shot url=”https://droners.io/” width=”600″ height=”450″ a href=”https://www.thesitewizard.com/ target=”_blank”]

Droners is a marketplace for drone videography services. Think of it as an Upwork alternative for jobs related to drones. Users can submit a job that needs the services of a drone pilot and wait as local drone pilots review their listing and place bids.

Each bid is accompanied by the pilot’s reviews, portfolio and pricing. In a few hours, the user has a commercial drone operator waiting to film their event, all at a tiny fraction of the cost of hiring through an agency.

Aimed at realtors, wedding planners and video production companies, Droners makes getting qualified, experienced drone operators easy and affordable.

SkyWall

[browser-shot url=”http://openworksengineering.com/skywall” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3E9VwqZ0Xk

After a drone purportedly carrying radioactive material landed on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s home, security analysts around the world started looking at how to stop drones from potentially being used as weapons.

The result of this is Skywall — an anti-drone bazooka designed to protect people against UAVs at high-profile events, in private areas or in sensitive locations. The compressed gas powered launcher fires a net that wraps around the drone and controls its descent to the ground.

Aimed at governments and private security firms, SkyWall is produced by UK-based Openworks Engineering, which specializes in prototyping and product creation for the defense industry.

ParaZero SafeAir

[browser-shot url=”http://parazero.com/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME8AP4E3v80

ParaZero SafeAir is a protective ballistic parachute designed specifically for drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles. SafeAir is designed to prevent drones from crashing due to loss of control of mechanical failure, preventing property damage and potential harm to people.

Designed to deploy in just a few fractions of a second with minimal altitude loss, SafeAir uses auto-deployment technology that can detect sudden altitude loss, triggering the parachute to prevent safety risks from a malfunctioning or uncontrollable UAV.

Currently in development by Israeli engineering firm ParaZero, SafeAir can reportedly support drones of up to several hundred kilograms in weight.

Parrot DISCO

[browser-shot url=”http://blog.parrot.com/2016/01/04/ces-2016-new-drone-parrot-disco-prototype/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w1HIwrbWn4

At CES 2016, Parrot showcased one of its most impressive products yet. The Parrot DISCO is a ready-to-fly, wing-shaped drone that anyone can easily pilot. With an impressive 45 minute flight time, it’s the fast, maneuverable drone that enthusiasts have been waiting years for.

The Parrot DISCO connects via Wi-Fi to the Skycontroller or Flight Plan app. Drone takeoff and landing are controlled automatically, with a built-in autopilot system that controls the drone while it’s in the air, allowing the user to pilot it without any fear of stalling.

As one of the first wing-shaped drones aimed at everyone, the Parrot DISCO is an impressive piece of tech. Parrot hopes to have it ready for release by the end of 2016.

MOTA JetJat Nano

[browser-shot url=”http://www.mota.com/jetjat-nano-drone/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlitWM-7q6Q

MOTA JetJat Nano bills itself as the world’s smallest and lightest drone, and it’s hard to argue it doesn’t live up to its promises. The JetJat Nano so small that it’s only just longer than a typical paperclip, with a weight of less than half an ounce.

It’s also available for $40, making it one of the most affordable UAVs on the market. Despite its diminutive size and modest price, it’s capable of reaching heights of up to 75 feet, making it one of the best drones available for beginners interested in learning the basics of drone flight before moving onto a larger, more expensive UAV.

Cloudlight FPV & Zeiss VR One

[browser-shot url=”http://www.cloudlightfpv.com/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video (Unofficial): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDaujZ4QlK8

Cloudlight FPV is a mobile app that pairs drones with a Zeiss VR One virtual reality headset to give any drone pilot a first person view of their device. With the app and headset, drone pilots can remotely view and control certain DJI drones using a control pad or head tracking.

The VR One’s on-screen display provides battery, range and telemetry data, as well as a first person view of the drone’s camera. Head tracking allows the drone’s camera to track up and down based on the user’s head movement to capture scenes from any angle.

Priced from $129 with the Cloudlight FPV an app additional $10, the Cloudlight FPV and Zeiss VR One combo is arguably the most affordable first person drone VR system available today.

PowerUp FPV

[browser-shot url=”http://www.poweruptoys.com/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=162XTuVoJpw

PowerUp FPV is the world’s first paper airplane fitted with a live streaming camera. Powered by Google Cardboard, PowerUp FPV lets users control an unmanned paper plane drone with their head movements at a range of up to 300 feet.

With built-in autopilot mode, on-screen signal and telemetry information and a super wide angle camera capable of recording video, PowerUp FPV is a simple but massively power device. This product is currently in development after a very successful 2014 and 2015 Kickstarter campaign.

Hexo+

[browser-shot url=”https://hexoplus.com/” width=”600″ height=”450″ target=”_blank”]

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKy_Qa6lMU0

Hexo+ is a six-rotor hexacopter UAV that follows you around and records your actions via your smartphone. With a few simple smartphone controls, users can order Hexo+ to follow them and record footage, fly in a 360° pattern around them, or hover at a close or high distance.
Priced at $1,350 and sold without a camera (although it does support GoPro devices) Hexo+ is an expensive piece of tech aimed at drone and video enthusiasts. With a 40 mph top speed, it’s also one of the fastest and most maneuverable self-controlled drones on the market.

Which exciting drone products did we miss? Let us know via Twitter 🙂

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