Dronin' OnHi all –

Not a bad title, there is plenty of scary stuff in here.

Another exciting week for me with the publication of my newest article Why Standards Will Be Critical To UAV Adoption in Commercial UAV News. The article was inspired by Geoffrey Moore’s classic, Crossing The Chasm. It introduces the db.c UAV Industry Standards Stack. And it includes interviews with a cast of industry notables. Hope you can find a minute to read it – the feedback has been amazing – would love to know what you think.

Monday I’ll be at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas for Halloween in the drone cage. I will then be on the Expo floor at Table #6 interviewing people to get their input into the 2017 Commercial UAV Implementation Survey. Please come by and say hey. As is becoming traditional, next week’s Dronin’ On will be a
show report.

From the north comes a very significant article. Transport Canada Reflects, Resets Drone Laws. As the title suggests, the rules are about to get tighter for anyone flying a drone over 250 grams – whether commercial or recreational. The rethink comes from the recognition that a recreational drone can hurt someone just as badly as a commercial drone so they are upping the age limit, licensing hobbyists and requiring liability insurance. Micro ARC, listen up…

Sweden has made the use of camera-equipped drones illegal without a hard to get surveillance permit. That includes the press.

We are almost 60 days in and articles are beginning to appear about the FAA Waiver process. The Whole Part 107 Waiver Thing looks at it from a number of viewpoints – the FAA is pleased – the airmen not so much. I love how Denton’s Mark McKinnon put it “This is but one of the latest manifestations of the fact that drones/UAS are airplanes and, as such, are heavily regulated.” Welcome to
the dance.

Just how regulated is spelled out in a new post and a spiffy infographic from Jonathan Rupprecht3 Federal Agencies Will Want To Know When You Crash Your Drone. Aviation safety is data driven so there are good reasons for it. Bonus prize for anyone who can name all three.

After the very public DNC hacks and last week’s DDoS attack that took out chunks of the Internet, privacy is very much top of the national mind. A new study shows that people are increasingly willing to trade privacy for security, and that 74% have limited their online activity in the past year. Even if you say “well it’s a VPN newsletter,” that’s a lot.

Which makes a nice segue to an excellent interview that Greg McNeal did with his fellow exec Jared AblonAirMap’s Chief Information Security Officer. Jared addresses the kinds of things that too many in the industry have been reluctant to acknowledge, calling for “aligning around some common-sense, specific security standards…for protecting the C2 data link, encrypting data channels, mitigating navigational sensor (such as GPS) attacks, hardening applications, and securing against physical access attacks.”

I can just hear the “come on mans”. DSMx Exploit Reveals Drone Vulnerabilities describes how any drone that uses the DSMx protocol (Horizon and many others including perhaps Yuneec and 3DR) can be taken over. One of the team adds that “We could have just as easily implemented it to attack DJI and Futaba systems.” There are a couple of long quotes from team members who are decidedly white hat – the message is pretty clear, it’s no longer about if but
how often.

Which takes us back to Mark McKinnon with an update on anti-drone testing. Turns out that some enterprising manufacturers have been cutting deals with airports for testing. The FAA just sent out a blanket letter saying not so fast or we’ll pull your grant. Sounds like something that could hurt.

Mark writes “Anti-drone technology is still in the early stages. A cautious approach may be warranted until the competing technologies have demonstrated their safety and effectiveness. There is no reason, however, why the legal issues cannot and should not be worked out now. The last thing we need is to yet again reach a point where proven technologies have to sit on the shelf while the FCC, DHS, and others start their rulemaking processes.”

All of this becomes particularly interesting played against a new article from Colin Snow about the overwhelming market acceptance of prosumer drones which in part hit their price points by eschewing all of those concerns – instead creating unique ones of their own. It is going to be fascinating to see how these two market drivers – price and privacy – play out.  To be fair, long term solutions depend in no small part on the FCC allocating some spectrum.

When’s a hit not a hit? When you can’t ship it for Christmas.

DJI is having problems with the Mavic supply chain. From a leaked internal memo: “The truth is, that is only a very small quantity of it released to comfort the market. (Please make this confidential, just for you dealers.) Please try your best to convince your customers to stick with you, don’t cancel their preorders. IF they head to DJI official store for it now, they will have to wait much longer to get it because there are hundreds of thousands of preorders in line on DJI official store now and they will have to take care of it for the whole globe.”

Availability is also keeping GPRO share prices gyrating. Not to say I told you so, because I did. This is the kind of hard stuff that Apple wasn’t very good at either 25 years ago. It is exactly what Tim Cook brought to the party. Don’t know if it is a hardware or software issue but my bet is that both companies will ship first, fix later – especially if it’s software.

It will be pretty amazing if this race to market kills GPRO and Frank Wang knocks off two US competitors in one year… This head-to-head review suggests that it’s all over but the crying… but you’ve got to ship.

BTW I have finally published my analysis of the proposed 3DR pivot to software. Looking forward to Chris Anderson’s keynote Tuesday. Wondering if the message will be a bit more grounded this time.

Not quite Eye Candy material, but definitely good fun is the FPV of Bapu’s winning run at the first Aloha Cup, the qualifying round for the Drone World Championships. His technique looks a lot like breaking the tail loose on a 911 to set up the next turn.

180+ pilots from 30+ countries made the trip to O’ahu. American Shaun Taylor was the big winner. Organizer Bruce Parks reports that “It was fun and a lot of work. Getting something like this off the ground without enough $$$ is hard to do. Kualoa Ranch is simply stunning.” If you’re wondering, the Ranch is where they shot Jurassic Park. No worries Bruce. More money is on the way.

Thanks for reading and for sharing.


Christopher Korody
follow me @dronewriter

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