As always is yes, you know her very well miss miriam mcnabb from drone life news, miriam it’s a busy week and news i’m kind of excited to to talk about all these new things. But how was your fourth? You have a good one. We did. It was rainy and cold here in new hampshire, but we had fun anyway, and i was actually surprised at all the news that came out right before the holiday weekend uh. You know it was actually sort of an action packed week. So there you go, it sure. Was you know what but that’s gon na make for an exciting news show which brings us into our first piece of news: Music. Well, as many people have noticed in the industry, there’s not really a good lance provider or someone who can really showcase all the information regarding airspace in an easy to use and well consistent application. It seems like one new big software manufacturer who you might know their name has released an all new app to help drone pilots miriam what’s going on here. This was a really great story: it’s a wing so it’s google’s wing and they released their open sky app. It’S an app designed to help both recreational and commercial pilots. They are distributing it for free. They believe that uh, their app will be clearer and easier to use than something like know before you fly uh or something else, some of those other alternatives, because it’s based on google maps so it’s a it’s, something that most people are very familiar with sort of You’Re, raising your eyebrows, oh no, no but it’s, something that most people are familiar with so that’s that’s.
The theory is that this is going to be easy for pilots to use and wing says: hey we’re willing to offer this for free, because the quicker we can get everybody on board. You know using an app obeying the rules, the quicker we’re going to get commercial drone delivery operations up and running to scale helps. All of us really makes you wonder uh if that was their main motivator. Their miriam is to get more people on board to kind of accelerate the regulatory environment. Is that kind of the the? Are you picking up that vibe, or am i just making absolutely absolutely? I think that um, you know wing does believe in open skies for all. I think that they really have been pretty consistent on that messaging. I got it. I got ta give it to them on that so making this available to all flyers uh, but i do think that it is an investment in safe airspace for them that they’re just saying hey the the easier we make it for everybody to follow the rules. The easier we make it for everybody to uh, have safety, confliction and and so forth, the better off we are and the faster those commercial applications can really scale. No, i think, it’s really awesome. I downloaded the app myself this weekend just to check it out and i think uh what you said that they want to make it easier and more convenient utilizing the google maps platform.
It shows it absolutely shows and it’s interesting how they have. You know these checklists, where it really kind of provides more explanation of what these different things mean and i feel like oftentimes, newer pilots can get lost in the vernacular i mean i know i did for a while. So i think that this actually really really helps. Although i think open sky credit cards is going to be pissed regarding the name – oh well, that’s, google right, i personally have never heard of open sky credit cards, but i’m right there with with the google apps wing, so i don’t know. Oh i love it. I love it well in this next piece of drone news when i saw this first headline and i saw another, my head kind of hit the ground, but after reading more information from drone life news, i have to say this particular story regarding what well parrot has Just announced might actually turn your head. At least i know the photos comparing the drone to many flying insects caught my attention, but miriam it seems like they are avidly excited about this new release and i have to say if you haven’t seen this drone, it is wow. It looks like something literally out of this world miriam, so what is going on with the parrot another ai Music? Really a great story. That was one where you know parrot decided to release the news. I think it was june 30th last day of june or first day of july, one of those, but they um.
Let the media know in advance that we would have the opportunity to interview some of their stakeholders. I did get to do one of those interviews and i have to say it was it was so obvious how excited they were about this drone um, you know, really is the culmination for them. I think of 10 years of effort, it’s sort of every thing on their wish list and they were able to get it in the really interesting thing, as you were referring to with the insect eyes and parrot is playing this up, but it’s so fascinating. They have really studied and they’re not alone, on this i’ve written several stories about different researchers, uh doing work on this really studying how flying creatures manage to detect and avoid. You know how do insects detect and avoid, and the answer is those scary fly eyes that you know you see in horror, movies right? They have eyes that are on the sides and can see in all directions and can detect and avoid, and so parrot really worked at sort of adapting this idea for their drone. They came up with these lightweight sensors. They move in the direction that you’re flying really really interesting, stuff check it out on the article to to see the details, but it was inspired by nature. It was sort of inspired by the way that flying insects do detect and avoid uh that’s. One thing: the other thing is that it’s uh it’s very connected.
You know it has um connectivity, expanded it’s, it’s, just got all kinds of little features that are sort of designed to make it a little bit more future proof designed to kind of take advantage of future regulations and future applications. I think so some really groundbreaking features check out the article read the specs check out some of the videos i’m sure people will be coming out with uh, unboxing videos and and so forth, to really see what it looks like it’s um. It is kind of next level, so i do think that it’s it’s an exciting advance. I think some of these features will have to start becoming standard on other aircraft soon wow. So when you said that the obstacle avoidance follows the direction of the aircraft. Is that kind of how, when lexus i don’t remember when late 2000s was advertising their xenon headlights, that, as you turn the wheel, the headlights move too, is this kind of like the same thing i don’t know i don’t know i never drove this lexus. Unfortunately, well it’s really interesting the the features that they have come up with, as you mentioned the next level aspect of it. This is, it definitely shows how this is. You know, 10 years, as they say in the making, where it’s a culmination of ideas and whatnot. I uh i’m, you know, i have to say miriam. The anaphys of the past seemed really underpowered the the distance that you could fly them seemed kind of subpar, and i will say that, with all of the the very specific details that they’re alluding to in this release, it really seems like this is definitely the next Generation of aircraft for parrot, not just the next drone that they put out – and you know, it’s interesting because parrot has been a presence in the drone industry for so long, but at various times, it’s been greater or lesser right.
So when they first came in the very early days, you know the bebop was right up there with dji. They were fighting it out with dji and 3dr right, the 3dr solos, and you know they really. They did take a pivot to the commercial sector, but they’ve been building to this. You know with the anaphy. Maybe the drone was underpowered, but on the partnership side they have been partnering with everybody. I mean they are trying so hard to make this open source to get their sdks. You know easy to use to. Let everybody in to be able to you know, make this perfect for their own application and that’s that they’ve achieved with the anaphy ai. But you know, i think, i’ve, probably written 10 articles in the last year about partnerships and integrations that parrot’s been doing so. They really are trying to build just an incredibly functional ecosystem for the commercial industry. Yeah it’s really interesting how they focus on the fact that the sdk, the open source system was also created to allow users to manipulate different and code uh. Very specific use cases for these aircraft and that really kind of brings about a theme that we’ve been talking about for years here at drone. U, which is really creating these drones, to become true platforms to solve a lot of different problems, so this is actually really really really exciting. Frankly, and the fact that they are open to all these different partnerships, it really does seem that they are uh.
They are trying to leapfrog dji and if these features work as marketed, it seems that that would actually be a pretty easy leapfrog for them and i will say too miriam. My very first drone was an ar 1.0 from parrot. You know so i haven’t flown a parrot drone since so anyway. I remember um way back. I think it was like 2014 or 15 and henry seidu said said: it’s going to be a bloody year for the drone industry, i’m talking about competition and things like that and boy i’ve had opportunity to quote that so many times since it was. It was prophetic but they’re still in there um pitching and with this new anafi platform, with being included on the blue suas list for the nfa usa and with this new anafi ai platform, i think um really kind of taking back their position yeah. No, i mean they are definitely coming back and coming back uh with full steam ahead, that is for sure, but as we are seeing more and more drones miriam that are more and more built as platforms to solve specific problems. It seems like the faa has kind of fallen behind in really defining what some of these locations to fly might really mean and what it might mean for the responsibility of the pilot, and it seems, as we saw with the 2016 uh reauthorization bill with the faa, That the faa was asked to actually come up with some definitions and rules about flying around critical infrastructure.
What is critical infrastructure and miriam, as you have dug up this week in this next piece of news Music, it seems like the faa is so far behind that other agencies might be taking uh the issue into their own hands what’s going on here. This is uh. Actually, i really think that this is an important story for the drone industry to pay attention to and it came to my attention. Last week i got two different media advisories, one from auvsi indicating that they had co, sponsored a letter to the faa asking for attention to section 2209 and another media advisory from the united states chamber of commerce who had a huge list of not only drone companies. But infrastructure companies – you know oil and gas companies, nuclear power companies and so forth – also asking the faa to step it up on implementation of section 2. 209.. So i delve into this and did a little bit of research about what section 2 209 is it’s. Just a piece in the faa, 2016 reauthorization extension uh bill that that passed. That said, you know when congress enacts these funding packages for the faa, they always put in a task list um. So to speak with it, and one of the things that the faa was tasked with was defining critical infrastructure and creating sort of a list of critical infrastructure around which drones may not fly uh. So a list of prohibited areas based on critical infrastructure and the critical infrastructure can be anything from an amusement park in your town, where there’s going to be tons and tons of little kids to a nuclear power plant.
So the faa was tasked with creating this sort of central list of critical infrastructure, and they haven’t done that yet, and the reason that these other organizations are saying listen. This needs to be done as soon as possible. We really encourage you to do. This is twofold. First of all, because for as long as the faa does not say at the federal level, this property in your town is critical infrastructure and you may not fly over it. Then the local state and local authorities have come in and said we’re going to say no drones around this critical infrastructure. We’Re, defining this is critical infrastructure in our town or our state and we’re gon na say that drones can’t fly over it, so that’s leaving a big vacuum um in in establishing the federal right to say where you can and cannot fly i mean this is a Federal responsibility, if the federal agency doesn’t come in and say this is the list of critical infrastructure, state and local governments that come in to fill that void are really making it difficult for commercial drone. Pilots um the commercial drone industry to know easily where they can and can’t fly. You know a distributed list is going to be very, very difficult for any airspace intelligence app in the world to capture you know every single state, state and local thing now. The other thing that happens is that if you don’t have a central way of saying this is where you can and can’t fly.
This is critical infrastructure around which you may not fly. You also don’t have a central way for pilots, to ask permission for exceptions. That’S a very important point. So if all these state and local agencies are coming up with their own um, mishmash or web of rules, then it’s a very good question. How does the drone pilot actually acquire authorization to fly when airspace is controlled federally by the faa, which even some entities still think they control airspace i’m? Looking at you and ps um, but that said you know it’s very interesting because, as you sent these articles over for pre shows, like you know what i think the snowball has actually already rolled on this one, and i remember uh, going to lake powell a couple Of years ago, for a birthday trip – and i saw a brand new sign on the bridge, that said, you could not fly drones here and they stated some federal law i had never heard of before, and so i had to look it up. It was like 41 usc, 423.61 golf, if i remember that correctly, and essentially it was all about the fact that model aircraft were uh prohibited from flying in certain areas like this, this particular dam. The issue is: is that with ni uh advisory circular 97? What is it 97 uh dash, b, or something like that, where drones are no longer defined as model aircraft? They are defined in their own section as aircraft, which essentially makes those signs null and void.
But i think that this, as you said, is a very big issue, because the faa, their sole responsibility, is what it is to create a safe national airspace system period, end of story and when the faa is missing. Deadlines like this and state and local, and even some other federal agencies are coming up with their own conglomeration of interpretation of rules. It really makes you wonder if one is the faa really really doing their job and number two is the faa kind of their own worst enemy as far as eroding their credibility and authority, because you know i just saw a new post again on nps’s website that Showcased some memo from january of 2020, saying all drones are inhibited, but the memo from 2020 that they cited on the website was all about their inability to fly a certain foreign made aircraft and i’m. Like wait a minute. This has nothing to do with what you’re talking about. So it makes me wonder. Uh, i mean have you seen other examples of this, and do you think that the faa will actually respond to uh auvsi to the us chamber of commerce to help out these small businesses? Because for the chamber of commerce to get involved uh, they must have a lot of angry voices. You know yelling on their phone lines well, and these were big players that signed these letters too. These were not um, you know small shops. These were very big infrastructure companies and you know auvsi big advocacy group for the industry, consumer technology association, very large advocacy group.
I really think that um, you know the faa is, is trying to establish their federal authority over the areas and i think you’ve got some. Some sort of moving pieces right i mean you have to set up systems to hold the centralized list. You have to have a a way for people to apply uh to be on the list and so forth. It does get complicated, it’s, probably not as easy as it seems, but at the same time it is absolutely critical for the drone industry and it’s also so critical, so that drone pilots can get exempt from those rules when they have to say inspect a dam or A bridge which we are seeing all the time, especially in this most recent congressional report, stating just the absolute degradation of the united states infrastructure, it seems like this is not only important miriam but absolutely critical. So thank you for bringing it to our attention. I also think too, if you leave it open, you have state and local people able to say that anything is critical infrastructure. We don’t want people flying over our park. We don’t want people flying over our ball fields. We don’t want people, and they may say we don’t want people doing that until the day comes that you know, you have um organ transport and really life saving critical missions, at which point you really want them to have the most options possible for choosing route. That is so true miriam.
That is so true. Well, in our last piece of news this week, it seems like another american manufacturer is taking to the skies as they received 20 million dollars to actually produce a brand new drone to help with what oh yeah that’s right infrastructure miriam. What do you have so sky fish, full disclosure sky fish is a um drone life customer but uh. We love these guys. They’Re out in montana group of scientists go into a barn and come out with you know, it’s one one of those stories, but what they have really developed is a purpose built technology designed for engineering, and so the upshot is. This is very, very, very accurate. You get images of things like telecom infrastructure, whatever you can measure down to the centimeter, you can use those digital twins, those digital models for engineering purposes, and the reason that i really thought this was an interesting story was beyond the fact that um, you know, skyfish Got the investment at that point, but really that they have developed the technology to the point where they’re really offering an incredible return on investment for these big infrastructure companies for the engineering departments of these big infrastructure companies? And i think that early on you know several years ago we were all sort of waiting for the big infrastructure companies for the for big enterprise to sort of step up and scale really fast. And it has happened a little bit, but not to the extent that we all expected to see large enterprise adopt drone technology.
And i really think that that was a question of people were really trying to figure out like what is the return on investment here and we’ve got it in some areas. There is a clear return on investment in other areas. It has been a little bit: fuzzier um, you know, i’ve already got this department that’s functioning fine. Is it worth the barriers of bringing on a new technology and implementing it, and so with things like the skyfish product, we’re, really seeing a point where we’re reaching a significant return on investment for big enterprise and they’re, saying okay, now we’re ready? Now you just showed us something we can’t do without this tool: it’s saving us time, it’s, saving us money, it’s, improving our workflows, now we’ll jump in yeah, it’s, very, very interesting. It makes me uh wonder actually miriam. You know for so long. We’Ve been talking about the importance of photogrammetry for more technical solutions, utilizing drones and i have been complaining for years about how the same powerhouse drone remains. The same powerhouse drone and how are these manufacturers not seeing the value of having certain sensors in their aircraft? Certain types of cameras – and i noticed in the pr release which, by the way, appreciate your disclaimer and you know just for everyone. I had actually asked miriam about this story. She did not present it so we’re hearing about this. Just because i was curious, but long story short miriam uh.
You know they talk about to date. Skyfish’S amazing photogrammetry has been a bit of an industry secret. Is it rather an industry secret, or is it just kind of a hush, hush, prioritization and focus, whereas these other manufacturers? You know we just talked about parrot uh, we know what’s coming out with dji. You know we see what skydio has done and yet it seems like all of these manufacturers are so myopic on the price of these sensors that they’re kind of missing the boat on the power of photogrammetry. And here we have skyfish, saying hey it’s our secret. Is it your secret or is it that you totally understand the value of photography yeah? I really think uh having talked to skyfish kind of extensively um. I. I really think that it’s more of a question of these guys are scientists, so they were trying to solve a very specific problem and they put their heads down and went about solving this very specific problem. So you know they really were were like just had their heads down working with specific clients. Trying to you know solve these specific problems get to a level of accuracy that they could and then then you know their investors came in and said: hey you know you should you should tell people? You can do this, you know because they were, they were actually not having they’re, not having trouble getting clients. They actually have quite a few clients who have sort of you know: word of mouth, come to them and and through their efforts, but i think that um, they also have a big new manufacturing plant out in montana.
So i think they are have also sort of solved. The problem reached the technology that they want at the level that they wanted and now they’re ready to scale. The manufacturing too, i think that’s, another uh issue, so you know that they can produce more of these. More quickly now yeah now this is uh, it’s, really cool to see scientists come out and say: hey practicality, uh. So i like scientists anyway. I think this is actually a very cool uh development and just another american manufacturer that’s. You know pushing the boundaries to give us tools that we need uh, not tools that are designed in some sort of audience marketing box uh. So i really love this but uh miriam. Thank you again so much for your time this week in educating myself, but educating so many other pilots with this week’s drone life. News really appreciate you always fun to talk to you awesome. Thank you so much miriam and thank you to everyone who is watching. If you would leave us a comment, a review uh wherever you listen to the show. We would greatly appreciate that uh as always and that’s gon na do it for us this week.