Sniffer Robotics, a leading environmental technology enabled services firm, has announced first and substantial close of a $2 million seed funding round, led by the Michigan Angel Fund. Other investors include Michigan Rise, Naruhisa Nakagawa (founder of Caygan Capital), and Abhishek Desai of Desai Ventures (London).
The start-up, founded in late 2016, developed a patented, drone-based solution to detect methane leak sources at ground level. Its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), the SnifferDRONE, is a comprehensive system to automate a hazardous and labor-intensive methane emission monitoring method where technicians walk miles to manually inspect landfills, natural gas pipelines, and similar land-based applications.
In a short period, Sniffer has become a top solution and service provider for ground based emissions monitoring. This capital raise provides funds for continued product development and expansion.
Skip Simms of the Michigan Angel Fund stated “
We were happy to lead this Seed round for Sniffer Robotics. SR has a product and service that falls under the category of ‘why hasn’t someone already thought of this’. They now have first mover advantage in a huge market. The EPA has recognized their value for the environment and waste industry by approving them as a qualified vendor for reporting. Customers repeatedly confirm the value proposition with the savings they provide. And they have the IP to protect their launch. This capital gives them the fuel for acceleration.”
“I’m very grateful to the investors who see the value we offer our customers and the environment and look to harness the momentum from our US EPA approval and successful capital raise to drive the scale we all envision for this business”
said Arthur Mohr, Jr, CEO.
Mohr explains that the new funding will allow for building his company’s “key foundational staff” in addition to aiding in product development.
“We saw an opportunity to automate a very hazardous and time-consuming process through drone technology,” Mohr says. “The drone doesn’t fully eliminate the use of people to do this work. We also employ field technicians.”
Sniffer Robotics has deployed its technology in landfills to reduce production of the greenhouse gas methane, but has recently expanded its services into the natural gas and biomass industries, such as wood and wood waste. However, Mohr says, “anyone who needs to monitor methane emissions on land-based applications” could utilize the SnifferDRONE and Sniffer Robotics’ services, such as aerial imaging.
The funding round was led by the Michigan Angel Fund established by Ann Arbor SPARK and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Michigan Angel Fund focuses on providing funding through investors to Michigan-based “capital efficient early stage companies.” Mohr says he chose to found Sniffer Robotics in Ann Arbor both because he lives there and because of the support available at Ann Arbor SPARK.
“SPARK offers really good opportunities for small businesses and people with startup ideas, and they have really good mentorship resources,” Mohr says. “Washtenaw has been really good to us. We’ve been growing from our virtual Ann Arbor office and hope to expand soon.”
Sniffer Robotics also participated in SPARK’s Entrepreneur Boot Camp program in 2016, another service which Mohr found extremely helpful to the company.
“Washtenaw has a really beneficial organization here with SPARK that creates jobs and value for the state,” Mohr says. “We hope to be another one of SPARK’s success stories.”
Bodman PLC assisted Sniffer Robotics as legal counsel in the Series Seed financing.
Sniffer Robotics is an environmental technology enabled services firm serving waste, natural gas, biogas, and related industries. Sniffer’s technologies and services improve emission detection and measurement, odor leak identification, and revenue generation from increased gas capture for conversion to energy. To date, Sniffer has completed projects in 28 states on 150+ sites, identifying 16,500+ methane leak sources for remediation. Improving operations and our environment, Sniffer provides aerial (drone-based) and field services, automation tools, and comprehensive software analytics and reporting solutions.
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05/20/2023 10:54 am GMT
Dimensions: 251 x 362 x 70 mm when unfolded with the propellers attached Weight: Under 249 grams Max Range: 7.5 mi Max Altitude: 500 m Max Speed: Up to 35.79 mph Max Flying Time: 47 mins Video Resolution: 4K HDR
Lightweight enough that you can enjoy looser flight restrictions and shouldn’t have to register the drone
Its Global Navigation Satellite System uses BeiDou plus Galileo plus GPS
Can fly quite fast
Has a great camera
The flight time is only really impressive with the Intelligent Flight Plus Battery
The DJI Mini 3 pro is a lightweight, zippy little drone. Its sub-250-gram weight means you can bypass drone registration with the FAA.
You can also partake in laxer drone laws in the United States and other parts of the world due to your drone’s weight.
Flying over crowds? No problem! Getting nearer to buildings? You can do it with a drone like this!
Foldable and eager for travel, the Mini 3 Pro is designed for day and night flights alike. However, don’t forget that you can’t fly a drone after dark legally in many parts of the world.
How does the Mini 3 Pro handle night flights? It has a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that produces HDR output and dual native ISO.
The greater dynamic range in your photography means all the rich detail comes through loud and clear. This drone can shoot in 48MP image quality and up to 4K HDR video.
By default, the Mini 3 Pro can fly for 34 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery. If you upgrade to the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus, now you’re looking at a flight time of up to 47 minutes.
That battery also increases the drone’s hovering time to 40 minutes (it’s 30 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery).
FocusTrack is a suite of tools with the latest Point of Interest, ActiveTrack, and Spotlight to make it easier for your drone to track you.
GNSS positioning enables the Mini 3 Pro to hover 0.5 meters vertically and horizontally. This drone uses BeiDou, Galileo, and GPS as part of the GNSS system.
To keep your drone safely in the skies, the Mini 3 Pro has tri-directional obstacle sensing. The dual-vision sensors work downward, backward, and forward to keep you safer in the skies.
Upgraded APAS 4.0 uses real-time detection to always keep the drone free of obstacle collision.
OcuSync 3.0 works up to 12 kilometers away and maintains a sturdy 1080p/30 fps video quality when transmitting live feeds.
You can also toggle between portrait and landscape modes thanks to the highly efficient rotating gimbal, which can move 90 degrees.
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05/20/2023 03:04 pm GMT
Dimensions: 83 x 83 x 198 mm Weight: 743 grams Max Range: 8 mi Max Altitude: 500 ft Max Speed: 40 mph Max Flying Time: 27 mins Video Resolution: 4K
Still a good drone even though it’s older
Long flight time
The Mavic Pro is no longer in production
Its version of OcuSync doesn’t stack up with modern DJI drones
A little expensive for its age
See the world more uniquely with a quadcopter drone like the Mavic Pro. Once more, we must add the caveat that this isn’t the newest drone, but that doesn’t make it a poor pick at all. Quite the contrary!
The Mavic Pro is equipped with twice the sensors so that if one set ever fails, you don’t have to worry about your drone losing sensor functionality. The other set would just kick in.
The GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning allows the Mavic Pro to hover in a precise location. The GPS only works for outdoor hovering, but this drone can hover indoors.
FlightAutonomy technology provides 15 meters or 491 feet of obstacle avoidance so your drone doesn’t crash.
The TapFly feature is designed for beginners. Select a spot on the map, and the Mavic Pro will automatically venture there.
You can feel like a drone pro even if you’re not seasoned yet! Once you do get some experience under your belt, the Mavic Pro works with DJI Goggles.
Hover the Mavic Pro, gesture for it to take photos or selfies, and use Tripod Mode to slow down the drone’s trajectory so you can take photos or videos.
This drone can truly do it all, even if it isn’t the hottest new drone from DJI.
Small and tidy, the Mavic Pro can fly for up to 27 minutes. The camera isn’t too shabby for its age, as it can take 4K 30 fps video.
Its electronic image stabilization and three-axis gimbal make taking steady footage on your drone as easy as pie.
The Mavic Pro includes OcuSync to transmit 720p video up to 7 kilometers. This is the first version of OcuSync, so it’s just okay, nothing to write home about.
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05/20/2023 08:49 am GMT
Dimensions: 249 x 90 x 233.5 mm Weight: 538 grams Max Range: 800 m Max Altitude: 200 m Max Speed: 40.3 mph Max Flying Time: 17 mins Video Resolution: 4K
Has an acro mode
Flies like an FPV drone
No longer in production
If you’re not experienced with FPV, you’ll find this drone tough to use
Although it’s no longer produced, the all-in-one SwellPRO Spry+ Plus drone is still worth discussing.
This waterproof action drone, as the manufacturer declares it, can take to the sea and sky effortlessly and interchangeably.
Follow-me mode enables the Spry+ to track your every move. No matter where you go, the drone will continue to keep you in the frame, although sometimes at an angle.
The drone’s GPS functionality gets to shine in return-to-me, an RTH mode that sends the drone to wherever it took off from.
Are you into fishing? Although SwellPRO has gone on to make several drones specific for fishing, the Spry+ has some fishing features that would put a smile on any angler’s face.
For instance, the drone can release your baits and fishing line when there’s too much tension on the line.
Turn on Circle Mode, and the Spry+ will begin circling around a specific point depending on the radius you select. This is an excellent mode for beginner drone pilots eager to begin photographing.
The Spry+ has acro mode like you see in FPV drones.
You should be an experienced pilot before attempting to fly in acro. You’ll have less control when you do, which could put your drone at risk of crashing.
SwellPRO also notes that you must use an acro remote controller and set the firmware configuration properly, as you can’t fly in acro by default.
Instead, you’ll operate in manual mode, which doesn’t hold positions and allows you to freestyle.
You can also use ATTI mode to hold the drone’s altitude, or GPS mode, which allows the drone to hover at a specific altitude and position without wavering.
The built-in color display and zero-latency video feedback the Spry+ promises with its included LED screen in the GL1 FPV Googles will make watching your drone fly a truly amazing sight. You’ll feel like you’re the one in the air!
The Spry+ can achieve some incredible speeds in manual mode, up to 65 kilometers an hour, and in just five seconds when starting from zero kilometers an hour!
That’s all due to the drone’s awe-inspiring propulsion system.
The 4K camera uses a Sony 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting 2.7K 60 fps or 4K/30 fps video. You’ll also enjoy 12MP-quality photos.
The camera’s lens is designed to reduce that undesirable fish-eye effect.
The camera hides within a glass, water-resistant dome.
The drone’s waterproof outer casing also keeps it from getting damaged if it takes a dip. The dome shape is designed to lessen distortion while elevating transparency.
An included dome shade reduces glare, while a hydrophobic coating prevents water drops from settling on the dome.
Also beneficial is the electronic image stabilization system the Spry+ boasts, which will keep your photos and video footage stable and sure.
5. Hubsan Zino
Dimensions: 11.99 x 9.93 x 3.54 in when unfolded Weight: 1.56 lb Max Range: 1 km Max Altitude: N/A Max Speed: 22 mph Max Flying Time: 23 minutes Video Resolution: 4K
Plenty of GPS modes to choose from so you never get separated from your drone
Good-quality camera for drone photography and videography
Custom, automated drone flight options for easy trips to the sky
Doesn’t have the furthest range
Doesn’t achieve very high speeds
Next, we have a pick for those seeking a GPS drone for less, the Hubsan Zino.
Enter Headless Mode and use your drone independent of the camera direction. For instance, the Zino will venture away from you if you push the stick forward.
Although not as lightweight as the mini version of the Zino, the OG Zino is still travel-friendly with its portable, foldable frame.
Brushless motors lend this drone great durability, and an Intelligent Flight Battery promises a fight time of up to 22 minutes.
Speaking of battery, the Zino includes a low-battery failsafe feature.
When your drone battery begins to deplete, the Zino will either land or use return-to-home. It will also do this if it loses its usually reliable GPS signal.
Should you lose your remote control connection, the Zino will similarly use RTH. It’s also smart enough to know when to cancel RTH, such as if you can reconnect your remote controller.
Otherwise, this drone will use RTH when you access it through the app.
Another great GPS feature is custom waypoints. Open the Zino app, select a point on the map, and the drone will automatically fly it there.
You can also use the app for the Line Fly feature, which allows you to choose a custom direction and angle for the Zino to fly straight.
The Zino includes an HD 4K camera with an included three-axis gimbal.
The gimbal is capable of yawing, rolling, and pitching to help you take exceptional footage on your adventures. You can even capture 360-degree panoramas!
6. Walkera Vitus 320 Starlight
Dimensions: 279 x 113 x 229 mm Weight: 920 grams Max Range: 0.93 mi Max Altitude: 9 ft Max Speed: N/A Max Flying Time: 22 mins Video Resolution: 1080p
Good for search and rescue and other agency drone uses
Has a dual GPS
The app offers AR modes for making drone flights more exciting
Hand gesture selfies and other automated modes
Has a very small operating range
The camera leaves something to be desired
How about a drone with a dual-module GPS? The Walkera Vitus Starlight uses a GPS/GLONASS system that maintains drone stability even when you select a fixed point or leave this UAV to hover.
What about when you don’t have good satellite reception, like when you’re using a drone indoors?
The Vitus Starlight has an optical flow camera and an infrared sensor for obstacle avoidance so you can fly without stress.
With the free Walkera app, you can track your drone’s speed, heading, position, and altitude in real-time.
You can also launch and land your drone with one key, plan flight routes, automate flights, and reverse course if the drone veers out of control.
Here’s something else cool the app can do, AR! You can add AR overlays when flying your drone in three fun modes.
Combat Mode adds a cockpit overlay, rockets, dogfights, and laser cannons. Racing Mode makes flying your drone a virtual race, and Collection Mode is all about racking up floating icons through the app!
The Vitus Starlight uses a DEVO-FS8 remote controller that’s included with your purchase.
Small, handheld, and manageable, the controller has two thumbwheel sticks for adjusting the gimbal and the drone while you fly.
Moreso, the controller offers a mobile phone holder and antenna.
This smart drone understands hand gestures, so depending on what you do with your hands, the drone will take selfies!
You can also use the Smart Follow feature to have your drone follow you. Its internal obstacle sensing will keep it safe on its path.
You can also rest assured with three-directional obstacle avoidance. Triple sensors detect hazards on the right, left, and front of the drone up to 16.4 feet away.
If you’re about to crash your drone into an obstacle anyway, the Vitus Starlight will slow down to minimize the impact of the collision.
Another exceptional feature is the night vision gimbal, which utilizes a high-speed shutter to reduce low-light sensitivity and long exposure times.
However, do be forewarned that these features are more designed for search and rescue and law enforcement, as commercial and recreational pilots can’t legally fly at night.
The gimbal camera is capable of taking 1080p 30 fps video.
GPS technology in drones doesn’t have to be expensive, as this list proves.
Whether you’re interested in a waterproof drone, a DJI model, or something else entirely, there’s a GPS drone out there for you at an affordable price point!
AI Enabled Drone Self Navigates in Flight Over Sydney Harbor
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
From Sydney Harbour’s Goat Island, an AI enabled drone launched from a docking station, maneuvering around buildings and pylons before detecting the Harbour Bridge in the foreground.
Continue reading below, or listen:
This marked the first occasion in which the Skydio Dock, an ultra smart docking station, had been deployed in Australia. The launch was carried out by US drone manufacturer Skydio, alongside Australian RPAS training leader Aviassist, as part of the Sydney Dialogue summit demonstrating new technologies.
The Skydio Dock is capable of flying a drone in a five kilometer range and to within 11 centimeters of a foreign object, resulting in increased efficiency within industries such as agriculture, mining and transport. Although not required, an individual can monitor the drone’s stream remotely from anywhere in the world.
“It was only a matter of time,” said Aviassist’s Ross Anderson. “The drone was able to work out there were certain structures in the area and fly around them. It’s not autopilot, it’s AI. It was the drone summing up its surroundings and saying to itself, ‘hey, I can fly here, I can’t fly there’.”
AI enabled drones are expected to have nearly limitless potential applications. Skydio already has clients within the transport and mining sectors, as well as the ADF.
“AI enabled drones will be seen as teammates, not tools,” Anderson says. “A great example is bridge and infrastructure inspections – it’s dangerous for someone to be climbing that high up and even with drones being flown by someone on the ground, they’re always prone to crashing as a result of human error. A drone that can fly itself would make less mistakes than a person and that raises the safety bar.”
“In the event of a car crash, an AI enabled drone could quickly fly over and survey the scene and relay critical information to first responders as they do their much more important job, which is helping the people involved,” Anderson continued. “Drones have been flown remotely and beyond visual line of sight for a while but this takes it to the next level.”
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies. For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Blue Bear (BB) recently announced the release of their pioneering Hyper Enabled Soldier System (HESS) concept. This system will deliver wearable innovative technology to the next generation of warfighters and as a capability will empower them to maintain their battlefield edge over potential future adversaries within all domains.
The Hyper Enabled Soldier System is underpinned by Blue Bear’s open architecture capability called SmartConnectTM which acts as a Smart Soldier Hub for all elements of this system, whilst being the individual interface enabler that is also integrated with Blue Bears edge processing.
Through the SmartConnect device the soldiers’ on-body sensors are made available to the wider swarm and in parallel the wider swarm’s capability becomes available to the soldier and decision makers to exploit for full battlefield effect. This process will optimise an operator’s sensor, decider and effector chain whilst allowing all decisions to be made at ‘Machine speed’ therefore reducing the enemies ability to react to counter these decisions.
The broader battlefield picture created by the above integration is then fused into Blue Bear’s CenturionTM C2 system, whilst the tactical C2 is delivered through Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK). This end-to-end operational interface places the military operator in the same digital operating picture as all other multi-domain vehicles and assets, therefore providing military decision makers the ability to co-ordinate all military elements and assets quickly by allowing them to ‘See through the battlefield’ at any given moment.
When discussing the HASS project Blue Bear’s Managing Director Ian Williams Wynn said ‘Historic and current global conflicts have created a battlefield environment that is congested, confusing and very difficult for both the operator and military leaders to co-ordinate rapid, accurate and decisive kinetic effect to grasp the advantage from the enemy. Blue Bears Hyper enabled Soldier System will empower military operators and decision makers the ability to rapidly cultivate battlefield data and integrate it quickly and efficiently to other assets and platforms across any battlefield environment.’
Jon Longstaff – lead engineer on the HASS project said “Project HASS’ ambition from the very beginning was to deliver an innovative system that can make the human-machine interface closer than ever within a complex battlefield environment.
This system will increase Command and Control (C2) exponentially.”
Red Cat Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCAT) (“Red Cat” or the “Company”), a hardware enabled software provider to the drone industry, announces that Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Thompson will present a corporate overview at the Q4 Investor Summit Conference, which is being held virtually on November 16 – 17, 2021.
Mr. Thompson will deliver his corporate presentation on Tuesday, November 16 at 3:30 PM ET.
Mr. Thompson will provide an update on the potential impact that the recently-passed infrastructure bill may have on the drone industry and the possible benefits to the Company, and will be available for one-on-one meetings throughout the conference.
About Red Cat Holdings, Inc. Red Cat provides products, services and solutions to the drone industry through its four wholly-owned subsidiaries. Fat Shark Holdings is the leading provider of First Person View (FPV) video goggles to the drone industry. Rotor Riot, LLC is a leader in the sale of FPV drones and equipment, primarily to the consumer marketplace through its digital storefront located at www.rotorriot.com. Skypersonic provides software and hardware solutions that enable drones to complete inspection services in locations where GPS is not available, yet still record and transmit data even while being operated from thousands of miles away. Teal Drones is a leader in commercial and government unmanned aerial vehicle technology and the manufacturer of Golden Eagle, one of only five U.S. Department of Defense-approved drones designed for reconnaissance, public safety, and inspection applications. Red Cat Propware is developing a Software-as-a-Solution (“SaaS”) platform to provide drone flight data analytics and storage, as well as diagnostic products and services. Learn more at https://www.redcatholdings.com/.