Drones Synergies 2018, a global conference and capacity building workshops, concluded recently at the Zayed University in Dubai. The aim of the two-day event was to see application of latest drone technologies in different fields, particularly in precision agriculture, food security, environmental and natural resource management.
The event was jointly organized by the Zayed University, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and the Falcon Eye Drones (FEDS). In keeping with the spirit of the Year of Zayed, Drones Synergies 2018 was a non-profit and non-commercial event, fully sponsored by its organizers. and complimentary for invited participants.
The event, which was attended by more than 150 participants, was designed to foster technology and data in driving decision making in today’s data-powered economies, highlight further advancements in drone technologies and note the rise of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) that propels different stakeholders to innovate processes, systems, and solutions that shape our future.
Six plenary sessions and twenty capacity building workshops were held at the conference to focus on contemporary and crucial developments related to the drone industry and latest technologies. The event comprised of four practical workshops that included field trials and real drone data acquisition, allowing all delegates to gain and enhance practical experiences.
Using hyperspectral drones for data collection was one of the main attractions during the field sessions at Zayed University and ICBA, which according to drone pilots was first-of-its-kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Prof. Reyadh Al-Mehaideb, Vice-President of Zayed University, said, “We are honored to host this important event at the Zayed University today. The UAE puts much emphasis on the growth emerging technologies represent as we strive to stay ahead of the global trends. Drones will make much difference in the coming years, and we want to ensure that we fulfill its abundant potential. Education, as well as the nurturing of future talents in this field, are only a few steps towards our futuristic vision of shaping smart cities”.
In her opening address, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of ICBA said, “We are delighted to co-organize this significant and timely conference on drone synergies. I am elated to see huge participation in this conference, which shows the amount of interest that drones have accumulated in recent years. At ICBA, our scientists are experimenting drones to understand better the issues related to agriculture, such as climate change impact, salinity issues, water resources management, and crop production. Drones have an incredible role in agriculture; it is one of the best technologies when it comes to precision agriculture.”
“In order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the zero poverty and zero hunger by 2030, we must explore new technologies such as artificial intelligence for remote sensing and data acquisition,” added Dr. Elouafi. Dr Fares Howari, Dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, said, “UAE University and Zayed University have joined forces to map and investigate the mineral resources, using field and remote sensing techniques, which provides ground truthing surveys using drone mapping application outcomes and findings that resulted from ZU based project, funded by UAE Space Agency.”
“The drone conference conducted a trial hyperspectral survey for vegetation mapping at ZU campus in Dubai. Hyperspectral imaging, like other spectral imaging, collects and processes information from across the electromagnetic spectrum. The goal of hyperspectral imaging was to obtain the spectrum for each pixel in the image of a scene, with the purpose of finding objects, identifying materials, or detecting processes,” he said.
“Drones Synergies is a unique conference that allows top regional stakeholders realize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and systems’ full potential. It’s the only conference in GCC region that features project-based learning approach while allowing event delegates to gain practical UAVs knowledge, based on real field trials using the latest drone technology and processing techniques,” commented Rabih Bou Rashid, Managing Director at Falcon Eye Drones.
The event welcomed governmental agencies, prominent academics, and scientists from across the UAE, GCC and the world. It also welcomed industry influencers, end-users from most industries and international experts in the field of AI and unmanned aircrafts.
Advanced Media Trading Brings DJI’s Air 2S to the UAE
DJI has launched the new DJI Air 2S, which is now available through Advanced Media Trading in the UAE. “With the launch of DJI’s latest innovation, we’re proud to be bringing advanced UAV technology directly to the hands of content creators, drone enthusiasts, and travelers across the UAE. DJI made a great improvement by announcing Mavic Air 2 last year and now, the Air 2S is here to offer even more advanced features, including a full-frame sensor, upgraded Artificial Intelligence system, and most excitingly, compatibility with Motion Control and FPV Goggles. This is a very affordable, yet powerful entry-level drone for content creators seeking to capture cinematic footage with ease,” said Pejman Ghorbani, Head of Creative Solutions at Advanced Media.
The DJI Air 2S is the first drone of its size to capture 20-megapixel still images or video in 5.4K with a new one-inch sensor that was previously available only on larger, less agile drones. DJI continues to enable the effortless creation of imaginative content with the new MasterShots feature. This advanced feature uses automatic flight path planning to set the drone’s course while recording video. Upon completion of the flight, DJI Air 2S automatically merges the footage under one theme to create an eye-catching video.
DJI Air 2S’s 31 minutes of maximum flight time and four-way directional obstacle sensors let the pilot focus on the shot while the drone’s safety systems warn when obstacles are getting close. APAS 4.0 (The Autonomous Obstacle Avoidance System) is the most advanced autopilot system on any DJI drone and when turned on, seamlessly maneuvers around objects autonomously. O3, DJI’s third iteration of OcuSync, brings the most reliable transmission technology in the drone market to this portable, foldable drone so users know their connection is stable. The upgraded FocusTrack mode includes a suite of programmed modes like Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0 that easily mimic the focus, control, and movement of a professional video operator.
Expand your creative vision and capture high-grade footage using a new one-inch sensor capable of recording 20-megapixel still images, 5.4K video at 30fps or 4K at 60fps and 150Mbps. The one-inch sensor is larger than the sensor on the original Mavic Air 2 and offers a larger pixel size of 2.4μm, capturing more information and detail for better photos and videos. Get closer to the subject without moving the drone using a new digital zoom that supports 4X zoom at 4K 30fps, 6X at 2.7K 30fps, 4X at 2.7K 60fps, 6X at 1080P 60fps, and 8X at 1080P 30fps. DJI’s renowned three-axis mechanical gimbal smooths out the footage for professional-level quality and 8 GB of internal storage has been added. Users can choose to record in H264 or H265, depending on their preferences for image detail and storage capacity, and can also choose from three video color profiles, Normal (8 bit), D-Log (10 bit), or HLG (10 bit) to match their video needs.
In addition to standard photo options like Timed Photo, AEB, and Panoramas, DJI Air 2S’s SmartPhoto mode records 20-megapixel photos using advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose the best of three options that will create the most visually appealing image for you, including HDR, Hyperlight and Scene Recognition. HDR modes merge several images together for a vibrant scene while Hyperlight is designed for low-light scenarios and Scene Recognition can identify several common settings and apply camera adjustments to capture photos that pop.
The DJI Air 2S has the most programmed flight modes and image capture modes of any DJI drone of its size.
These creative options include:
- MasterShots: Professional-level aerial footage has never been easier. After activating MasterShots, the drone will autonomously plan a flight path, choose from three different image capture modes, including Proximity, Portrait or Landscape, and start recording classic aerial footage. Pilots can choose different themes and the DJI Fly app will generate a unique video that’s ready to be shared with the world.
- FocusTrack: Focus on the scene and let DJI Air 2S do the hard work for you. Select your subject by drawing a square around it on your mobile device, then choose from Point of Interest 3.0, an autonomous flight path around the subject; ActiveTrack 4.0, a tool that seamlessly tracks the subject and keeps it in the frame; or Spotlight 2.0, where the drone movement is controlled by the pilot while it locks the subject into the frame.
- QuickShots: A staple DJI feature, QuickShot modes include Rocket, Circle, Dronie, Helix, Boomerang and Asteroid.
Hyperlapse: See the world sped up from the air and in motion with the Hyperlapse option in resolution up to 4K. Content captured in 4K resolution and lower can apply digital stabilization for an added layer of smoothness.
DJI Air 2S uses four high-grade antennas and the latest version of DJI’s proprietary OcuSync transmission tech, O3, to deliver a stable feed at a maximum distance of 12km, even in areas with a high number of signals. A maximum 31 minutes in the air gives pilots more time to capture visually appealing footage while four-way sensors help reduce the risk of collision. The newly upgraded front, rear, bottom and top obstacle sensors incorporate binocular zooming technology to recognize incoming objects from further away at faster speeds.
DJI Air 2S uses the latest and most advanced version of Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 4.0, which allows the drone to autonomously and seamlessly maneuver around, under and over obstacles. While flying at normal speeds, the newly improved APAS 4.0 offers a wider field-of-view to detect obstacles compared to previous versions. If pilots are flying at higher speeds, as the angle of the drone pitches forward more and the newly added upward obstacle sensor plays a critical part in assisting obstacle detection.
As with DJI’s latest drone models, the DJI Air 2S’s AirSense system warns drone pilots of nearby airplanes and helicopters transmitting ADS-B signals, so the drone can be quickly moved to a safer location. Other standard DJI safety features of DJI Air 2S include an improved Return-To-Home (RTH) feature, which can bring a drone back to its launch point if it loses contact with the controller or reaches a critically low battery level, and the GEO 2.0 geofencing system to advise pilots of sensitive locations and help them automatically keep away from high-risk areas such as airports.
DJI Air 2S uses the latest version of the DJI Fly app, which features a wealth of educational information and tutorials to get new pilots up in the air quickly. The DJI Air 2S is now available for purchase in the UAE at Advanced Media Trading’s showrooms and online. The standard combo retails for 3,849 AED and includes the drone, remote controller, one battery and all the cables and parts needed to get into the air. The Fly More Combo retails for 5,149 AED and includes everything from the standard combo, with the addition of 2 batteries for a total of 3, ND filters, a charging hub and a shoulder bag.
DJI Launches Mavic Air 2
DJI has launched the Mavic Air 2 drone, combining high-grade imaging, intuitive yet advanced flight performance and revolutionary smart and safe technology in the best all-around drone we’ve ever made. Created to make capturing unique, high-quality content from the air simple, fun, and safe, Mavic Air 2 offers flagship capabilities in a compact and easy to use a folding drone that features 8K functionality.
A larger 1/2” camera sensor offers high-resolution photos and videos to make content stand out, while advanced programmed flight modes, intelligent features and imaging technology make capturing professional-looking content effortless. Pilots can now stay in the sky longer with an enhanced maximum flight time, capture vivid imagery with completely revamped autonomous capabilities, and wholly transform their content with in-app editing features.
“Mavic Air 2 is another milestone for DJI, demonstrating that our smartest consumer drone does not have to be the largest,” said DJI President, Roger Luo. “While the Mavic Air 2 bears all the hallmarks of the Mavic drone family, we had to completely rethink its design and development process. Our goal was to create a drone that offered the best overall experience possible to even the most novice pilot. We hope our drones can help boost creativity and become a fun yet educational experience that can be enjoyed, even at this unprecedented moment in history.”
The new Mavic Air 2 reimagines how quality content can be captured in a portable, folding drone. No matter the skill level of the pilot, Mavic Air 2’s features and technology are sure to appeal to every creative visionary. Mavic Air 2 is the first drone in the Mavic series to offer 4K video at 60 fps and 120 Mbps. Additionally, users can record unique content using HDR video, 4X Slow Motion in 1080p at 120 fps or 8X Slow Motion in 1080p at 240 fps. Pilots can record 12-megapixel images or choose a new high-resolution 48-megapixel feature that photographs in stunning detail, while a mechanical 3-axis gimbal helps compensate for camera shake to create smooth and stable footage, even in unpredictable scenarios.
Taking full advantage of the large Quad Bayer 1/2″ sensor, the Mavic Air 2 is the perfect tool to take creativity to the next level with a suite of image capture modes. The newly added SmartPhoto records 12-megapixel photos using advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose one of three image capture options.
- HDR photos: Mavic Air 2 automatically captures seven varying exposures of the same photograph, merging them together to bring out a highly dynamic image.
- Hyperlight: Hyperlight is designed for low-light scenarios, taking multiple photographs and merging them to bring out a clear image with less of the noise which usually occurs in low-light scenes.
- Scene Recognition: Mavic Air 2 can recognize five categories of scenes including sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and trees, then optimize settings to make the photograph pop by bringing out the highest degree of color, detail, and tones.
Mavic Air 2 completely rebuilt the basics of drone flight to open up the skies for more exploration for everyone who is passionate about drone technology. Despite only weighing as much as a small water bottle at 570 grams, the Mavic Air 2 features new motors, new electronic speed controllers (ESCs), enhanced battery technology and an aerodynamic design to provide a maximum flight time of up to 34 minutes.
DJI’s proprietary OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology has been upgraded to deliver an extremely reliable and stable HD video feed from the drone at a maximum distance of 10km. OcuSync 2.0 supports both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands and uses an auto-switching feature to move between the two based on signal strength, while anti-interference technology blocks unwanted signals to keep the video feed clear.
Mavic Air 2 is equipped with unprecedented new safety features to help make flying as safe as possible. Obstacle sensors on the front and rear of the drone warn pilots when they’re too close to an object and can also be set to stop the drone from moving any closer to avoid collision. Additional sensors and auxiliary lights on the bottom of Mavic Air 2 assist with several functions including smooth, automatic landing even in difficult lighting. Mavic Air 2 also comes equipped with our GEO geofencing solution to help keep drones away from the highest-risk locations, such as busy airports.
Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 3.0 brings the next level of autonomous flying to DJI drones. When users enable APAS 3.0, as obstacles come into the drone’s path, Mavic Air 2 will create a new path around, under or over the object to avoid collision, giving pilots the confidence to fly in more complex situations while focusing on capturing their ideal images. Using 3D mapping, the updated version aids in smooth transitions and more fluid movements around objects even in highly complex environments.
In accordance with DJI’s industry-leading 10-point Elevating Safety vision published last year, Mavic Air 2 is also DJI’s first consumer drone designed to include AirSense technology, which provides enhanced safety by warning drone pilots of other aircraft nearby. AirSense uses aviation technology known as ADS-B to receive signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters, and displays their location on the drone pilot’s control screen. As these other aircraft approach the drone, AirSense will warn the drone pilot with messages, sounds, and vibrations, enhancing the pilot’s awareness and ability to move the drone safely away.
“DJI has an unwavering commitment to enhance drone safety with technology, and Mavic Air 2 implements yet another pioneering safety solution for drone operations,” said DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman. “Our ambitious commitment to installing ADS-B in our new product models means Mavic Air 2 will be the world’s largest single deployment of ADS-B receiver technology, fulfilling and furthering our vision as the industry’s leader on voluntary safety efforts.”
Mavic Air 2 is packed with optimized intelligent features allowing users to quickly and easily record images and video that deserves to be shared with the world. FocusTrack is the most advanced tracking feature on any DJI drone and offers three different capture modes:
- ActiveTrack 3.0: Select a subject for Mavic Air 2 to automatically follow. The third iteration of ActiveTrack uses state-of-the-art mapping technology and new flight path algorithms to offer improved subject tracking and obstacle avoidance, along with the ability to quickly re-engage the subject if it temporarily moves behind an object.
- Point of Interest 3.0: Set an automated flight path around a specific subject. The updated iteration improves surface recognition to better dynamically track subjects.
- Spotlight 2.0: Found in professional DJI drones, Spotlight locks a subject in the frame while the user has free operation of the drone’s movement.
A Hyperlapse feature brings the visual appeal of timelapse but with the added element of the drone physically moving. For the first time, Hyperlapse can be shot in a max resolution of 8K while pilots can choose four flight modes including Free movement, Circle, CourseLock and WayPoints. Pilots can also choose from several pre-programmed flight maneuvers known as QuickShots, which use a 3-axis mechanical gimbal and electronic image stabilization for unmatched video quality. Simply tap the desired mode and Mavic Air 2 will automatically create stunning, cinematic content. Pilots can choose Rocket, Circle, Dronie, Helix, Boomerang, or Asteroid.
An updated version of the DJI Fly app adds more advanced functionality for Mavic Air 2 while maintaining its user-friendly navigation. New tutorials get users familiarized with the drone and quickly in the air to start capturing compelling footage. Easy to use in-app editing features make the DJI Fly app a one-stop tool to edit and adjust the footage captured. Mavic Air 2 will be supported by a host of additional useful accessories including a shoulder bag, ND filter sets, propeller guards, protective case, tablet holder for the controller and monitor hood.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is expected to be available in the UAE by mid-May. Mavic Air 2 will be available in two purchasing options: a standard package which includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote controller and all the required wires and cables – retailing at AED 2,999 and the Fly More option, which includes all items from the standard version, as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, charging hub, and 3 batteries – retailing at AED 3,759.
DJI Helps Fight Coronavirus with Drones
Since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, the new COVID-19 coronavirus has spread around the world. As the outbreak grew, so did public questions and concerns. How far would the virus spread? How can people protect themselves?
To help address those fears and resolve the crisis, public safety officials in China explored how to use new technologies — and DJI has stepped up to that challenge with drones.
Disinfecting Public Spaces with Drones
Together with agricultural technology think tanks, DJI has been working to fight the disease. On February 4, DJI pledged almost $1.5 million in aid to help contain the outbreak. The company has also adapted its Agras series of agricultural spraying drones to spray disinfectant in potentially affected areas. Drones can dramatically improve how China attempts to kill the virus in public areas. They can cover far more ground than traditional methods while reducing risk to workers who would otherwise spend more time potentially exposed to both the virus and the disinfectant.
After rounds of research and testing, teams developed best practices for spraying a chlorine or ethyl alcohol-based disinfectant from the air. The concentration of the solution, as well as flight guidelines, can be modified for different circumstances, such as whether an area is known to be infected or not.
DJI has sprayed disinfectant in over 3 million square meters in Shenzhen. The company is also helping 1,000 counties in China to adopt the spraying method. Target areas include factories, residential areas, hospitals, and waste treatment plants. In total, this covers 600 million square meters across the country so far. With this solution, spraying efficiency can be 50 times faster than traditional methods. In a crisis where time plays a critical role, this is great news.
“Assisting on the containment of a disease, while ensuring safety to personnel, was very difficult to do in the past,” said Romeo Durscher, Senior Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI. “This was a complete grassroots movement. Users inspired us to take action, and it was worth the effort. It embodies the DJI spirit, where anyone with access to these new tools can help improve their environment and help society.”
Using Drones in More Ways During the Outbreak
These past few weeks have given people a chance to discover new ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 in China. Loudspeakers were mounted on drones to help disperse public gatherings in crowded places. Drones flew banners advising people on how to learn more about precautions. Thermal cameras on drones were also used to monitor body temperature so medical staff can identify new potential cases.
Drone delivery is another popular topic. The outbreak has kept millions of families in their homes to avoid contact with others. A huge help to these households can come in the form of contactless delivery. Organizations can send food, supplies, and medicine to anyone in need. At the same time, avoiding face-to-face contact will cut the risk of infection.
Continuing the Fight Against COVID-19
The battle with the novel coronavirus has only begun. Cases are continuing to rise in and outside of China. But recent reports show the tide appears to be turning. Researchers are learning more about the virus every day. Vaccines are being developed in laboratories around the world. And the public is doing its share by taking every precaution available.
While COVID-19 remains a threat, there are countless people with innovative ideas developing 21st Century solutions to save lives. DJI is proud to be empowering these individuals and will continue to push forward with its #DronesForGood agenda, empowering emergency responders and protecting the wider public at large.
Review: Corsair Sabre RGB Pro Wireless Mouse
As part of its Champion Series, Corsair announced its latest Sabre RGB Pro Wireless Mouse on the market today. The...
Review: EZVIZ C8C Outdoor Smart IP Security Camera
Ever since people started working from home, there has been an increased demand for home security solutions such as security...
Review: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Edition
We reviewed the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA401Q) way back in June 2021. This is a 14-inch laptop that...
Review: Viewsonic ID1330 ViewBoard Pen Display
Over the past couple of years, a lot has changed about how we work and learn. With educational institutes being...
Review: ASUS Mini PC PB62
The new ASUS Mini PC PB62 is a powerful mini PC aimed at a wide range of business applications such...