Know Before You Go: Where It’s OK to Fly Consumer Drones

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Taking your Lily Next-Gen traveling? Consumer drone laws vary from place to place, and it’s good to know them before you take off to capture some really cool images of your adventures.

Common restrictions in most countries include how high you can fly, keeping your drone within your direct unaided line of sight at all times, not flying near airports, and not over or near people.

The second most common type of regulations, but not universal, include registering your drone and having proof of insurance covering damage to third parties with you. Likewise many countries prohibit flying at night, in adverse weather, and over densely populated areas.

All of those are basic good practices to follow.

In addition it’s a good idea to respect privacy by not recording images of people on their property or anywhere someone may have an expectation of privacy. In a few nations you’ll need the person’s permission before you can publish images of them. In France you’ll also need permission for publishing an image of a vehicle’s license plate. And Italy prohibits drone flight altogether over its beaches in summer, where people may be, so to speak, in their altogether.

Many jurisdictions forbid flight over or close to critical infrastructure such as industrial and energy facilities (e.g., dams, electrical transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines and power plants), military bases, police stations, prisons and railways. But also for some, waterways, highways and public streets.

National governments regulate drone flight, but individual states, provinces, and cities may have their own regulations. It’s a good idea to check these, especially if you want to fly at an event that attracts a crowd or if you’re headed to a park or nature reserve.

France and Spain have cute little cartoons to help you remember where not to fly.

We don’t have a cartoon for you but we have created a world map with detailed info for selected nations as an aid to your research:

Once you’re on site at where you want to fly it’s a good idea to look at a real-time interactive map. That’s because flight areas may be restricted on a moment’s notice. In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration offers an app, B4UFLY, for Android and Apple mobile devices, and on the web, AirMap has a great worldwide map:

Pro tip if you fly close to a no-fly zone: stay a half-mile (1 km.) back from its limit. In practice, consumer GPS data, software on a drone that interprets airspace restrictions, and software that displays restrictions on a map may differ due to GPS imprecision and one or more buffer zones in the software.

We’ve been talking about consumer drone flight. If you’re a commercial user, different rules apply to you. In the U.S., for starters, you must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA:

Drone flight is fun and you can bring back stunning video from your travels that makes for unforgettable memories. A little preparation before you leave will help ensure you stay within local laws and regulations wherever you go.


Get More Out of Every Flight ― Announcing the Lily Next-Gen Remote Controller™

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Fitting comfortably in your hands, the compact controller offers a greater range in flying the Lily Next-Gen, up to 2,625 feet (800 meters) for flight control and video. That compares a range of up to 400 feet (120 meters) over using a mobile phone alone.*

The Lily Next-Gen Remote Controller has dual precision joysticks to help you hand-fly with greater accuracy whenever you like.

It folds to pocket size, and its joysticks and dual antennas fit snugly inside it, so it’s as easy to take anywhere as its drone.

Its integrated Smart Battery has a life of up to four hours per charge, more than enough time for almost any drone use.

* Flight control and video signal range are in open air free of any interference. The range for flight control and video may vary independently depending on environmental conditions, obstructions such as buildings and sources of electromagnetic interference such as cellular phone towers. Do not fly a drone beyond visual line of sight. Not all phones may be compatible in size.

FAA Reauthorization Is a “Common Sense Measure”

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The legislation to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration currently before the Senate provides common-sense measures to help speed the safe integration of drones into our national airspace. House and Senate committee leaders agreed to the bi-partisan bill, which won passage overwhelmingly in the House.

The bill prioritizes the Unmanned Aircraft Traffic Management (UTM) system. In a first, it singles out flight beyond visual line of sight, over people, and at night for their “tremendous potential…to spur economic growth” and makes it Congressional policy that these operations be a top priority for FAA rulemaking.

The bill calls for the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the industry, to develop operational concepts for the integration of unmanned aircraft in the national airspace.

Our op-ed article has specifics:

Drones Save Lives

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It’s happening more often: drones saving lives. Why? Drones get there when helicopters can’t.

  • A drone saved a mountaineer feared injured or dead in the Himalayas. Returning alone from a group attempt of the 26,401-foot summit of Broad Peak, Rick Allen fell about 1,300 feet. A drone was flown to an altitude higher than 27,500 feet before spotting him (video below). Manned helicopters, even with powerful turbine engines, can generally safely reach only about 25,000 feet.
  • Down in the British marshlands, a man was stuck in mud and up to his armpits in water. It was only when a drone was sent up after an unsuccessful ground search that Peter Pugh, 75, was found. “Without the police drone we would not have been able to locate him in the time we did,” said police sergeant Alex Bucher. “It allows us to search areas that are difficult to access and within close range where a helicopter may not be able to get.”
  • Drones have dropped flotation devices to people floundering in the surf in Australia and Spain and have spotted swimmers in trouble in the U.S. This bought them time until lifeguards could get to them.

“Small, swift and agile, drones have all but replaced the more costly and less nimble helicopter” for all kinds of tasks, according to The New York Times. Consumer drones are more common among public safety agencies than specialized models. They’re easy to use and can get into the air at a moment’s notice.

Government agencies are rapidly integrating drones into their rescue capabilities. According to a study by Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone, 910 police, fire, and emergency services agencies in the U.S. use drones every day in 2017, a whopping increase of 82 percent from 2016.

In North Carolina, the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department is testing drones to assist lifeguards. One happened to be in the air when its pilot spotted a swimmer in trouble and alerted rescuers.

On Long Island, NY, John Gonzales flies a drone for the St. James Fire Department. Missions include fire response preplanning, such as determining ladder positioning. He told Government Technology that drones have been used for rescues on Long Island Sound and rivers. “The drone does 40 miles per hour; the boat does 10,” he said.

In the days before drones measuring the roof of a house, like anything involving heights, was dangerous for construction workers.

“’Such peril is magnified in the construction of skyscrapers,’ said John Murphy Jr.,” a contractor on a 58-story condominium tower in downtown Miami. Before drones, workers needing access to the exterior used small platforms suspended from cables, treacherous in high winds. “’No one wants to go out there,’ he said. ‘It’s scary.’”

Caltech Engineers developed a drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from an airport.


Bird strikes endanger lives and cost the aviation industry billions per year. In 2009 Chesley Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles successfully ditched an Airbus A320 on the Hudson River after losing thrust in both engines. The cause: a flock of Canadian geese, an unavoidable hazard for planes taking off and landing.

Engineers at Caltech found a way to program a drone to shepherd birds away from airports controllably, as a flock, avoiding panicking birds into random flight.

NATO-compliant ambulance drones have flown demonstration missions to ferry injured people to medical care. Their small size helps them can get to places manned vehicles on the ground or in the air can’t.

Researchers at the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine have demonstrated disaster drones that could deliver telemedical packages directly to victims. Integrating medical intervention with drones is the objective, said Dr. Italo Subbarao. “On-site medical expertise [would] give people on the scene a real medical intervention capability.”

Drones in search and rescue are here. One day one of them may save your life.

5 Things You Must Know Before You Buy a Drone

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Just like people, drones come in all shapes, weights, and sizes. Odds are you’ll buy only one so you want to make it the right one. There are a lot of different models out there. Which one is best for you? This handy guide will help you make the right choice.

First and foremost: Decide what you want it for. Your drone has to have the right features for what you want it to do. Extra features might be overkill: more costly and more complicated to use.

People usually fly drones to capture fun they can share with others. You might take video of family outings and parties, good times with friends, jogging on a beach or kayaking along a trail, documenting your kids’ sports events for relatives who couldn’t be there, taking video of your travels and lots more. Here are some features you should consider:

  • Family events: Get a drone that can fly safely indoors and out. Be sure it’s small enough for indoor flight.
  • Fun with friends: Ease of use is super important. You want to be engaged with them, not the drone. Look for dead-simple operation for the drone and the camera. A cool feature to consider is Orbit 360™, which will keep the drone circling above you and your group, whether it’s a campfire or a ball game.
  • Outdoor activities: A drone with Follow Me can track you or others whether you’re walking, running, or even barreling along in a dune buggy.
  • Sports: Be sure the drone has a 4K camera. Flying close to or over other people is not allowed so you and your drone will have to stay back a bit. Sharp, crisp video will help you get a great view of the action.
  • Travel: You want a lightweight portable drone, one that’s small and rugged enough to toss in backpack or duffel bag―or even a photographer’s vest―and take anywhere. And you definitely want a drone with geofencing. When you’re away from home you may not know where it’s safe to fly. Geofencing will help keep your drone away from no-fly areas.

OK, now that you’ve thought about what to use a drone for, here’s how to know if it’s the right one for you:

  1. How friendly is the drone? It’s going to be a personal companion so it should be extremely easy to use, with plenty of automatic flight features like auto take-off, hover, and autoland. What happens if the drone’s battery gets too low, the signal to the controller is lost, or your phone’s battery dies? You want a drone that will return to its launch point and land by itself, no fuss or drama.
  2. How much time will you fly each day? You may need extra batteries or even a second battery charger so you’ll never be without power.
  3. Are you flying indoors? If so, propeller guards that shield the propellers on all sides are a must. In addition, look for a drone with optic flow and ultrasonic positioning. Those are fancy names for a drone that can see what’s below it and know how high above the surface it is. This helps keep your drone rock-solid stable indoors.
  4. What type of pictures do you want? Regular high-definition or ultra-high definition? Drones with a 4K UHD camera let you shoot in 1080p or 4K. 1080p works for most of us most of the time but you want 4K for those times you need it.
  5. Make sure the drone you buy is supported by its manufacturer. Not all drones protect you against accidental damage, and only a very few like the Lily Next-Gen® protect you against loss and flyways.

Now that you’ve made your decision and brought your drone home, know how to fly it safely. Check out the great tips at Know Before You Fly.

Last but not least, we’re assuming you’re flying just for fun. If you’re flying for an organization, even if it’s a volunteer group, you need to have a Part 107 Remote Pilot’s Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. Think of it like a driver’s license plus. There’s a written test to ensure you know the rules but no “road” test. Check out the FAA website for more:

Whatever you want from a drone and wherever you’re going to use it, make sure it fits your needs for your first flight and every one thereafter.

Drones as Fashion Statements: Wearable Personal Companions

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What could be less fashionable than a drone? Whirring propellers, a relentless buzzing sound, and the aerodynamic grace of a brick. Yet commercial drones have become a huge contributor to making businesses more efficient and aerial tasks safer.

But on the runway? Indeed. We think drones have a place in fashion.

Right now drones are used in the business of fashion. They monitor retail and wholesale inventory, patrol warehouses and factories against unauthorized entry, help scout out new locations, and may even provide consumer insights by tracking traffic flow into and around stores. As Vikki Weston told Ragtrader,

“How do vehicles move towards stores or shopping centres? Are some customers put off by traffic outside a shopping centre or car park and therefore avoid city centre retail destinations?

“Flying above a retail location a drone could collect data to measure the effectiveness of signage, the positioning of entrances and the impact of traffic or other impacts in the surrounding area.”

Commercial drones have carved out multibillion-dollar markets in agriculture, construction, and energy. In fashion they’re still a blip on the market analysts’ radar.

But they’ve made their presence felt in fashion. In February 2014, the luxury retailer Fendi made headlines by using drones to film models on the runway at Milan Fashion week. Drones took to the runway again at the Rebecca Minkoff runway show at New York Fashion Week in 2015.

Uri Minkoff, the brand’s co-founder, told TechCrunch they used drones “because the millennial woman is probably going to have her own drone in the next couple of years.”

At the Silicon Valley Fashion Week that May, drones replaced living models altogether.

These are symbolic statements of what’s to come.

Mota’s Chief Product Officer Lily Ju helped judge Saturday’s Miss Asian America Pageant, an event which attracted a who’s who of the Asian-American community. We flew the Lily Next-Gen camera drone outside the city’s Herbst Theater across from San Francisco City Hall to the delight of the fashionistas who attended.

Adam Pruden, a senior designer at Frog Design, the company that designed the Apple computer, said wearable drones are the future. At a session at SXSW, he said he had “if drones replaced smartphones, they’d have to interact with our bodies — and what better way to do that than by having them attached to us.”

If drones become this close to us they are, in effect, personal companions. Unlike a phone, they can follow you and do things for you in physical space.

Some of his ideas for wearable drones:

  • A ring-shaped flying robot that could be worn like a bracelet, which you could take off and flick into the air before flying forward to guide you to a desired location if you got lost.
  • A rotor-shaped object that could be worn as a part of a necklace, which could be extended to become a rotating halo-like helicopter when it sensed rain, hovering over your head and keeping you dry.
  • Or even a drone that could hover in front of your mouth and filter pollution-tainted air.

Nixie Labs envisioned a camera-equipped drone that could be worn as a wrist band but hasn’t brought it to market. As miniaturization increases, wearable flying devices will be practical.

And, once we start wearing drones, many of us who are fashion-conscious would start thinking of how to make them a fashion statement.


Making Drones Part of Our National Airspace

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Mota Group will be at the Drone Advisory Committee July 17 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We are members of the UAS Safety Team, an industry-FAA partnership to create data-driven safely enhancements for drone flight, and the Consumer Technology Association’s Drone Standards group, where we helped write an ANSI standard for drone serial numbers.

The DAC advises the FAA on integrating drones into the U.S. national airspace. It helps identify challenges and prioritize improvements.

The airspace system is intended to establish a safe, efficient environment for civil, commercial and military aviation while protecting those on the ground. It comprises airports and heliports, air traffic control, navigation facilities and procedures, technology, and rules and regulations.

Market research firms have predicted strong drone market growth―Goldman Sachs forecast a total addressable market for drones of more than $100 billion by 2020―and sales data thus far appears to bear this out. Drones have already become a major part of our national airspace: there are more civil and commercial drones registered with the FAA than there are airplanes and helicopters, and the number of drone flights may soon surpass flights by all other types of civil aviation.

Helping drones become part of national airspace helps the drone market grow. We believe it’s important for drone companies to be part of this effort.

Drone Advisory Committee
UAS Safety Team
CTA Drone Standard
Goldman Sachs, “Drones: Reporting for Work

3D Printing for Making Better Drone Wings

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About 75% of the world’s aircraft will fly with 3D printed components by 2021, according to Gartner. The other day the Financial Times reported the Australian company Titomic made a 3D printer the size of a bus that can print titanium aircraft components up to nearly 9m long.

3D printing enables the creation of more complex, lightweight structures than current manufacturing methods. Aircraft wings are highly complex surfaces, designed to wring the most lift-per-ounce, whether it’s the Concorde or a fixed-wing drone. There are still many things to be ironed out, but 3D printing may well bring more aerodynamic wings to drones.

AI and Blockchain: Vital for the Future of Drones

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Anyone who needs things identified or measured from the air can often do it better and at less cost with a drone than a manned aircraft. Sometimes drones are the only usable platform, such as sampling gases close to a refinery’s flare stack, or in search and rescue where a helicopter can’t fly low enough to find someone in harm’s way.

Drones can do a lot, but they can’t yet fly autonomously, free of human intervention. That requires two things: artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Artificial Intelligence: Enabling Autonomous Drone Flight

At the low altitudes and complicated flight patterns they fly, drones can easily encounter the unexpected. That’s a problem because most drones have limited obstacle avoidance. As AI becomes more powerful, it will make drones better at this.

AI in drones will include a very comprehensive decision tree drawn from its sensors, real-time weather information and from existing data such as drone incident reports, its own flight manual, terrain obstacle databases and other sources. For example, AI could instruct a drone to fly to point B rather than point A if higher-than-forecast winds reduce flight time or to fly around a storm cell.

The more experience AI has in encountering new situations, the better it becomes.

But AI is not the only thing needed for autonomous flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration predicted there will be 7 million drones active in the skies over our heads by 2020. In the not too distant future drone flights may reach astronomical numbers. The drivers will be package delivery and air taxi services for people.

Right now UPS and FedEx alone deliver about 20 million packages daily. In just one major city, Tokyo, an average of 1,080,000 people take a taxi each day.

Drone delivery and air taxi flights would have to increase dramatically to handle even a fraction of this volume. Among the roadblocks in scaling to this level:

(1.) Done flights are flown 1:1, where one pilot controls one drone. If drone flights reach very large numbers that’s way too many flights for human pilots to manage.

AI will enable humans to control large numbers of drones in a fleet.

(2.) Data collection: at their heart commercial drones are data collection platforms. Very large numbers of drone flights performed for a common purpose implies many people will want to see data from many drones.

That data must be verifiable back to the individual drone which collected it. In other words, there will be a supply chain of data.

Blockchain: Guaranteeing the Integrity of Drone Data

What blockchain brings to drone flight is verification of when and where data are captured in real time. Blockchain is the only way to ensure the authenticity of information each drone collects.

Imagine dozens of drones monitoring a construction project, for example, a major bridge. Multiple stakeholders at dozens of different public and private organizations are responsible for the project. Parts and materials are sourced worldwide.

The drones may be capturing photos, video, infrared and other non-visible spectra, such as magnetic fields to verify steel quality and measurements of ionizing radiation from soil for risks to human health. The drones will share the data they’ve acquired among people and Internet of Things (IoT) devices in different organizations.

The reliability of the drone’s data on a project like this is paramount. Drone data will be used to prove contract compliance and ensure deadlines and milestones are met. The accuracy and timeliness of data may be linked to financial rewards and penalties. Each stakeholder needs to know beyond doubt the authenticity of the data: where it came from, when, and that it’s a true record.

That’s where blockchain excels. It’s a way of guaranteeing the integrity of a supply chain.

Blockchain provides a highly secure, highly distributed record of transactions in real time. Think of your financial records broken into virtual chunks in the cloud, scattered across multiple servers, yet completely accessible to you and you alone in an instant. Like a tamper-proof seal, blockchain will reveal any attempt at unauthorized access to its data.

Blockchain is already in use to verify complex, high-risk supply chains such as the manufacture of human pharmaceuticals and production of baby formula. The large supermarket group Carrefour uses blockchain to track where products came from. It and other retailers and producers are working to develop standards for using blockchain technology to make food supply chains more efficient and safer.

A package delivery drone fleet could use blockchain to ensure the accuracy of data, such as exchanging real-time information on each drone’s routing, performance time, airspace congestion, incidents on the ground, weather, system health and more. Essential performance verification and flight records for customers, data analysts, fleet managers and regulatory authorities at the city, state and federal levels.

In the near future, commercial drone flights will scale up dramatically. We see a future with large-scale drone operations—hundreds or thousands of virtual eyes in the sky acting together or independently, their data, the things see and measure, beyond the reach of unauthorized people.

Blockchain and AI together are essential in enabling autonomous flight and in providing those responsible for drone data a guarantee of its integrity.


The Future of Flight is Drones

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Reporters from Bloomberg News had their eyes opened at the Singapore Airshow this month.

“The future of aviation is on display in a cavernous exhibition hall at Asia’s largest airshow,” they wrote, “and it’s drones.”

For the last few months, we‘ve been asking people to imagine a world, where, when you open your door, drones will be flying everywhere.

That future is now.

Drones have made inroads at lightning speed against manned aircraft like helicopters and planes, replacing them for an incredible variety of uses.

At the Singapore show there was a drone “almost everywhere you turn,” the Bloomberg reporters said. In 2015, there were about 320,000 airplanes in active use around the world, while customers bought 4.5 million drones. They noted that the media announcements coming out every day about drones are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Market researchers have documented an impressive array of drone applications now and to come. Goldman Sachs forecast a $38 billion drone market by 2020, of which $21 billion are commercial drones and 3.3 b. for consumer drones.**

Already drones are used to:

  • Showcase real estate property.
  • Inspect structures and track work at construction jobsites.
  • Pinpoint the most affected areas after a natural disaster.
  • Monitor processes at oil and gas refineries and check pipelines safety.
  • Measure tailings at mine sites.
  • Safety check bridges, tunnels, and other civic infrastructure.
  • Find and rescue people in harm’s way.
  • Count endangered species on land and at sea.
  • Help firefighters, police and other first responders optimize resources.
  • Help news reporters cover breaking stories.

Almost anything that needs seeing or counting can be made more efficient and less risky with a drone.

Our customers tell us about the value they’ve found in our drones. Their stories run something like this:

“On my very first flight, I was able to inspect my paddock, count the horses and verify fences, without having to mount up and ride through it. The drone made quick and easy work of a time-consuming daily task.”

“I use drones to monitor plant health over the life of the crop, get early warning of trouble spots like predators, soil erosion or ponding, and keep detailed records over time to track yields. Drones opened up a new world of data that helps make my operation more efficient.”

We see a future that is even bigger.

Blockchain technology is powering a revolution in how people exchange information. Blockchain is like a highly secure distributed ledger of transactions. Today it’s used to help secure online voting, digital rights protection, and other applications that demand absolute data integrity.

Drones are at heart a data collection platform. We believe blockchain will give drones a way not only to protect their data but also to verify the integrity of the information they collect.

That’s potentially huge. Artificial intelligence and blockchain together will enable drones to adapt autonomously to new situations—not just avoiding obstacles or maintaining course like driverless cars—but to see and to think.

What we see is a future with decentralized drone operation scaling up unimaginably, with potentially hundreds of thousands of virtual eyes in the sky in one area acting together or independently, blockchain and AI enabling them to verify what they see so they can understand, and change what they do.

The sky is not the limit when it comes to drones.

*Bloomberg News, “The Future of Flying Is All About Drones,” Feb. 8, 2018
*Goldman Sachs, “Drones: Flying Into the Mainstream,” March, 2016

Putting Your Drone to Work

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Making money from your drone can be fun and provide extra income or even be a full-time job, but there are a few things you need to know before you start. The good news: your first job just might pay for the drone and all the trimmings like extra batteries!

Here are our suggestions:

(1) Write out what you want to do with a drone. These could include:

  • Weddings,
  • Marketing real estate from homes to hotels,
  • Covering sporting events,
  • Property inspections,
  • Checking a construction jobsite,
  • Agricultural mapping or images over time to monitor crop health,
  • Infrastructure inspection and looking into difficult-to-see places like gutters and rooftops,
  • Newsgathering,
  • Movies,
  • And wherever your imagination takes you.

(2) Write out what you want in a drone. Drones take pictures so it should definitely have a 4K camera and Smart Hover,™ i.e. the ability to stay in place even in winds. It should also have autoflight capability so it will return home automatically if the battery runs low or if it loses the signal from your controller. Look at what others have done and consider if you want to, too.

(3) Use your own, or buy, a smartphone or a tablet.

Use a smartphone if you’re going to use a dedicated controller. It will display the video and still images from the drone, and overlay this with important flight information like altitude, direction, speed, etc. A dedicated controller generally offers a greater range and a greater degree of precision in flying over using a mobile device alone.

If you want a big screen, use a tablet as a standalone controller.

(4) Make sure to check any regulations or restrictions in your area, for example no-fly zones or if you need a pilot’s certificate.

(5) Practice, practice, practice:

  • Read the owner’s manual front to back. Learn the drone’s auto flight capabilities so you’ll know exactly what it will do under different circumstances.
  • Consider buying a nano-sized drone to practice with first. You’ll learn basic flying skills without any risk of damaging your more costly aerial camera.
  • Fly your work drone in little baby steps in a large safe area until you know where each control is and are comfortable using it.

(6) Create a great sample reel showing off your drone skills to post to your company page on Facebook or elsewhere. Consider approaching at least one business opportunity as a loss leader so you can acquire this footage for your reel.

(7) Make lists of your target opportunities. If a business, show them your reel and tell them how much they can save over more costly and riskier manned inspections. If a wedding or other personal photography, show them dramatic shots of people having fun, lifetime memories they couldn’t get any other way. Seeing is believing: if possible, offer to fly your drone then and there so they can see for their selves.

There are a ton of ways to earn money by putting your drone to work. You just need to put your mind to work to imagine and go out after them.

ULTRA™ is the New Super

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At MOTA we designed a universally appealing drone in terms of aesthetic appeal, but also a drone that requires less than 5 minutes to go from novice to pro. Today, recreational freedom comes in the shape of the world’s easiest drone to fly: ULTRA. This little guy is big enough to chase your pets around the house, small enough to fit in your hands and quick enough to make you feel like King Kong trying to swat it out of the sky. What makes it unquestionably attractive is not just the smooth matte-black finish or it’s silky pearl-white curves, but its fancy pro-features now compartmentalized into this tiny drone.

Yes, it has a camera, yes, it can auto-hover in place while you tie your shoelaces, yes, it can land on its own with the push of a button, but no it’s not smart enough to babysit your kids, at least not yet. You know what the coolest part about this drone is? You guessed it, it’s Mobile App Integrated! Fly it from your phone, stream on your phone, share it with friends and most importantly take selfies with it. How cool is that?! ULTRA is our little drone filled with intrepid adventures and we want to share the joy with everyone! Check out our page for more info

In New York in February? Check Out Our Drones at Toy Fair!

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Toy Fair LogoToy Fair is one of the largest toy shows in the world. It’s where most every child would like to be, and we’ll be there next month with a flock of new drones.

They run from battle-ready, kid-friendly micro fliers to a compact high-performance camera drone that’s smaller than a sheet of paper but captures stunning 4K video from thousands of feet away.

And we’ll have our JETJAT ULTRA, selected by parents, industry experts and journalists as a finalist for 2017 Toy of the Year. Small enough to hide in a teacup, the ULTRA sends video right to your smartphone.

Take our latest drones up for a spin. Toy Fair opens at the Javits Center Saturday, February 18, and runs through Tuesday, February 22. We’ll be in booth 5947 on the first floor.

TOTY Finalist




Mota Rules the Skies @ CES

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Held each January in Las Vegas, CES is one of the largest consumer electronics shows in the world.


ces post image


We showed off cool new products, from the palm-sized JETJAT Striker drones—battle-tough, kid-friendly micro drones just for play—to a very large drone for extended operations like search and rescue in harsh weather.


We also showed off JETJAT JoJo, new to our drone line-up. Smaller than a sheet of paper, it packs a 14-megapixel camera for stunning 4K video, optical sensors for precise flight indoors as well and out and autoflkight software to make drone piloting easy. It takes camera drones to new heights of image quality and performance.


Both the Strikers and JoJo will be available very soon at major retailers.


More than 175,000 people came to CES. Now it’s on to New York and Toy Fair in February!

New iPhones Tomorrow

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iPhone line-up


Apple unveils its newest iPhone line up tomorrow at 10:00 PT.

By many measures the iPhone 6s is the best-selling smartphone in the world. So, how could they improve on it?

Well, their phones could be even thinner and lighter. And of course higher performance.

Our sources in the heart of Shenzhen and elsewhere tell us what you can look for. In decreasing probability:

  • Apple Lightning connector / Bluetooth replacing the earbud jack for thinner design.
  • Cooler colors.
  • Increased water resistance.
  • New dual-camera system.
  • Higher-capacity storage.
  • Better optical image stabilization, including for smaller models.
  • Fingerprint reader.
  • Wireless charging.
  • 3D Touch or Force Touch home button, or even no home button at all.
  • Edge-to-edge organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen.
  • Iris scanner.

Mmmm, we’d love to see that OLED screen, whether watching a movie or using VR to pilot a drone.
Headphone jack OTOH, meh, no great loss: that technology’s been around since the beginning of landline telephones, longer even than museum pieces like folding maps and floppy disks.

Whatever Cupertino dishes up tomorrow, we’ll be there for you with accessories to make Apple’s latest phones even more fun and useful than they promise to be.

And those of you wanting to just hang on to what you’ve got, we’ve got you covered with a stylish array of MOTA mobile accessories. They’ll help keep your devices protected, juiced up, and raring to go.


MOTA Father’s Day Appreciation Guide

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We know just how important Father’s Day is. Fathers are a rare breed. In fact, there are some that really go the extra mile. Did you know that in the underwater world of seahorses, it’s the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies? How’s that for a little fatherly love?

Census data shows there are more than 70.1 million dads in the U.S. alone. That’s a whole lot of dads. Why not make yours happy on this special day and give him the gift of cool? And for that, we got you covered.

Mota offers a wide range of recreational drones and consumer electronics perfect for the dad or dads in your life. From ways to keep him cool in the summer heat with our great-looking FanFan, to capturing life’s unforgettable moments with our tiny JETJAT Nano-C camera drone, keep your dad happily in the tech loop.

Follow the link for cool gift ideas:

Mini Video, Outsized Drone Strategy

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Everyone likes miniature things. Just think of anything that can come in mini sizes and realize how amazing it is. Mini ponies. Mini vacations. Mini malls. Minnie Mouse? Okay maybe the last one is a different kind of mini but you get the point.

That’s why we have this mini video showing you the latest buzz on our smart drones from CES Asia 2016. Even with a tagline like mini, this video is packed with so much information we should change the title to huge or monstrous. But, we’re not going to do that. Instead you’ll get to watch over a minute of exhilarating footage packed into a mini package.

Here’s a little peek into just how much buzz the JETJAT Nano-C is receiving.

MOTA Drones Streak through Toy Fair

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You made it through the Big Easy’s Mardi Gras, or maybe you’re gearing up for the Grammys in L.A., but if you’re in New York City this week, you’re probably wishing for temps out of the single digits.

Toy Fair could be enough to warm your heart. It’s one of the largest toy shows in the world, and we’re there with our newest just-for-fun drones!

One of them, the world’s littlest, even goes on an adventure. In an illustrated story we’re showing at our booth, JETJAT Nano™ takes off exploring. He has several airborne scrapes before his family finds him again.

It’s what Dr. Seuss might have written had The Cat in the Hat flown a drone on his own, and not too different from the rave reviews for Nano in WIRED magazine, Amazon, and elsewhere!

You can create your own Nano story: test fly the little guy right there, or take his newer brother, JETJAT Nano-C, up for a spin.

Think Nano plus a camera, making Nano-C the world’s smallest,lightest video drone.

Add a few more gumballs and you’ll get JETJAT Live-W. It’s small enough to land on your palm but smart enough to record live streams in hi def for a thrilling bird’s eye view of the show floor.

We’re also showing off our many other premium toys such as the Kendama wooden ball game of skill, fire truck engines that shoot real water, ultra-realistic construction trucks, and foam play and puzzle mats for the very young.

If you want to play with any of them, better hurry. The show opened this past Saturday and runs only through tomorrow, Tuesday. We’re in booth 4989 on the first floor of the Javits Center.



New Drones Landing at CES!

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Hope everyone had a happy turkey day and profitable Black Friday / Cyber Monday!

This holiday season we’re asking Santa to fly the world’s smallest, lightest drone, JETJAT™ Nano, to every household. “FUN FUN FUN!!!” wrote one customer over at Amazon, where it’s been flying out the doors faster than Santa’s sleigh.


santa gif

Free Fly Safely! Poster

Our little Nano packs outsized performance in an über-small package. It gives everyone the thrill of flight, so we also launched Fly Safely! to encourage drone etiquette. See how to tread the sky lightly; download our nifty free infographic poster!

Now for the sneak peek: With New Year’s approaching, we’re excited to be jetjatting off to North America’s premier consumer electronics show, CES Las Vegas, Jan. 6 – 10.

We’ve cooked up a smörgåsbord of über-slick drones to demo, from powerful little personal flight machines to commercial-grade workhorses capable of autonomous missions.

Here’s a sneak preview of one:

drone render 1 transparent


If you’re at CES please stop by our booth 72749 in the Sands Expo. We’re right on the main aisle.

We’ll have many more fun new products in the coming year.

Meanwhile don’t forget to show off your JETJAT Nano piloting skills to your friends!

MOTA Goes Worldwide!

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Team MOTA touched back down on California soil after a week in Dallas for Fall Toy Preview. Our diorama was a hit and the MOTA JetJat Nano drone was a hot product at the show.

dallas toy booth

MOTA has grown substantially over the past few months and will continue to do so. Among our latest milestones we are happy to announce a new partnership with D&H Distributing, one of the largest consumer electronics distributors in the nation. Read about them at

Signing D&H, Tama in Japan and Kondor in the UK and Ireland means MOTA’s gone worldwide! Our products can now deliver happiness to your doorstep. Stay tuned for even more news about our rapid growth.

cyber gif

The holidays are just around the corner and Team MOTA will be hard at work to deliver holiday cheer in the coming months. We hope you’re anxiously awaiting our new family of drones, some hot new products we can’t tell you about yet, as well as a plethora of toys.







JETJAT™ Spotted Over Dallas!

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Forget Area 51, JETJAT Nano has taken to the Texas skies!


After many late nights perfecting our latest and greatest gadgets and toys, a lucky few of us have decamped to Dallas to show some fun products at the Fall Toy Preview, including the world’s smallest, lightest drone: MOTA JETJAT™ Nano!

The show opens today at the Dallas Market Center and runs through Thursday. It’s a who’s who of the toy business.

If you’re at the event, stop by our booth #13-3331 and test fly JETJAT Nano for yourself! It makes the fun of drone flight possible for almost everyone.

If you prefer more traditional pleasures, we have just the item for you! Kendama was a classic form of entertainment and test of skill in old Japan. And now MOTA ‘is bringing fun times back, YEAH!’ (in our best Justin Timberlake Impression; sorry).

Kendama’s catching on big time at a schoolyard or park near you. Think you‘ve got what it takes to beat our team members? Challenge us to a match at the show!
disney animated GIF


While some of us get to have all the fun at Fall Toy Preview, others are back home beavering away on CES in January. It’s the largest consumer electronics show in North America, and we’ll have tons of cool new products for it.

Meanwhile, here’s to prosperous fall and spooky Halloween for all!
Digg animated GIF


MOTA Heads to Japan!

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We are thrilled to announce a partnership with Japan’s largest consumer electronics distributor, Tama Electronics, for our wireless Charger for GoPro and other products. Japan is one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world, and Tama has a long history serving Japan’s many specialist electronics retailers. We look forward to selling our products in Japan, now and for a long time to come!

Stay Cool with FanFan

Nothing beats the agony of seeing summer come and go so quickly…. Unless you live in warmer regions and wake up sweating to fall’s 90+ degree weather. The sleek new MOTA FanFan cools down you and your gadgets. Runs off your laptop or phone, including Apple Lightning. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, then good luck staying—or even looking—cool!


Everything On the Go

On the topic of cool gear/hot weather, if you’re a GoPro user you’ll want to pack along some power with your HERO 3’s/4’s. Take them for a spin while whitewater rafting or capture the rush that comes with parachuting from a plane. Every HERO needs a sidekick and MOTA has just that with MOTA Wireless Charger for GoPro. It’s the only charger that juices up the camera in its housing without need of a wall  outlet. How cool is that? Enough to score an “Excellent” rating from CNET. They recommended it for all serious GoPro users, “well worth the investment for keeping your camera powered up wherever you are”.



A big THANK YOU, too, to all the backers and support during our crowdfunding. We are all very excited about this charge and are humbled by high-scoring reviews. Stay tuned for more cool new products on the way, no matter what the weather. They’ll be here faster than a presidential candidate can say “super PAC.”

Into the Summer with Free MOTA Products!

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Summer’s finally in the air! Days are warmer and longer, and many people are lining up to take a break, even briefly, from our busy work lives for some time in the sun.

You know what that means! Time to bust out our tech gadgets and take them for a run. Whether it’s a GoPro, a selfie stick or just your smartphone, staying connected and powered up helps make the season more enjoyable.

Starting this July 4th holiday weekend, we’re partnering with America’s tech radio show Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline for a very special, first-ever, MOTA summer product giveaway!

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Father’s Day Flash Sale!

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Did you know Father’s Day was invented by a woman? More than 100 years ago Sonora Dodd proposed a day to honor fathers. Her idea spread throughout America but wasn’t recognized nationwide until 1966.

Ms. Dodd was partial to roses for Father’s Day. This year Americans want consumer electronics for our dads. We’ll spend about $2 billion on Father’s Day gadgets, more than on sporting goods and home improvement tools combined.

And MOTA’s just made it easier for you to get the perfect gift for your dad or anyone in your life.

Visit our shop for some incredible prices on a selection of products in our first-ever Father’s Day Flash Sale! Read More

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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As the adage goes: April showers bring May flowers. But just as not everyone can count on rain, not everyone always wants flowers. With Mother’s Day around the corner, what’s the best gift?

According to the National Retail Federation*, the average American family will spend $172.63 on moms this year, up from $162.94 last year. Even in our high-tech age, 80 percent of families will purchase a plain-vanilla, if loving, greeting card. Boring!

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MOTA Expands into Europe’s Largest Consumer Electronics Market

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We’ve reached a new milestone this spring. After our successful European debut at IFA Berlin last September, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re expanding into the United Kingdom and Ireland!

Through a partnership with Kondor, the UK’s leading consumer electronics distributor, our products are available at Kondor’s more than 12,600 online and brick-and-mortar retailers in the UK and Ireland.

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MOTA to Exhibit at CES Asia 2015

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We’re excited to announce we’ll be at the inaugural CES Asia in Shanghai from May 25 to May 27! We’ll be joining more than 100 top companies from 12 different countries.

The Consumer Electronics Association, the organization behind the tradeshow, is designing CES so that innovative companies from large economies can gain a stronger foothold in the Chinese marketplace, which is on pace to become the largest in the world.

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