NYC drone startup, Aerobo, debuts micro drone for commercial use at SXSW

Commercial Drone Builder & Operator Builds New Drone for Broadcasters With New Regulation in Mind

On Monday New York City based drone startup, Aerobo, is unveiling a Micro UAS designed specifically for the broadcast television industry.  Aerobo is releasing the drone in Austin, Texas at the Google Fiber Pavilion with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Senior Advisor for UAS Integration Marke “Hoot” Gibson, during the South by Southwest festival.  Aerobo has been working on the product for the underserved professional broadcast community for over eight months and this announcement coincides with renewed interest in the Micro UAS category tied to the FAA House reauthorization bill that calls specifically for the inclusion of Micro UAS.

The Mini is a lightweight drone constructed with frangible 3D printed plastic and carbon fiber built by Aerobo in Brooklyn, New York. “The Mini is designed to exceed the safety standards set forth in the Micro UAS category of the proposed new FAA regulations,” said Aerobo Lead Aerospace Engineer, Suresh Kumar.  The Aerobo Mini weighs in under the FAA’s proposed 4.4lb weight limit, is made of deforming and frangible materials (to absorb any impact energy), and has two integral, auto-launching parachutes to lower the aircraft safely to the ground in the event of a loss of propulsion.

“We’ve already had significant interest in the Mini from the broadcast TV community, some of whom helped in the early development of the product,” said Founder & CEO Brian Streem. “We’re thrilled to be launching a broadcast quality drone that will bring never before seen images of live breaking news and sports to homes around the world.”

Early in development of the aircraft, Aerobo partnered with technology company IMT of Mt. Olive, New Jersey, to further customize a version of their new MicroLite COFDM HD transmitter. The technology that IMT brings to the Mini is crucial to bringing a robust radio frequency signal back to the ground to provide uninterrupted live TV picture.

The core principle of the Micro UAS category is that drones conforming to the rule are inherently harmless.  Prevailing thinking has ensured the harmlessness of Micro UAS primarily based on weight, but new thinking suggests that other safety mechanisms, such as parachutes, materials, and design, could factor into what the FAA considers inherently harmless.

Aerobo is a technology-enabled drone service company founded by two NYU film grads in 2013.  The company has grown beyond its cinema roots to serve customers in the entertainment, news, sports, real estate, and inspection verticals.  Aerobo is funded by New York based angel investors and is in the process of raising a Series A round.