Emerging Tech

Drone app B4UFLY should receive a better rating in the app store soon

An all-new B4UFLY app for drone hobbyists is on the way, which, looking at the app store ratings for the current offering, is fabulous news.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched the B4UFLY app in 2016 in a bid to help drone pilots to fly safely and responsibly, you know, like flying clear of airports and crowds.

But pretty much since it first became available, the app has been lambasted by numerous users, leaving it with a paltry 1.5/5 rating in the iOS App Store, and 1.7/5 in Android’s Play Store. Criticisms of the app include confusing information, slow speeds, and glitchy operation.

Having finally concluded that B4UFLY in its current form really isn’t of much use to anybody, the FAA has handed responsibility for it to drone fleet management software firm Kittyhawk.

The San Francisco-based startup is promising a simple, easy-to-understand mobile app that quickly and accurately shows drone operators where they can and can’t fly.

“Our primary focus at Kittyhawk is safety,” company founder Joshua Ziering said in a blog post announcing the news. “We know that the future of a successful integration of drones into the national airspace depends upon a strong foundation of safety. This means giving pilots the information they need in a precise, reliable, and concise format.”

Kittyhawk launched in 2015 and helps businesses to incorporate drone operations into their daily work. Up to now its drone platform has helped to power more than 500,000 safe and compliant commercial drone flights across the U.S., and served tens of millions of requests for airspace information that assists commercial and hobbyist operators alike.

The refreshed B4UFLY app is expected to launch in the first half of this year, and this time around should be worth the download.

Commenting on the decision to overhaul the app, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said, “As drone sales increase and our nation’s airspace becomes busier and more complex, it’s vital that we work smarter and partner with the private sector to develop innovative products that advance safety.”

Other initiatives aiming to organize drones in the skies include a traffic management system developed by NASA, with advanced testing expected to take place in the coming months.

The current B4UFLY app will continue to be available in app stores until the revamped version arrives. We’ll let you know when it lands.

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Emerging Tech – Digital Trends

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