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Why Lume Cube Created the Strobe: Anti-Collision Light for Drones & The Ultimate How-To Guide

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The increased need for anti-collision lighting and the creation of the Lume Cube Strobe! 

If you haven’t seen yet, the Lume Cube team has released the third light in our family, 
the Strobe: Anti-Collision Lights for Drones.  
   

The Strobe is the 3rd light in Lume Cube’s line, but the first light that was not designed to illuminate, but to be an indicator light for safety. You may be wondering why we took a shift in our product development to create a light full of functionality but lacks the creative potential of our other products…

 

We caught up with Lume Cube co-founder and VP of Sales & Marketing, Riley Stricklin, to break down why we created The Strobe. 

What is the Lume Cube Strobe?


The Strobe is an anti-collision indicator light designed for drones and UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles). It has the ability to strobe in White, Red, or Green light and improves the level of safety for any drone pilot.

 

What makes NOW such a good time for this product in the drone industry?

From both creative content to commercial application, drones and the industries surrounding them is growing rapidly year-over-year. They are becoming widely used by hobbyists, commercial pilots, and law enforcement in ways that we never even imagined. To keep up with the rapid growth, regulations are being put into place and are updated every year by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Many of these regulations are in regards to where & when you can fly, which is where the Strobe comes in.


As drones become a common tool for the mass market of creators and commercial pilots, regulations have been slowly adapting to support the widespread use of drones. In January of 2019, the FAA announced 2 major updates to drone regulation (as announced in the Wall Street Journal here).


1.  Flying over crowds. 

2.  Flying at night. 

     

    Point #2 above is where anti-collision lighting has officially entered the regulation talks stated to become a requirement for any night flights. For us, we saw this transition coming and were already in development of the Lume Cube Strobe. We wanted people to have an easy-to-use professional solution that meets basic regulation once those laws went into effect. 

     

    Why is this product needed by so many droners out there?


    I think there are very few drone users out there that are confident that they fully understand the regulations and legality behind flying a drone. There is a big grey area mainly because regulations are constantly updated each year. The Strobe will make everybody who uses it one step closer to safe and legal flying. It makes flying at night and twilight safer for themselves and other drone pilots or traditional aircraft pilots. Just as cars use headlights at night so a road collision doesn't happen, the Strobe will act in a similar function for aerial vehicles/pilots.

     

    What does anti-collision lighting actually mean?


    Anti-collision lighting technically (in Aviation) is a term defining indicators to avoid an aerial collision. When you're on a plane and look out the window and see those flashing blinking light on the wingtips, those are anti-collision lights. There is also 3-mile visibility requirements in place to account for the speed of other aircraft and allowing time to avoid a collision. 

    3+ Miles Away


    How did you determine the Strobe Speeds of the light? 

     
    Once again the FAA is very clear in terms of what they require in terms of strobe speeds. This goes back to the history of flying, a pilot needs to know the difference between an aircraft, top of a mountain antenna, or lighthouse in order to avoid them. The FAA determines that for an anti-collision light it must strobe no less than 40 times a minute and no more than 100 times per minute. So we choose a 60 strobes per minute speed which is right in line with federal requirements.


    How is it different from other anti-collision lights out there on the market?

     
    The core difference is that when we approached the market there were basically two types of anti-collision lights on the market. 

    1.  Affordable sub-$100 anti-collision lights where nearly all of them were DIY type open PCB board, and very minimal in terms of the solution they offered (single color, etc). 
    2.  Big, bulky, enclosed strobe lights that were north of $150.

    So, we chose to take the approach of including every feature we could, meet all basic regulation, allow it to mount to any drone on the market, and max out at a $49 price point. 

    With every Lume Cube Strobe comes with a red and a green color cap. We added this after surveying top individuals in the Aviation space as Red & Green options provide the pilot to use the Strobe to indicate directional lighting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

     What do you have to say to those who think the Strobe is too expensive?

     

     

    When you look at the anti-collision light market, the closest lights in terms of performance and encasement range from $50 to $150. So, what we did was ultimately come in at a consumer-friendly price point of $49.95 (lower end of the market) but work to pack a lot of the additional features (multiple strobe Speeds, Green and Red color caps, dual locks for any drone mounting, weatherproof, long run times, rechargeable, etc).

    This is not a simply designed product. 

    At first glance, we certainly understand their perspective and encourage all opinions. If you think this is just a blinking LED, I urge you to read deeper regarding the specs designed around this product. There is a lot of technology, specific firmware programming, and custom design for the product. The Strobe is a finished product and focuses on performance, we even thought of design as this is likely going on a very sleek and high-end $1,000+ Drone. Aesthetics of your gear and how it looks/functions (the way the color caps clip on, the button-less design, the way the charge port is weatherproofed, etc) have all been strategically designed for use on a Drone. We pride ourselves in doing a lot of open market research before any product is developed, and once completed, bring it to market at a price we believe is fair and affordable. Knowing every user is putting this on a $1,000-$10,000+ drone, we believe the $49.95 investment to ensure you are one step closer to safety and preventing any possible collisions is a great value.



    Why did you make colored caps? Why not just make 1 blinking light? 


    Multi-Color strobes are not a requirement yet by the FAA, but as drones become more regulated, different color options (Red/Green for direction, Blue for law enforcement, etc) can be very beneficial. 

    red, white, green

    We know that fas the industry progresses, the drone regulations are only going to continue to be evolve and become more specific, so we chose to get ahead of the game and add colored cap capability (more colors to come!). 



    How do I know it is not going to interfere with my drone? 


    We chose our components very specifically so that they would not interfere with the drones GPS. The biggest single thing that can interfere with drone flying are magnets, so we strategically designed the product with no magnets and identified components with no magnetic fields to avoid any issue.

     

    Will the Strobe affect my photo or video in any way? 

     

    The Strobe light doesn’t have any impact on your drone footage unless you mount it extremely close to your camera (which we don’t recommend).



    Explain the Dual Lock technology used to stick the Strobe to the drone. Sure looks like velcro… What makes the Dual Lock so different? 


    The Dual lock is not velcro. Velcro is a fabric material that interlocks but not in a formal pattern, it just sort of links up to itself and has a very mild attachment. We considered velcro but knew that drones are flying at high speeds, in sport mode, or in alternative weather conditions so we knew we needed something stronger that wouldn’t fall off the drone.

    Dual Lock

    Dual Lock is a firm plastic material that interlocks in a pattern. The best way to think about it is little interlocking fists that lock together and takes a rigid force to take it out. You can even mount the strobe on to a Mavic 2 and pick up the entire drone by the strobe, that is how firm 3M Dual Lock is.  



    Why create a one mount fits all solution and not a different mounting solution per drone (like your other Drone Lighting Kits)? 


    It allows anybody to use this product. No matter if you have a small drone from a DJI Spark to a Matric 210 or larger. It is nearly weightless at 10 grams (weight of 2 quarters in your pocket). The ultimate goal was for us to provide a high-performance product to every drone user that they could benefit from regardless of which drone they own.

    Strobe Sizes

    Is this product for hobbyists or commercial pilots?


    Absolutely both! Collisions are a risk for any and all drone pilots, so adding an Anti-Collision indicator light can be beneficial for both hobbyist and commercial pilots. 


    How much does it weigh? 


    10 grams (less than 2 quarters)


    How long does it last? 


    6.5 Hours on Fast Strobe Mode


    Can you use the strobe for creative photography?


    Absolutely! Our strobe has three settings


    1.  A high-speed strobe which is a flashing mode, a 1/60th of a second flash similar to what you would see on an aircraft. 
    2.  A slower strobe mode which is at the 1 hertz, 60 strobes per second frequency but it actually goes for about half of a second flash which means it is a little slower but more visible, and less painful on the eyes 
    3.  A continuous mode, with an output of 500-lumens, which is a similar brightness output to other creative drone lights.

     

     

     

    Thanks for reading! If you have any further questions, feel free to email us at support@lumecube.com.