Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone-related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, and Electrek.
Roughly two weeks ago we wrote this piece on the status and price increases of DJI drones in the official DJI online store. As a result of the trade war tariffs, DJI increased the prices on a range of its products, including the DJI Mavic 2, DJI Care Refresh, and batteries for the Mavic and Phantom series. At the same time, the Chinese drone maker also removed all of the DJI Phantom 4 series from their official online store. However, that has now changed. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 returns to the DJI online store albeit at a higher price and unfortunately is still out of stock. The other Phantoms are still MIA.
A couple of weeks ago climate change activists, who are part of the Extinction Rebellion movement, had announced that they would be using toy drones to disrupt air traffic at Heathrow Airport in the UK today. The operation was called Heathrow Pause. However, British police made a number of arrests leading up to the planned disruption and also used jamming technology to prevent drones from taking off earlier today.
DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, and Delair, a leading provider of visual data management solutions for enterprise, today announced a partnership that will see the two companies collaborate on enhanced and integrated solutions for visual data collection and analysis for businesses. The partnership will include an agreement for Delair to sell DJI products through its worldwide sales channel, along with launching a relationship to build compatibility across platforms.
DJI Spark and DJI Mavic are now permanent part of LAPD’s arsenal
DJI Spark and DJI Mavic drone models are a permanent part of LAPD’s arsenal since Tuesday this week, despite opposition from privacy advocates who are afraid that the unmanned aircraft will become a spying tool for the LA police force.
Anthropology professor uses drones to fight malaria in Africa
Oakland University Professor Jon Carroll went to Africa last summer to explore how drones can help in the fight against Malaria. He is using unmanned aircraft and software used for precision agriculture to support public health, environmental protection, food security, and other efforts.
Audi has used drones for headlights in a new electric vehicle concept car that was shown at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new EV is called the Audi AI:Trail and like most concept cars, will likely never enter production. The design team at the German car manufacturer took things one step further on this vehicle and included five rotorless, triangular, battery-powered drones with integrated matrix LED lights to light up the path in front of the car.
In a year in which DJI has yet to launch a new drone, the competition is heating up. Parrot keeps prodding DJI at the lower end of the market with lightweight and affordable drones. Skydio is about to launch a competitor to the DJI Mavic 2 drone series. And today. FreeFly introduces the Alta X, a drone aimed at film and documentary makers, that puts new competitive pressure to the top of the drone market. Let’s take a closer look and see what FreeFly offers us with the Alta X.
Drone impersonating Kaysville Police prompts public warning
The police of Kaysville, Utah are investigating reports of a drone approaching people and impersonating Kaysville Police. As the unmanned aircraft approaches people it barks orders.
BP launches drones to monitor methane emissions
Drones have been making their inroads into many different industries, one of which is the oil and gas industry. Today, BP said that the company is launching a new system of gas cloud imaging drones to monitor and help reduce methane emissions.
Led by Volvo owner Geely, air-taxi Volocopter raises $55M
Led by Volvo owner Geely, air-taxi Volocopter has raised $55M and hopes to bring the passenger drone and services to market in the next two to three years. The company’s focus has not been on the US market due to regulatory challenges.
Maybe Skydio does it on purpose. Maybe not. Either way, the marketing team that releases the teaser videos for the new Skydio 2 drone always put a little easter egg in there somewhere. The first video showed the shade of the drone, which revealed to us that there will not be a metal band or casing around the entire drone as was the case with the Skydio R1. The latest video shows somebody who presumingly is flying the drone and he seems to be holding a remote controller for the Skydio 2 drone. More control over the unmanned aircraft with a dedicated remote controller might just turn the Skydio 2 into a true DJI Mavic 2 Pro competitor. expand full story
MSU research group uses drones to examine climate trends in Alaska
A team of researchers from Montana State University’s College of Agriculture brought drones to examine climate trends to Fairbanks, Alaska. The research group will use data from the drones in combination with ground measurements and data from other sources to improve their understanding of how the climate might be changing.
Photo: Researchers from the Montana State University Land Resources Environmental Sciences department recently traveled to Alaska to collect data on thawing permafrost soils in boreal and arctic regions. Courtesy of MSU News Service.
One of the main hurdles preventing commercial drone applications from taking off in the US is Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems or drones. Without Remote ID, officials will have no idea who is flying, where, where to, and for what purpose, and thus the FAA will keep their foot on the brake when it comes to allowing commercial drone services. The process of making Remote ID a reality has yet been delayed again by another three months as shown in this significant rulemaking report from August from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT).
AOPA assists in organizing hurricane Dorian relief efforts
Leadership from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) traveled to Florida and the Bahamas to assist general aviation organizations in mobilizing relief efforts following the devastation from Hurricane Dorian.
Photo: Extensive damage in the Bahamas was documented Sept. 3 by a U.S. Coast Guard crew from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Adam Stanton.
Dutch media report that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had helped authorities in the Netherlands to apprehend 24-year-old Abdulkadir Ü. after he discussed plans to use drones in a terror attack on New Year’s Eve in Paris in online chatrooms. The suspected drone terrorist was arrested late last year after the FBI tipped off the Dutch police.
Today, out of the blue, DJI announced in an email a discount on the DJI Osmo Pocket. The promotion apparently started on September 1st and will run until September 23rd. The 3-axis stabilized pocket camera, or handheld gimbal, can now be bought in the official DJI online store for $319 instead of $399 (although it was always offered for $349). That seems like a very good discount but our friends and colleagues at 9to5Toys have an even better deal for you. You can pick up the DJI Osmo Pocket for $271. See here for all the details.
A missing 90-year-old woman from Marquette County, Wisconsin was found with the help of a drone. According to a release by the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office, the drone was equipped with a FLIR Thermal imaging camera. The missing woman suffers from dementia. She was found by the drone.
Altitude Angel launches drone industry’s first ‘just culture’ reporting system
Altitude Angel, the world’s foremost UTM (unmanned traffic management) provider, has today announced it is to launch the world’s first ‘just culture’ reporting system for drone pilots and operators.