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.
Google’s Wing Aviation receives the first FAA approval for a drone delivery service in the US. We already reported on this two weeks ago, saying that it would likely be Wing Aviation that would receive the first approval for a delivery service by drone. Today, the commercial drone operator received important government approval to operate as an airline, which gives it the legal authority to deliver products by drone to real customers. The company plans to start routine deliveries by drone in two rural communities in Virginia within the next few months.
Today, the Fort Wayne City Council will consider a new ordinance that will put restrictions on when and where drones can be flown. The ordinance would restrict drone flying within a 5,500-foot radius of the Superior Lofts building or within a 500-yard horizontal radius of, or anywhere above, a public event without first notifying the city.
In our series Drones for Good, we glad to report on this story. Researchers equipped with drone tech rediscover a flower thought to be extinct in a remote part of Kauai’s Kalalau Valley in Hawaii. The flower, a Hibiscadelphus Woodii, grows high on the face of a mountain ridge in an extremely biodiverse area.
Chinese police stopped a smuggling operation that used a zip line and drone to send electronic gadgets, high-end cosmetics and nutricial supplements totaling more than $70.000, from Hong Kong to mainland China. Chinese police said that the zip line and drone made smuggling the items easy.
Shipping authorities in Denmark have adopted a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to detect shipping sulphur emission levels. The shipping emissions detection system, developed by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), will be deployed along the Great Belt region where large tankers travel from and to the Baltic Sea.
We have reported on many stories in which drones were used to find missing people, however, this one is a first. In Florida, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office deployed Six (!) drones to help find a missing 77-year-old man. The man, who reportedly suffers from health and mental challenges, was lost for two hours when the Sheriff’s Office was contacted. The CCSO deployed their Drone Operations Unit, who divided the search area in a grid and deployed six drones in search of the missing man. The CCSO obviously knew what they were doing and the man was found and brought back to safety.
What stands out in this story is not just the fact that drones were used on the search, but that the CCSO has a dedicated Drone Operations Unit that methodically executed the search and use multiple drones to find the missing person faster. I hope this story gets picked up by many police and fire departments around the country (world) as it is a great example of how drones can be successfully used. You can read the report from the CCSO below.
According to DJI, this is (at least) the 228th person around the world who has been rescued with the help of a drone. Drones for good.
A video released by The Guardian shows the extent of the fire damage of the Notre Dame Cathedral. In a recent article, it was said that the cathedral was only 15 to 30 minutes away from complete destruction, had the fire reached the bell towers. DJI drones played a key role in preventing that horrible scenario from playing out as they provided strategic information to the fireman as to how the fire was spreading and where to position the firehoses. Today we see in this drone footage by the entire roof is gone as a result of the fire. At one point in the video, you also see the gaping holes in the ceiling left by parts of the roof and the spire collapsing through it. The French President Macron has vowed to restore the cathedral and make it even more beautiful than before within the next five years.
Today, DJI released a new Mavic 2 firmware update. The previous update was released late January and introduced waypoints to the Mavic 2 among other things. This update introduces a Dual Remote Controller mode, a feature that will be appreciated mostly by professional users, such as filmmakers, police, firemen and search and rescue operations. DJI also fixed some smaller issues that had to do with making sure that the correct GPS information is displayed when viewing photos on a computer. And, fixed abnormal gimbal movement after completing a QuickShot Rocket.
Last night, a massive fire destroyed the roof and spire of the Norte Dame in Paris. DJI drones helped firefighters put out the inferno. French firefighters used the drones, likely a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual and an M210 borrowed from the culture and interior ministries, to aid them in tackling the blaze. The unmanned aircraft provided insight into how the fire was spreading and helped firefighters to determine the most effective positions of fire hoses.
As we fully support female drone pilots, we’d like to point out that in a short video from the French Ministry of the Interior a woman is seen at the controls of what seems to be a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual drone.
Update: Gabriel Plus, spokesperson for the French firefighters was reported to have said:
“It is thanks to these drones, to this new technique absolutely unavoidable today, that we could make tactical choices to stop this fire at a time when it was potentially occupying the two belfries.”
Before the proposed FAA rules come into effect there is a timeframe in which you can submit your comments. As of now, fewer than 100 comments have been received about flight at night and over people. The FAA actually pays attention to your input and takes it into consideration when making the final rules.
You can submit your comments on:
So, please take a minute or two and check out these links below and submit your comments for the FAA to consider. The deadline is Monday, April 15th. You can read DJI’s official statement below.
Update 1: when we wrote this article, only 84 comments had been submitted to the FAA. Now a few days later the counter sits at 306 comments. That is great news! DJI’s message has spread to a number of other websites as well and that obviously helped to reach a larger number of drone pilots. It is good to see such an immediate response coming out of our community. Keep in mind we still have four more days to go, so please keep submitting your comments to the FAA. the original article was posted on April 9th.
Update 2: Keep in mind the deadline is at the end of the 15th, meaning you can still submit your comments today! As of today, the comments counter stands at 647, which is quite an achievement, considering that we were only at 84 last week. Thanks to all of the media outlets pushing for comments over the last so many days, and to all the drone pilots and operators who submitted their feedback and comments to the FAA!
It seems like no other DJI product has received this many product updates in such a short time frame. Today, DJI releases yet another new Osmo Pocket firmware update. Version v01.06.00.30. This latest firmware update solves an issue that has to do with incorrect timestamps on photos and videos. It is a relatively small update but a necessary one.
The previous firmware update was released less than two weeks ago. In that update, DJI improved face tracking, focus pulsing and added an icon when you add an external microphone to the device.
While the DJI Osmo Pocket may not deliver the video quality professional videographers and filmmakers are after, especially in low light conditions, I still really like the gimbal-stabilized camera for its ease-of-use and pocketability. The Osmo Pocket is so easy to take with you and in the right conditions provides both good video quality and sound quality, that I always bring it with me.
The French drone maker, Parrot launches the ANAFI Thermal, a light-weight and very compact drone with an integrated FLIR thermal camera aimed at professional drone pilots. This new drone is launched as an all in one package, which includes the drone, the thermal sensor, and the software. The ANAFI Thermal, three batteries, and a shoulder bag will retail for $1,900 USD and will be available at authorized retailers starting next month. The ANAFI Thermal competes head-on with the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual as it offers the same resolution (160 x 120) FLIR thermal sensor but at a lower price ($1,900 instead of $2,699 for the Enterprise Dual).
Without drones, planting a billion trees would take a long time
Last September in a remote field south of Yangon, Myanmar trees were planted with the help of drones. The unmanned aircraft are made by Biocarbon Engineering and they shoot biodegradable pods—filled with a germinated seed and nutrients—into the ground. The mangrove saplings that were planted last year are now about 20 inches tall. Planting trees with the help of drones could speed up reforestation and help fight climate change. This story is a great example of how drones can be used for good.
Last night a drone illegally flew over Fenway Park during a Red Sox-Blue Jays game. According to Boston Police, the drone was first spotted around 9:30 pm and was last seen around 10:20 pm. The Red Sox said that they have reported the incident to the Police. Both the police and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) are looking into the situation. Flying drones over crowds or over a packed stadium are against the FAA’s regulations. DJI issued a statement on the drone incident as well.
A Federal Aviation Administration official said that the agency expects to award the first license to operate a drone delivery service next month. The spokesperson did not name the company that would be receiving the license but it seems that the only likely candidate is Wing Aviation LCC, a subsidiary from Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc. And, the same company that received approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority to start making deliveries by drone in the northern suburbs of Canberra after a safety assessment.
This morning, DJI releases a new firmware update for the DJI Mavic Air. The firmware, unfortunately, does not include any new or improved features this time. What is it does do however is solve an issue when operating the DJI Mavic Air and its remote controller in Panama. I have no idea why there would be an issue flying your DJI Mavic Air in Panama, but it should be solved now. If any of our readers actually flies a Mavic Air in Panama and has experienced this issue, we’d love to hear from you.
Today, Google parent Alphabet Inc’s, Wing made its first delivery by drone in Cranberry, Australia after receiving approval from the country’s Civil Aviation Authority. Initially, the drone delivery service will only be available to 100 eligible homes in Grace, Palmerston, and Franklin. Later it will be slowly expanded to other customers in Harrison and Gungahlin.
Tiffen filter kits for DJI Osmo Pocket. Not too long ago, Chris published this massive 54-filter test for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom drones. Among the various filters tested, were filters from the well-known company Tiffen and their filters performed very well. They have now released a filter set for the DJI Osmo Pocket. This should really appeal to anybody, who is using the Osmo Pocket for more serious video recording. The filter kit consists either of a three-filter kit of neutral density polarizer filters and a six-filter kit of neutral density and neutral density polarizers.
In a second story about drones for good, an injured hiker was rescued with the help of a drone. The woman had fallen nearly 30-feet, down a rocky slope in Clear Creek Canyon in Denver, Colorado. A drone was used to locate the woman, but it took three dozen rescue workers nearly six hours, an inflatable raft and two rope systems to bring the hiker back to safety from the inaccessible backcountry. Based on the photos in a tweet from West Metro Fire Rescue, it seems that another DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise has been used in this rescue.
This morning, DJI announced the continuation of their partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to advance the use of drones. The LAFD will get access to DJI’s latest drone technology, training, and support. This is very exciting news as we see an increase in the use of unmanned aircraft by both police and fire departments around the country to help save people’s lives and bring them back home safely. Just see today’s stories here on DroneDJ.