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Sean Captain

Sean Captain is a Bay Area technology, science, and policy journalist. Follow him on Twitter @SeanCaptain.

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Minneapolis went up in flames on Wednesday when protests over the death of George Floyd turned violent. Drones captured the aftermath of the Minneapolis riot on Thursday morning, in which at least 16 structures went up in flames. expand full story

Coronavirus lockdown videos have become a genre unto themselves. By now we’ve seen so many hauntingly empty vistas of great cities like Paris, London, New York, and Rome. Yet a fresh New York lockdown drone video by YouTuber DroneFanatic shows more of the city than you would expect, and from fantastic heights and angles. expand full story


DJI has an amazing assortment of drones and other photo gear that makes it onto many people’s wish lists. If you have such a list, see if you can hold onto it a little longer. Because the DJI Father’s Day sale, from June 12 to 21, is going to be a doozy. expand full story

China’s rural population is diminishing and aging as young people move to the cities for better opportunities. That leaves a potential labor shortage for traditional agriculture such as rice planting. Now drone maker XAG claims it has a solution. expand full story

Drones have made multiple close flybys of the LA home of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in recent weeks. The couple and their young son Archie are the subjects of intense press attention that has the family on edge. They also fear more nefarious intentions of the drone operators.

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May 26

There are perhaps 100 million unexploded munitions such as landmines strewn about the countryside in conflict regions such as Afghanistan. Now a marriage of drones and AI offers new prospects to detect landmines and save lives. expand full story

Drones, like other high-tech products, change often. With every new model, there’s some incentive to upgrade. And selling your current drone is a good way to gather up some scratch to buy that new model. expand full story

There’s been a lot of animosity towards police use of drones during the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens and civil rights groups fear that authorities have gone too far by observing people throughout public spaces to see if they are following social distancing rules. expand full story

It can take six hours to get from a hospital in Oban, Scotland, to one on the nearby Isle of Mull, just 10 miles away. But a drone delivery can cover the distance in only 15 minutes, allowing it to bring urgently needed medical supplies on demand. expand full story

May 25

Wing, owned by Google parent company Alphabet, is doing a brisk drone delivery business around the world. The company operates in Australia, Finland, and Virginia in the US, and has seen its deliveries double month after month globally. expand full story

Volcanos are most interesting when they are most active. But that’s also when they are most dangerous. Now volcanologists are using drones to get close-up views of volcanos without putting themselves at risk. expand full story

Rotterdam in the Netherlands has the busiest port in Europe. And now it’s getting just a tad busier with the arrival of drone deliveries. expand full story

Some people who purchased the DJI Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo have experienced problems with batteries that cannot be activated. DJI has now published instructions to resolve the issue on its user forum. expand full story

May 24

DJI’s Mavic Air 2 is the hot new drone on the market right now. And with so many going up in the air, a few are likely to come down a bit harder than their owners had meant. For these mishaps, a new Mavic Air 2 teardown shows that the drone is fairly easy to fix, with some caveats. expand full story

DJI is famous as a drone company, a maker of flying cameras. But those aren’t the only cameras in the company’s lineup. It also has a line of action cams called Osmo. And for the next month, two DJI Osmo models will be on sale at steep discounts.

The sale runs on the DJI store from May 24 to June 23 and covers both the Osmo Action and Osmo Pocket cameras. expand full story

May 23

It’s not quite Star Wars, but laser weapons are real. The US Navy just demonstrated that capability when it downed a drone in tests of a new ship-mounted laser in the Pacific Ocean. expand full story

May 22

The Autel Robotics vs. DJI patent is the drone world’s equivalent of Apple vs. Samsung—an intellectual property suit that threatens to shut down the import of tech products into the US. Autel scored a small victory last week, with a preliminary ruling in its favor, but the case is long from over. expand full story

As America gradually starts to reopen its economy after COVID-19 lockdowns, the need to continually disinfect public spaces is growing. Researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have a suggestion: build disinfecting drones with germ-killing UV-C lights. expand full story

COVID-19 is pushing society to get creative with how we do business and use technology. That’s included calls to expand drone use for contact-free deliveries. Now two senators are calling on the FAA to waive rules that slow down development of drone delivery services. expand full story

For half a week in early May, the skies over Latvia were virtually shut down when an experimental drone went missing over the country. At last the drone has shown up, stuck in a tree. expand full story

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