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Drone News Roundup: Amazon Patents Drone Ski Lift, DJI Beats Autel in Patent Case, and More

BY Zacc Dukowitz
28 August 2020

A new patent from Amazon shows plans for a drone ski lift idea, in which skiers would be pulled to the top of the slops by a huge drone. The design is reminding some people of Casey Neistat’s HUMAN FLYING DRONE video from 2017—more on that below.

This week we’re also covering DJI’s win over Autel in an ongoing patent dispute, an amazing single-shot motocross video shot in a collaboration between DJI and Red Bull, a new detect-and-avoid sensor for power lines created by the U.S. Army, and Skydio’s pivot to government markets.

Now let’s get to the links!

Amazon Patents Drone Ski Lift

Photo credit: Amazon

Amazon has filed a patent application for a drone-powered ski lift, which works by towing a skier up a slope (it can also tow a water skier). The new drone patent is reminding lots of people in the drone industry of Casey Neistat’s video from 2017, in which he gets pulled by a huge drone while riding a snowboard. Check out the video below and click on the link to learn more about Amazon’s drone ski lift patent.



DJI beats Autel in Patent Case

Photo credit: DJI

Remember all that news about Autel’s patent lawsuit against DJI? Well, the final word has now been said, and DJI will not have to stop selling any of its drones in the U.S. (as has been previously reported). While the original cease and desist order in the case did order DJI to stop shipping several of its most popular drones into the U.S.—including the Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Air, and Spark—Autel’s patent claims have now been dismissed, which means that DJI can continue doing business as usual in the U.S.


DJI and Redbull Motocross Video

One-Take Freeride Send-Fest | One Shot ft. Tyler Bereman

A recent collaboration between DJI and Redbull resulted in this amazing five minute, single take motocross video (check it out above). The motorcross athlete featured in the video is Tyler Bereman, and the drone pilot who shot the video is Johnny Schaer, known on YouTube as Johnny FPV. Bereman said that the project was a true collaboration, with Schaer’s piloting chops being just as crucial for creating the end result as his racing abilities were—make sure to watch the video so you can see what he’s talking about.


U.S. Army Develops Drone Sensor to Detect and Avoid Power Lines

Photo credit: U.S. Army

The U.S. Army recently announced the development of a drone sensor that can help drones sense and avoid electric power lines in their path. The new sensor uses a unique configuration of field and
3-D sensors combined with low-power processing methods to detect power lines and inform the device’s autopilot in order to prevent collisions with the wires. Although other sense-and-avoid technologies exist for power lines this new sensor is much smaller and less expensive, and will probably present a better option for commercial operators. This new sensor is one more instance of the Army working to develop commercial drone technology and bolster the U.S. drone supply chain.


Skydio Markets X2E to Governments

Photo credit: Skydio

Skydio recently launched its X2 line of drones for commercial applications, breaking away from the selfie drone market to which it has historically catered. With the X2E, Skydio is now looking not just to get into supporting industrial drone applications, but also to supporting work in the government sector. And it’s certainly poised to do so—Skydio’s X2E is on a new list of five drones approved by the Department of Defense for government use.


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